Light at the end of the winter tunnel

I was just discussing with one of my colleagues the other day how long and cold this winter has felt. It has truly been one of the coldest the whole country has experienced in while. The dams in Cape Town have been at their fullest in years, so with the cold comes some much needed drought relief. He then said to me: “But spring is almost here, so just embrace the cold for a little while longer.” “Fair enough”, I said.

Employee health and immune systems

To add to this, the last year and a half has been stressful and overwhelming for many employers and employees. The world has been in flux since the beginning of Covid-19 and as we learn to live with this novel virus, many people have returned back to their physical office spaces while others still work from home.

Either way, it is very important for employees and their employers to keep their immune systems as strong as possible. It is your best chance to fight any upper respiratory viral infection, be it Covid-19 or any other virus.

Diet is key but supplements can help too

It is well known that stress and poor sleep can weaken your immune system. So what can you do stay healthy?


Make sure you get the right nutrients to ward of viruses

Of course eating healthy and balanced is key, but during winter months it is especially important to get adequate amounts of:

Zinc: It is essential for immune function, cell growth and division, enzyme reactions, protein production and DNA synthesis. Meat, seafood, dairy, seeds, nuts and legumes are all good sources of zinc.

Vitamin C: May include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular diseases, eye diseases, prenatal health problems, eye disease and skin wrinkling. Good sources include citrus fruit, such as oranges and naartjies, peppers, blackcurrants, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, potatoes and broccoli.

Vitamin D: Helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in your body. These nutrients are needed to keep teeth and muscles healthy. Vitamin D rich foods include oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel, red meat, liver, egg yolks, fortified foods (e.g. fat spreads and breakfast cereals) and of course sunlight (15 minutes per day is adequate).

Sleep: Aim for eight hours per night to help reduce your stress levels and boost your melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone made by a small gland in your brain called the pineal gland. It helps you know when it’s time to sleep and wake up. You can also take melatonin as a supplement.

Book an employee Zoom session with Tracy Ugarchund & Associates

Tracy Ugarchund and her Associates are all Registered Dietitians. They are University trained with BSC Medical Honours in Nutrition and Dietetics.

If your staff have any questions regarding boosting their immune system or their diet in general, Tracy Ugarchund offers 1-hour Zoom sessions during staff lunch breaks. On average, 16-20 queries can be addressed.

Contact Tracy on 082 657 0700 or via email at Tracy and Associates are also available for one-on-one consultations at the Mediclinic Constantiaberg (Burnham Road, Plumstead, Cape Town). To learn more about the team go to