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Recipes to boost your immunity this winter


Your motivation is high - you're hitting your workouts, nailing your nutrition, amplifying those daily habits - when suddenly, you feel sick. Shivers, cough, sniffles, and just like that, you’re down for the count with a winter cold.

When it comes to training, cold weather can present several obstacles, but nothing is more prominent (and frustrating) than the common cold. Beyond feeling just plain awful, it can be frustrating to feel like all the momentum and strength you’ve built up start to slip away.

And while these dark, colder, immune-attacking winter months can leave your body vulnerable, there are some things you can do to fight back. Your ultimate defense? A healthy diet jam-packed with immune-boosting superfoods.

Nutrition and the immune system

The immune system is your biological fortress, initiated for your protection and survival. Many factors can affect the immune system, and like your muscles, left unsupported, it will weaken. And when your immune system weakens, you’re likely to feel those cold symptoms creep in, as it can’t fight off unwelcome pathogens.¹

Nutrition is key if you want to keep your immune system strong and thriving. A healthy diet is crucial for supporting and regulating your immune system. The nutrients from the foods you consume can act as your personal health ninja, staving off illness and infection while also preserving your overall well-being.

Here are some of the crucial ways your diet can influence your immunity:

Vitamins and minerals

  • Micronutrients like vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, and iron are known to have protective benefits for your immune system, contributing to the optimal functioning of immune cells.


  • Macronutrients, like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, provide energy for immune cells to help them function. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and help build immune cells to ensure your body has the ultimate protective armory 24/7.

Gut microbiota

  • A healthy, balanced gut ecosystem is key to building a strong immune system. And when you consume a diet high in fiber and polyphenols, it will help the gut microbiota to produce short-chain fatty acids, and microbial metabolites that positively influence the immune function.


  • To achieve optimal immune performance and keep colds and flus at bay, you can’t have cell-damaging free radicals floating around and antioxidants are vital for this. Antioxidants help reduce the levels of free radicals in the body, which can weaken your immunity.

Now that we’ve gone over how your diet influences your immune system, let’s get into the mouth-watering nitty gritty of what you can eat.

Here are three dishes that “pak” an immune-boosting healthy punch:

1. Mixed berries smoothie with Kefir, spinach, fresh orange juice, and a twist of lime.

2. Thai fish cakes with a Pak Choi, Asparagus, Leek, and Cavolo Nero blanched stir fry.

3. Whole wheat oaty apple crumble with a cranberry and blueberry punch.

Mixed berry smoothie with Kefir, spinach, fresh orange juice, and a twist of lime.

This mixed berry smoothie contains a myriad of macro- and micronutrients to support your body’s defense system. Berries are full of antioxidants, but their superpowers don’t stop there! Berries can also combat oxidative stress, a major contributor to many illnesses and diseases, especially inflammatory diseases, as well as many additional bioactive functions.3

Kefir is a fermented drink that produces microbial metabolites and bioactive peptides that strengthen our immune system via the gut.

Spinach lends a final nutrient boost to this recipe. Rich in iron, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium, spinach is the ultimate secret weapon in your immune-boosting foods arsenal. Be sure to eat it with citrus fruits or other vitamin C-containing products for good absorption.


80 g of mixed berries (can be frozen)
80 g of spinach
Squeeze of lime or lemon
50 ml fresh orange juice
100 ml Kefir


Mix all the ingredients in a smoothie maker or blender.

Mix until fully blended, pour and bam! – feel your immune system getting stronger.

