It’s winter again and as the cold and flu season rears is ugly, mucus-filled head we’re all trying our best to avoid falling ill. But with the sudden drops in temperature and fellow commuters sneezing next to us on the tube (or if you’re really unlucky directly in your face – this happened to me yesterday) keeping our immune system fighting fit can be tough. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of six weird and wonderful ways to boost your immune system and stay healthy this winter…
We usually throw them away, but the darker outer leaves of salad veg have the greatest content of immune-boosting nutrients, including up to 50 times more carotenoids than the inner leaves. Wash and chop into your salad. Most people discard radish leaves, but these contain 10 times as much vitamin C as the pink root as well as potassium, iron, calcium and phosphorus. Wash, finely chop and sprinkle over a green salad.
The coating of these highly-nutritious seeds, available from most health food stores, is rich in fibre and the creamy white kernel inside is rich in antioxidants and immune-boosting amino acids and essential fatty acids.
Garlic contains allicin, which fights infection and bacteria. British researchers gave 146 people either a placebo or a garlic extract for 12 weeks – the garlic takers were two-thirds less likely to catch a cold.
New research found that a simple hot drink of fruit cordial can provide immediate and sustained relief from symptoms of runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chilliness and tiredness. Having a bottle of fruit cordial in the cupboard and making a hot drink could help fight off the symptoms of festive cold and flu.
Ok, so this tip isn’t weird – but it is wonderful! Probiotics are an amazing way to boost immunity. Look for products that contain a mixture of different strains as these may be more effective since every microbe performs best at a different spot in the digestive tract. Taking probiotics at breakfast with other food also boosts their chances of survival – because an empty stomach contains stronger digestive acids.
Sage is packed full of immune-boosting anti-oxidant nutrients. It is also sedating and soothing to combat stress. Pour boiling water over a few fresh or dried leaves and add a squeeze of lemon and immune-boosting teaspoon of Manuka honey.