Build your defenses against disease and illness by enjoying a variety of foods from each of the four main food groups as recommended by Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating.

Follow some of these tips to boost the amount of nutrients available for your body to use:

Tip 1Choose fresh fruits and vegetables with a variety of colour, with emphasis on yellow, orange, red and deep green. This will help ensure you get the wide range of nutrients, fibre and antioxidants your body needs. Research indicates that antioxidant vitamins in fruit and vegetables may boost the function of your immune system and help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Tip 2Vitamin C helps the body absorb important nutrients, such as iron. Combine high-iron foods such as fresh spinach leaves, chicken and lean cuts of beef, with foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, red and green peppers, broccoli, strawberries and kiwi.

Tip 3Drink plenty of water and limit your intake of nutrient thieves like pop and coffee. Pop leaches calcium from your bones, and caffeine not only dehydrates your body, but also inhibits the absorption of vitamins and minerals.