Fish cakes with a Pak Choi, Asparagus, Leek, and Cavolo Nero blanched stir fry

Served with a green, blanched side dish, this meal is packed with fiber, antioxidants, polyphenols, and a serving of fish. Fish has been shown across several studies to be a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, tryptophan, melatonin, polyamines, and taurine all of which have immunoregulatory properties.6


½ filet white fish, chopped
½ filet salmon or other fish, chopped
One whisked egg
40 g of spring onion, chopped
10 g coriander, chopped
Thai chili pepper, chopped; according to heat preference (start with one if unsure)
Pinch of salt
60 g of large Pak Choi stem, chopped
20 g shredded Pak Choi leaves
4 spears of asparagus, halved (long ways)
40 g leeks, chopped
40 g Cavolo Nero, chopped
10 g butter (optional for taste)
A squirt of sweet chili sauce


Place both fish filets, egg, spring onion, coriander, Thai chili pepper, and salt into a blender and blend to a smooth, molding consistency, not too mushy. Form into a disc shape, approximately 60 mm in diameter and 20 mm thick.


Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a frying pan until it begins to smoke (not burning). Fry the fish cakes for a total of 4 minutes on each side, turning occasionally.

Using a wok or large frying pan, heat the butter or two teaspoons of oil until it begins to smoke (not burning). Place the Pak Choi stem and sliced asparagus in the pan and cook for 1 minute, turning continually. Then add the leeks, Cavolo Nero, and continue turning for 1 minute. Finally, add the shredded Pak Choi and cook for 30 seconds to a minute, depending on bite preference. An overall cook time of the initial 2.5 minutes leaves the stirfry very crunchy.

Place the contents of both pans onto a plate, add the chili sauce and enjoy. Let that immunity boost sink in, bite-by-bite.

Whole wheat oaty apple crumble with a cranberry and blueberry punch


Craving something sweet, but want those oh-so-good immune-boosting qualities? This dish is for you. Apples, cranberries, and blueberries all deliver a high punch of antioxidants, plus many bioactive qualities as well.

Apples also contain both vitamin C and E which are instrumental in aiding neuro pathways and brain activity. Bonus points – it’ll help keep you sharp and focused during training, work, or whatever else comes your way.7, 8


2 medium apples, cored and sliced
40 g of cranberries
40 g of blueberries
Or 80 g of mixed berries
100 g whole wheat flour
50 g grams oats
30 g honey
30 g butter or olive oil
Dusting of cinnamon (optional)


Boil the sliced apple and simmer for 2 minutes. Carefully drain the water and place the slices in a 200 mm round or square baking dish at least 70 mm deep.

Place the berries in a pan with 10 g of honey and 75 ml of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and use a hand blender to blend until you create a smooth mixture. Carefully pour over the apple slices.

Place the whole wheat flour, oats, butter or oil, and remaining honey in a mixing bowl and mix by pushing or rolling the mixture between your hands, ensuring the butter/oil is fully mixed into little balls. Pour the mixture over the apple and berry mix and spread until the oat mixture is flat.

Sprinkle a dusting of cinnamon on top.

Place in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 175oC (or 350oF) or gas mark 6. When finished, the top should be nice and brown but not burnt. We recommend checking it at 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven, divide, and indulge in this decadent immune-boosting meal. Yum!

Let’s recap

At the end of the day, there’s little we can control when it comes to weather or exposure to illnesses, but we can choose how we fuel our bodies. And while a healthy, well-balanced diet delivers undeniable benefits year-round, amping up those immune-boosting superfoods during the winter season can help keep those coughs and colds at bay. It can add that extra layer of protection, so you can focus on hitting your daily movement and progressing towards your goals.

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[6] Mendivil CO. Dietary Fish, Fish Nutrients, and Immune Function: A Review. Front Nutr. 2021 Jan 20;7:617652. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2020.617652. Erratum in: Front Nutr. 2021 May 19;8:693773. PMID: 33553231; PMCID: PMC7855848.

[7] Ichwan M, Walker TL, Nicola Z, Ludwig-Müller J, Böttcher C, Overall RW, Adusumilli VS, Bulut M, Sykes AM, Hübner N, Ramirez-Rodriguez G, Ortiz-López L, Lugo-Hernández EA, Kempermann G. Apple Peel and Flesh Contain Pro-neurogenic Compounds. Stem Cell Reports. 2021 Mar 9;16(3):548-565. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2021.01.005. Epub 2021 Feb 11. PMID: 33577796; PMCID: PMC7940132.

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