Eating a bowl of porridge a day could help keep the doctor away this winter, a top nutritionist claimed yesterday.
According to dietician Dr Sharon Madigan, it's important to eat well along with wrapping up warm as the colder weather approaches, if colds and flu are to be avoided.
"As we approach the time of year when we all seem to succumb to the cold, one way of boosting our immune system is by eating a variety of foods which give you different nutrients that may help the body fight infection," she said.
"Porridge is one such food. Porridge oats contain wholegrains which are good sources of nutrients such as protein, fibre, vitamin E, B vitamins, zinc antioxidants and phytochemicals. Like fruit and vegetables, it provides us with a package of nutrients which may help keep the bugs at bay."
Dr Madigan also highlighted the link between eating breakfast and energy levels.
"We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet according to the British Dietetic Association, 10-33% of us regularly skip this first meal of the day," she added.
"Breakfast provides the perfect opportunity for the body to refuel after an over-night fast. Skipping breakfast can make you feel sluggish, tired and reduce your ability to concentrate during the day.
"What we eat is fundamental to our energy levels, so if you lead an energetic lifestyle and want to feel fit and healthy over the winter period, having good eating patterns will pay real dividends."
The endorsement of porridge was welcomed by Co Armagh cereal processor White's, maker of Speedicook Porridge Oats.
Bernadette Speer, marketing manager of White's said: "Porridge is the UK's second most popular breakfast cereal, and the perfect choice for the health conscious who want a delicious and nutritious start to the day."
She said eating a large breakfast in the winter "has shown to increase the blood level's Gamma Interferon by 450% ".
"Gamma Interferon is the body's natural anti-viral agent. It's not only important to eat a hearty breakfast but a high quality one including bananas and fruit."