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How to support your immunity: Healthy Diet Plan

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Discover how diet and lifestyle changes can help support the immune system, and how BBC Good Food's Healthy Diet Plans can help you get all the nutrients you need.

If you're keen to stay free of coughs and colds, it's difficult to know how to best protect yourself. Does it really help to stock up on super-strength vitamins? What about all the old wives' tales about bizarre food concoctions that are said to ward off symptoms?


The truth is that the natural function of a healthy immune system is the best defence against the common cold. While it's no guarantee that you won't succumb to sniffles or a sore throat, eating a balanced and varied diet that includes plenty of fruit and veg will ensure you're getting all the vital micronutrients that your immune system needs to work effectively.

Our Healthy Diet Plans are designed to help support your immune system by giving you five of your five-a-day (or even more), plus the nutrients that you need daily. If you haven't already, sign up today to receive free online access to the plan.

Nutritionist Kerry Torrens shares her three top tips to support the natural function of the immune system, plus how the recipes from our latest Healthy Diet Plan can help you achieve your goal.

Looking to make the most of your plan? Join nutritionist Kerry Torrens on January 11th and 25th for a two-part series explaining everything you need to know about making the plans work for you - register now.

3 tips for supporting your immune system

1. Top up your vitamin D

veg packed muffins

It's less of a concern when the sun's out, but when there's less of it, levels of vitamin D (the 'sunshine vitamin') are likely to be low. This vitamin is important for immune function, so try to include food sources regularly in your diet. Useful options include eggs, mushrooms and oily fish like salmon – try the recipes in our latest 7-day Healthy Diet Plan, including a breakfast egg wrap. Read more about why we need vitamin D.

2. Eat onions and garlic

Spinach-stuffed pizza

Onions, garlic and chives not only add flavour to dishes, they also contain potent oils that have anti-microbial properties. The health benefits of onions and garlic make them a great addition to a balanced diet. We've included these ingredients throughout our Healthy Diet Plan.

3. Choose nourishing foods

seeded hummus on soda bread

There is some evidence to suggest that a diet with too many calories and refined sugar can impair the immune system – yet another reason to limit your intake of sugar, alcohol and highly processed carbs. All our Healthy Diet Plan recipes aim to steer clear of refined, processed products and instead focus on nourishing ingredients, healthy fats, lean proteins and complex carbohydrates.

Enjoyed this? Get more health tips:

Your FREE winter 2022 Healthy Diet Plan
Immune-friendly recipes
How to prevent a cold
How to get rid of a cold

This article was reviewed on 16th December 2021.


All health content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. Any Healthy Diet Plan featured by BBC Good Food is provided as a suggestion of a general balanced diet and should not be relied upon to meet specific dietary requirements. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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