The last few months have left people rushing off to buy multiple vitamin supplements and bags of oranges. We have read every article and followed advice from our neighbours, family and medical experts to arm our body’s defences. Remarkable trends in shopper data have shown close to 60% increase in the purchase of healthy foods, with panic and bulk buying of supplements and medications. Coupled with this, financial pressures are mounting, and the need to make informed purchasing decisions has never been more relevant.
To make the immunity topic easier to understand and to equip people to incorporate change simply and realistically, Registered Dietitian Monique Piderit, and celebrity mom Zizo Tshwete hosted a webinar in collaboration with NutriDay, sharing affordable practical food and nutrition advice to help families give their immunity a fighting chance.
Tshwete, mother to four-year-old Vukile, captured the tension of many parents, expressing, “we know that healthy eating is important – it’s in the back of our minds every day; but we don’t always know how to include all the necessary nutrients or what foods to choose – especially with young, fussy eaters and a busy lifestyle.”
According to Piderit, mother to one-year-old Joshua, nutrition has a critical role in supporting immunity. Certain nutrients, like zinc and vitamins A, C and D (among others) are known to contribute to the functioning of the immune system and need to be consumed in adequate quantities every day. Piderit explains, “If someone is deficient in any of these nutrients, it’s likely that their immune system isn’t functioning as well as it should.”
In South Africa, nutrient deficiencies continue to persist, where more than 40% of children are at risk of zinc and vitamin A deficiency. Zinc supports immunity, wound healing, and normal growth and development in children. Vitamin A is needed for healthy skin: a first line defence against invading bacteria and viruses. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties and new research has shown that vitamin D may lower the risk of viral infections and the common cold.
Piderit advises caregivers to take heed of these 5 tips when purchasing foods for their families:
- Focus on foods first (over supplements) to help you meet your daily nutrient needs. Foods with an added bundle of nutrients, like NutriDay yoghurt, make it easier to reach your nutrient goals every day.
- Increase your intake of food sources with zinc: like beef, baked beans, maize porridge and NutriDay yoghurt. NutriDay is South Africa’s only yoghurt with added zinc, and compared to other zinc-containing foods, is one of the most cost-effective.
- Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits to increase your intake of vitamins A and C. Think sweet potato, butternut, pumpkin, carrots, citrus fruits like naartjies and oranges, strawberries, pawpaw, mango, kiwi, peppers and broccoli. The brighter the colours, the better!
- To get your does of Vitamin D, expose the skin on your arms and legs to sun 3 times per week for 15 minutes.
- Keep up your other good lifestyle habits which support your immune system, like exercising, getting enough good-quality sleep, and washing your hands regularly.
To access a sample menu plan to give your family’s immunity a fighting chance, as well as other helpful tips and resources, visit the Danone website: https://corporate.danone.co.za/one-planet-one-health/healthy-food/support-your-immunity.html
This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by Danone.