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In this edition of our newsletter:
  • Tips to strengthen your immune system
  • A cookshop update!
  • Why wholefoods drive better health
  • Turmeric – benefits of an anti-inflammatory spice
  • A warming compote recipe for those cool winter nights
  • Bill’s organic bread review


Strengthening Your Immune System

Has this winter knocked you off your feet? Have you recently been struggling to get over a virus or cold? Or just looking to stay your healthiest and not fall ill? This issue we take a deep dive into what foods can help strengthen and rebuild your immune system.

Organs of the immune system

First, a quick biology lesson. While it gets technical, it is helpful to simply understand that there are multiple organs in your body that are involved in immunity.

  • Bone Marrow: all cells of the immune system are derived initially from the bone marrow, which produces B cells, natural killer cells, granulocytes and immature thymocytes, red blood cells and platelets.
  • Spleen: acts as a filter for the blood and is comprised of B cells, T cells, macrophages, dendritic cells, natural killer cells and red blood cells.
  • Thymus: functions to produce mature T cells.
  • Lymph Nodes: distributed throughout the body and serve as a filter for antigenic material in the lymphatic system.
  • Gut associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT): the GALT comprises 70% of the body’s immune system. It is made up of various lymphoid cells, including B-cells, T cells, M cells, Peyer’s patches, macrophages, dendritic cells, eosinophils, basophils and mast cells.
Ways to boost your immunity

What you eat—or don’t eat (miss out on)—can affect your immune system.

1. Increase your fruit & veg

Researchers from Belfast published an interesting study in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society looking at the connection between the intake of fruit and vegetables and immunity in older people. The randomised trial included 83 volunteers between 65 and 95 years of age, with the experimental group consuming 5 serves of fruit and veg daily compared to the control group consuming 2 or fewer servings (very inadequate!). After a month on the diets, the study participants were due for their pneumonia vaccine. The results after vaccination? The experimental group who consumed the higher fruit and veg diet produced a significantly higher number of antibodies against the injected bacteria in the Pneumovax® vaccine. This is evidence that their body was able to mount a better immune response when confronted with a type of bacteria.

But do people who eat healthier actually get sick less often? Those who eat more fruits and vegetables generally appear to have a lower risk of getting an upper respiratory tract infection like the common cold, whether they’re vegetarian or not. So an apple a day might just keep the doctor away!

2. Maintain a healthy weight

Both overnutrition (being overweight or obese) as well as undernutrition (being underweight or malnourished) can have compromising effects on your immune system.

Excess weight has been associated with biomedical markers of impaired immune function (e.g. reduced T and B cell function and increased white blood cell counts), an increased risk of infection and an increased risk of sickness and premature death after an infection. Low weight can also increase susceptibility to infection and furthermore, can increase the demand for micronutrients. Therefore, optimising your nutritional status and maintaining a healthy weight at all stages of life can help you promote healthier immune functioning.

3.Feed your gut

Your gut microbiome contains around 70-80 % of your body’s immune cells! So, feeding the good bacteria in your gut is key to maintaining a healthy immune system.

Previously known as microflora or gut flora, ‘microbiota’ is the correct term to describe the collection of bacterial communities and other microbes, including yeasts and viruses that live in your digestive tract. Your microbiota are important for bowel regularity, immune function and weight control. Evidence referred to by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) states that Bifidobacterium lactis (a specific strain of good bacteria) has been linked to “contributing to immune function” and elderberry fruit extract has been linked to “contributing to immune modulation” and helps to “normalise immune function”.

While an elderberry fruit extract is not specifically recommended nor available for everyone, regularly eating other unrefined plant foods rich in prebiotics – think dietary fibre and phytonutrients - will increase the diversity of your microbiota, which is considered vital for good health. To ensure you are feeding your gut to benefit immunity, make sure you include wholegrains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.


4. Reduce inflammation

Silent, chronic and widespread inflammation in the body is now recognised as a key driver for both chronic and infectious diseases. Another pathway to help tone down this inflammation is to choose smarter foods to put on your fork.

A plant based dietary pattern comprising unrefined foods (with or without some fish or fish oil) is required to maximally reduce inflammatory markers in your body. Think along the lines of a Mediterranean diet or other ethnic and traditional plant based patterns. See the Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid (above) from



“You can’t expect to see change if you never do anything differently”
Meg Biram


What’s Cooking Cookshop Annoucement

Due to the recent  outbreak of COVID-19 and related government regulations we must postpone our upcoming cookshops to ensure the safety of our community.

All upcoming cookshops will be placed on hold until further notice. Those who have booked a place at these cookshops will be notified via email.

Please note we hope to bring back our inspiring and award-wining cookshops ASAP and our planned schedule can still be viewed on our webpage

We are not currently taking bookings until restrictions are lifted. In the meantime, we continue to bring you content via our website, social media and monthly E-Newsletters.


Food Matters – Wholefoods for Better Health

Is your dietary pattern based on refined and processed foods or on wholefoods? Recent research shows that even if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, selecting minimally processed foods is vital so you can achieve your best health.


Recipe – Compote with Apple, Sour Cherries & Apricots

This European-style compote is eaten from a bowl with a spoon – imagine a warm ‘fruit soup’. It is commonly served with a slice of poppy or walnut strudel for breakfast. But it can also be enjoyed in a mug as a drink-snack after dinner. Sour cherries are usually prized for their sweet and sour bursts of flavour. However, they also provide much disease-fighting potential, thanks to their unique package of strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.

Food InFocus – Turmeric: The Anti-inflammatory Spice with Dr Sue Radd

Watch this to learn why you should find several ways to incorporate this super spice into your regular diet.

Product Review – Bills Organic Breads

What is it?
A range of organic sourdough breads. The flour is milled using traditional stoneground methods and fermented for 18 hours with beneficial lactobacilli – so this is actually a fermented food! We had the pleasure of trying some of Bill’s Organic newer varieties – Ancient Grains, Khorasan and Spelt.

Where do you buy it?
Available from Coles, Woolworths and Harris Farm Markets.

Per serving (40 g – 2 slices)*
Energy 405 kJ (97 Cal)
Protein 4 g
Fat total 1.7 g
     Saturated 0.2 g
Carbohydrates 16 g
      Sugar 0.1 g
Dietary fibre 2.4 g
Sodium 95 mg
*Based on “Ancient Grains” variety

Why we like them?
  • Vegan friendly
  • Lower salt compared to most common breads in supermarkets
  • Light flavour, not too “sour-y” (although we love sourdough flavours)
  • Sourdough breads are usually better tolerated by those with gut issues
  • Our friends at Bills Organic ensure that their flours are stone ground, which means around a third of the meal is retained and the flour particles are larger, contributing to a lower glycemic index. While we have been unable to determine whether this means Bill’s breads are technically low GI or just LOWER GI, we are impressed with the attempts made to produce a healthier bread.
  • The flour also doesn’t receive heat treatment, as with ordinary milling. This preserves certain vitamins, which would otherwise be lost by heating
Our Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars - Would be great to certify as low GI to help shoppers, but we think this one’s not a bad grab!
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