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Celebrity Health – Dr Zoe Williams

Image of Dr Zoe Williams © James Cannon

This Morning’s Dr Zoe Williams suggests some ways to support your immune system

Immunity is at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now. We all know about the importance of eating a healthy diet and taking vitamin C, but what else can we do to look after our immune systems? Your Healthy Living speaks to NHS GP and regular contributor to ITV’s This Morning, Dr Zoe Williams, to find out.

Q Would you say that people are increasingly conscious of the need to look after their health this winter?

Dr Zoe: “As nights – and mornings – get darker and the weather begins to turn, it really signals the time of year that we tend to see winter bugs and prevalence of associated infections ramping up. Our awareness is also likely to be heightened as the spotlight is firmly on Covid booster jabs and flu vaccinations – as well as the emerging news of the new anti-viral medication aimed at fighting symptoms of Covid in the most vulnerable.”

Q How important is it to support our immune systems?

Dr Zoe: “A healthy immune system is vital at any time of year, to keep us well and defend the body against infections. The immune system is complex with many components, and its initial response is usually pretty fast in fighting off infections – but when it doesn’t, you can get ill. When you experience symptoms like fever, cough, runny nose, and sore throat, they’re actually a result of your immune response, which is trying to get rid of invading agents. It would be wonderful to develop a silver bullet immunity aid, but the reality is there are no quick fixes. Whilst some people live with compromised immune systems due to underlying health conditions, or the medicines they need, many of us can help protect ourselves in various ways – including diet and lifestyle."

Q Are there certain foods that we should be eating to help support our immune systems?

Dr Zoe: “Iron contributes to the normal function of the immune system, and it’s not uncommon for levels to be compromised in females due to increased demand brought on by the menstrual cycle. As well as green leafy veg, try almonds, sunflower seeds and meat which are all great sources. Adding a source of vitamin C – like lemon juice – to plant sources of iron can help to increase its bioavailability, which means it helps absorption.”

Q Do you recommend any supplements?

Dr Zoe: “Vitamin D plays a key role in contributing to normal immune function. As it can be challenging to get adequate amounts through safe sun exposure during the winter months, it’s recommended to supplement with 10.g per day in the UK during this period. You can top up your intakes with foods like salmon, milk and mushrooms.”

Q Any other tips?

Dr Zoe: “Wellbeing plays a huge role in optimising immunity, and a major element of wellbeing is sleep. The stress of our daily lives means we might experience prolonged periods of insomnia or poor-quality sleep, which makes us less able to fend off bugs. When we sleep, our immune system ramps up which can help to combat the source of infection, through a type of inflammatory response. Also, basic hand hygiene is the most effective way of stopping bugs entering the body. Avoid touching your face, and make sure to maintain your personal space whilst out and about. And if you’re wearing a face covering, be sure to wash or change it regularly.”

Dr Zoe Williams is a health ambassador for Linwoods Health Foods. Linwoods’ Immune Support blend is available in a 210g pack from

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