Boosting Our Immune System To Help Us Through The Winter Months

Photo by Johannes Plenio

Are you like me and hate the dark nights and having to layer up with clothes?

Well its now October and sadly between October and March we aren’t going to see the sun to often and will not get enough vitamin D from sunlight. Approximately 60–70% of the UK adult population have insufficient levels of vitamin D in winter and spring!

Thankfully, there are a number of foods that do contain vitamin D alongside supplements that we can take.

But you may be asking why is Vitamin D so important and please believe me when I say that it is. The scientific research highlights how important Vitamin D is and the different effects it has on the body. Did you know that Vitamin D3 improves metabolism by influencing more than 200 different genes and that Vitamin D can prevent and treat diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

What research has shown is that if there is a vitamin D deficiency then there are increased risks in certain illnesses such as autoimmune diseases, hypertension, and certain common cancers and infectious diseases.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s stored in the liver and fatty tissues. The best sources for vitamin D are oily fish salmon, herring, mackerel, canned tuna, oysters, and shrimps and if you aren’t a fish eater try taking cod liver oil, or egg yolk, mushrooms, liver, orange juice or fortified cereal.

Its always good to ask your GP for a vitamin D test so that you know how much you will need to supplement with.

Vitamin D levels explained

Vitamin D blood ranges

Under 25nmol/L – Deficient
25 – 50nmol/L – Insufficient
50-75nmol/L – Sufficient
Over 75nmol/L – Optimal

What could you add into your weekly menus to help yourself and your family during the winter period?

  • Salmon and poached eggs
  • Egg, mushroom and kale on toast
  • Spanish omelette
  • Spiced rice with kippers and poached egg
  • Cod with sweet peppers
  • Omelette with mushrooms and cheese
  • Creamy mushroom soup
  • Stir fry shrimps and mushrooms
  • Sautéed mushrooms and garlic
  • Liver, bacon and onion gravy
  • Smoked mackerel and mushroom risotto
  • Smoked mackerel kedgeree with soft boiled eggs
  • Stuffed mushroom
  • Fisherman’s sardine stew

Spaghetti with sardines

Serves 4


  • 400g Spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 garlic gloves, crushed
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • Tin of tomatoes (227g)
  • 2 x 95g Sardines (skinless/boneless) in tomato sauce or fresh sardines boned
  • 100g Pitted black olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp Capers, drained
  • Parsley (handful) chopped


Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling salted water according to pack instructions. Meanwhile, make the sauce.

Heat the oil in a medium pan and cook the garlic for 1 min. Add the chilli flakes, tomatoes and sardines, breaking up roughly with a wooden spoon. Heat for 2-3 mins, then stir in the olives, capers and most of the parsley. Mix well to combine.

Drain the pasta, reserving a couple of tbsp of the water. Add the pasta to the sauce and mix well, adding the reserved water if the sauce is a little thick. Divide between 4 bowls and sprinkle with the remaining parsley.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, 2011
Photo by Pixabay

October 2019