Eat well, stay well – give your immune system a boost this winter

Health leaders in Somerset would like you to stay healthy this winter, by making sure you eat well and avoid foods high in sugar, saturated fat, salt and processed ingredients.

Minehead GP and CCG Chair Dr Ed Ford said: “Processed foods (pre-prepared items such as cakes, crisps, burgers and sausages) can be very high in salt, saturated fat and sugar. Eating these items in moderation is ok, but we should try to keep our consumption of them to a minimum. It is much better for us to eat unprocessed foods which contain high levels of nutrients and fibre, such as fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, unprocessed fish and meat, and starchy foods such as brown rice, wholewheat pasta, and brown, wholemeal or higher fibre white bread. The less processed the food you eat is and the more balanced your diet, the better.

Dr Ford added: “If you can find the time to prep your meals, it can really help you get better control of your diet. Convenience is one of the main reasons why we eat unhealthily, so if you make things easier by setting a meal plan for the week, or prepping your lunches over the weekend, you may, in turn, find it easier to avoid a processed lunch.”

To have a healthy, balanced diet, people should try to:

  • Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
  • Base meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
  • Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks)
  • Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
  • Choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat them in small amounts
  • Drink plenty of fluids (at least 6 to 8 glasses a day).

Eating healthily is not only a great way to boost your immune system but it can also help you lose weight. If you think you need to lose weight, you can use the NHS weight loss plan ( It’s a free 12-week diet and exercise plan to help you lose weight and develop healthier habits. The plan, which has been downloaded more than 2 million times, is designed to help you lose weight safely, and keep it off.