If you want to fight the winter bugs and win then check out our top tips below!
- Check your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D provides the immune system’s killer cells with the ‘ammunition’ to fight invaders like viruses and bacteria. In the winter there are not enough UVB rays in the UK to make
vitamin D in our bodies. We rely on our body’s stores from the summer which only last a couple of months. When you consider how little sunshine we got last summer in the UK, it’s highly likely many of us will not have enough vitamin D and so ammunition will be in short supply! Ask your doctor or nutritionist to run a vitamin D test.
- Use probiotic foods. With over 70% of the immune system based in the gut it should be no surprise that supplementing good gut bacteria will help you to stay well. Having a gut full of beneficial bacteria will crowd out the bad bugs meaning less food poisoning or tummy bugs! Try fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir and komucha.
- Allicin in garlic is a powerful immune-booster. It boosts white cell and natural killer cell production as well as giving antibodies a helping hand. Unfortunately the power of allicin is lost when garlic is cooked. Adding it towards the end of cooking is a good idea or using it raw in recipes for salsa, hummus or guacamole.
- Black Elderberry may help you keep viruses at bay. It supports the immune system’s first response to an invading virus. Rather cleverly it de-activates the spikes on the surface of the flu virus, stopping it from breaking through your cell walls and replicating. It is this replication that allows the flu virus to take hold. Black Elderberry is a must-have if you want to avoid the flu or the flu jab!
- And of course, Vitamin C. It is an all-round tonic for the immune system. Scientists found that white blood cells which fight bacteria and viruses were much more active after patients had taken one gram of vitamin C daily for two weeks. It is a generally inexpensive supplement and so is worth including in your health regime. Time released vitamin C is best to avoid losing large amounts in your urine!