Melanie McGrice

Melanie McGrice

If you’re pregnant and overwhelmed by the current COVID-19 situation, you have made it to the right spot!

Understandably, you probably have a few questions on your mind such as ‘can COVID-19 cause problems for a pregnancy?’ or ‘how can I protect myself from getting the virus while pregnant?’. While there is currently limited research on how this new virus might affect pregnant women, let me reassure you by saying that there are some dietary strategies you can be putting in place right now that will help you nourish your body, boost your immune system and help you have a happy and healthy pregnancy. Now, more than ever, is a good time to consider how what you eat can help to support your immune system to function at its best.

So, what are some nutritious ways to help boost your immune system?


  1. Keep up your fruit intake – Be sure to get your recommended 2 serves in each day, as fruit is a great source of immune boosting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals as well as fibre for a healthy bowel. Top your morning cereal with some fresh berries or pack an apple for an easy on-the-go snack.
  2. Eat a wide variety of vegetables – Veggies are also packed with vitamins and minerals that can help regulate your immune system. Aim to include vegetables in all of your meals. Easy ways to incorporate more veggies into your diet include adding some grilled tomatoes, mushrooms or spinach to your eggs for breakfast. Or enjoy some veggie sticks with hummus as an afternoon snack.
  3. Enjoy a variety of protein rich foods – Protein plays a key role in repair and recovery, a key aspect in helping us to maintain our health. Many protein rich foods are also high in zinc which helps to assist the development of white blood cells (to fight off invading disease). Aim for a variety of lean red meat, poultry, fish, wholegrains, legumes, dairy foods, nuts and seeds to gain these important nutrients.
  4. Opt for gut friendly foods – Our gut microbiome plays a crucial role in our immune system and pre-biotics and probiotics in foods may help to assist with our health. Probiotics are found in foods such as yoghurt, or fermented foods such as kimichi and sauerkraut. While pre-biotics can be found in cereal grains, legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
  5. Stay hydrated – it’s important to keep up your fluid intake and stay hydrated as this helps our bodies to function at their best. Try keeping a jug or water bottle on your work desk to help you to remember to drink up throughout the day.

 It is important to remember that, no single food contains all the nutrients we need – therefore eating a variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups (vegetables, fruits, grains, meats and dairy), is one of the best ways to consume a nutrient dense diet during your pregnancy.

What about vitamin C or ginger – can they help fight illness?


  • Vitamin C – We often hear a lot about Vitamin C for its flu busting properties. Although daily consumption of 200mg or more of vitamin C has been found not to help decrease the risk of acquiring a cold in the general population – it may slightly help lower the symptoms of a cold.
  • Ginger – the evidence is still out on whether this helps to prevent or treat the common cold. However, during pregnancy you may like to enjoy a nice warm cup of ginger tea for its nausea relieving benefits. Check out my simple recipe for making homemade ginger tea!

The bottom line…

 When it comes to health information about COVID-19, it’s important that you are seeking health and medical information from reputable sources. If you are concerned about your nutrient intake throughout your pregnancy during this unsettling time, make sure you take the time to see a Prenatal Dietitian who can help you implement these strategies.


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