It’s cold and flu season and people are dropping like flies. Replacing your latte for Lemsip may be helping your symptoms but what can you be eating to help your immune system and drive out the germs?
Prevention is the best course of action, start boosting your immune system before you have a chance to fall sick.”You can’t underestimate the importance of good nutrition when it comes to…your immune system,” says Karen Ansel, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants—these are what keeps your body strong, and without them, you’re not giving your body the edge it needs to ward off infection.”
Feed your good-gut bacteria with prebiotics and eat lots of nutritious foods. Probiotic foods such as yoghurt and kefir replenish your good bacteria which promote digestive health and can help to prevent stomach ailments. “There are over 10 trillion bacteria living in our gastrointestinal tract, so you want to make sure the good ones outnumber the bad ones,” Ansel says.
Also, try to avoid overly processed foods like ready-meals and takeaway instead opting for a variety of fruits and vegetables from each area of the rainbow to ensure you’re receiving all the right nutrients.
The first cough
It’s happening, you can feel it, you’re getting sick. What should you do?! Studies have shown that vitamin C may not actually help prevent colds but it can reduce the duration of a cold if taken at the first sign of symptoms. Stock up on citrus fruits and red peppers which are both high in vitamin C. Drink lots of water to replace any lost fluids and take some rest.
When you’re feeling like death
Eating when you’re sick can often be tough, if you have any appetite at all I doubt it’s for an apple or a bowl of whole grains but it’s important to think about which foods will help your recovery. It’s likely you will need to replenish your electrolytes so chicken soup is actually a good way to go and a spicy homemade curry can help to clear your sinuses. Swap out coffee for green tea and to help a sore throat add a spoon full of honey, all tea contains antioxidants known as catechins which have been rumoured to have flu-fighting properties.
Apart from diet be sure to get a good nights sleep, wash your hands regularly, drink plenty of water. Get well soon!
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