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Best Immune Supporting Tips & Recipes

Best Immune Supporting Tips & Recipes

By Sian Porter, Merchant Gourmet nutritionist, registered dietitian

Challenging times we find ourselves in. As always misinformation is everywhere. Despite what you may read, view or hear no specific food or supplement will prevent you catching coronavirus (COVID-19). The best means of avoiding infection is to stick to good hygiene practices such as washing hand thoroughly for at least 20 second regularly with soap and water, social distancing/isolation and follow official advice ( Having a wide range of healthy foods is the best way to get all the nutrients that are important for your immune system and keeping yourself healthy.
You cannot ‘boost’ your immune system through diet or taking supplements. However there are many nutrients that support normal function of the immune system as part of a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle. These include:
Vitamin A – cheese, eggs, oily fish, fortified spreads, liver and liver products (limit to once weekly; avoid if pregnant).Carrots, butternut squash, chard, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, leafy green vegetables, mango, cantaloupe melon, broccoli, tomato are good sources of beta-carotene which the body can convert to vitamin A.

Vitamin A rich recipe:

Roast Butternut Squash & Chestnut Soup

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Folate– Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, pulses (beans, lentils, peas), wholegrains, oranges, berries, nuts and seeds, cheeses, bread and fortified breakfast cereals.

Folate rich recipe:

Puy Lentils & Sausage Casserole



Vitamin B6 – Poultry including chicken and turkey, fish, fortified breakfast cereals, lentils, egg yolk, yeast extract such as Marmite, soya beans, sesame seeds, some fruit and vegetables, such as banana, avocado and green pepper.

Vitamin B6 rich recipe:

Mexican Grain Salad

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Vitamin B12 – Meat, fish, shellfish, milk, cheese, eggs, fortified yeast extract and fortified breakfast cereals

Vitamin B12 rich recipe:

Quinoa Cauliflower Cheese

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Vitamin C – berries, blackcurrants, melon, red/green peppers, leafy green veg, broccoli, oranges, papaya, kiwi fruit

Vitamin C rich recipe:

Puy Lentils Salad with Watercress Pesto & Blackened Chicken Thigh

Merchant Gourmet lentils


Vitamin D – oily fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, eggs, some mushrooms, fortified foods, algae

Vitamin D rich recipe:

Spiced Sardine Salad with Moroccan relish & Jewelled Quinoa


Copper– shellfish, nuts, liver (limit to once weekly; avoid if pregnant)

Copper rich recipe:

Aromatic Korean Grains with Chilli Prawns


Iron– liver, lean red meat, pulses (beans such as red kidney beans, chick peas, lentils), nuts, eggs, dried fruits like peaches, poultry, fish, wholegrains, seaweed, seeds, fortified cereals and dark green leafy vegetables

Iron rich recipe:

Huevos Rancheros


Selenium-Brazil nuts, walnuts, lentils, fresh tuna and other oily fish, white fish, mussels, wholemeal bread, sunflower seeds

Selenium rich recipe:

Pomegranate Chicken Stew with Persian -Style Grains

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Zinc– nuts, seeds, wholegrains, Quorn, lean red meat, crab, pot barley

Zinc rich recipe:

Chunky Vegetable & Glorioua Grains Soup

Whilst you are at home some of you may have more time to cook whilst others may have less time. The good news is we have tasty products and recipes for everyone, whether time poor or with time to kill, which will please all the family or the lone diner. Tinned, frozen and long-life versions of foods can be used in the recipes as well as fresh.
Remember too to keep hydrated, be physically active, get enough sleep and keep social contact via appropriate means to look after your mental health and wellbeing.


By Sian Porter, Merchant Gourmet nutritionist, registered dietitian