It’s definitely that time of year, with nearly every second person coming down with a flu or nasty cold! Power up your immune system and stop the sniffles in their tracks with these simple steps.

 

Lifestyle tips

De-stress
Stress has a huge effect on our wellbeing and our immune system. It produces cortisol which suppresses the immune cells so it’s no wonder many of us get floored by a cold after a particularly busy or stressful time. Make a conscious effort to relax more, or try a bit of meditation.

Wash your hands often
As well as obvious times like before eating and after using the toilet, wash your hands after cleaning, putting out the bins or after being in contact with a person who is unwell. Tip: keep an antibacterial gel or wipes with you when you’re out and about.

Get regular exercise
It will help to keep your overall health levels up and boosts your body’s ability to fight infection too. Try for ten or fifteen minutes a day (it’s be brilliant for weightloss and reducing stress levels too!)

 

Food tips

Zinc
Zinc is important for the development of white blood cells and in turn is essential for a healthy immune system (although too much can have the opposite effect). Aim for about 15 mg per day; you’ll find zinc in seafood, beef and spinach.

Mushrooms
Studies have shown that mushrooms boost the production and activity of white blood cells (our immunity pals), with Japanese varieties like shiitake and reishi offering the biggest benefits. Add them to omelettes, pasta dishes or try out a leftover chicken and mushroom soup.

Yoghurt
Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that keep the gut and intestine healthy. Look for one that has ‘contains live active cultures’ on the label.

Garlic
Garlic contains allicin, which helps to fight bacteria and infection. Garlic has other health benefits too so make it a regular part of your diet – add it to casseroles and chicken dishes.

Ginger
In Ayurvedic medicine, ginger is believed to warm the body and help the body’s lymphatic system. If you’re feeling poorly, try a few slices of lemon and fresh ginger in some hot water.

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