Keeping your immunity strong is a great way to help fend off dreaded winter coughs and sniffles. When you pick up a virus, your immune system kicks into gear to help protect your body. There are plenty of remedies to ward off winter sniffles, but do the old wives’ tales like hot honey and lemon drinks really work?
Drink your greens
Eating (or drinking) more fruit and veggies is a great way to support and strengthen your immune system, especially as most people fall short of the recommended five serves of veg a day. Adding veggies to a morning smoothie helps tick the box on a serve of veg and provides vitamin C and iron—essential for a healthy immune system.
Honey and lemon
This drink can help maintain strong immunity and prevent colds. Lemons are rich in vitamin C, which helps boost immunity. It also helps your body absorb iron from plant foods like green veggies. Honey also has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which among many things, may help support your immune system.
Almond milk (with B12)
As well as helping to reduce fatigue, vitamin B12 helps the immune system. The main sources of vitamin B12 are animal products, so if you are vegan or vegetarian it can be difficult to get enough. That makes vitamin B12 fortified almond milks an excellent choice to add to your smoothie, cuppa or cooking. Just one glass can provide half your daily vitamin B12 needs.
Cutting back on caffeine and drinking more water is good for your health in general, as well as your immune system. Infuse your water with berries or citrus fruits for a delicious drink with extra vitamin C, to help keep your immune system in top shape.
Whether as a tea or infused in water, ginger is an ideal go-to when the weather cools. Ginger is another food that has been used as a traditional medicine for centuries and modern science supports its anti-inflammatory and antioxidative benefits.
More immunity-boosting staples
Healthy gut foods. It all starts in your tummy—a healthy immune system needs to be supported by good gut bacteria, so ensure you fill up on prebiotics (whole grains, legumes and veggies like onions) and probiotics (fermented foods like yoghurt and kefir).
Go healthy fats. We all love another reason to eat avo on toast! Healthy fats can help regulate your immune system’s response to infection, so make sure your shopping basket contains nuts, avocado and olive oil.
Powerful plant protection. Phytonutrients are chemicals released from plants to help them stay healthy. We can reap the same benefits by eating plenty of plant foods. Phytonutrient-rich foods include colourful fruits and veggies, legumes, nuts, teas (herbal, black, green etc), whole grains and many herbs and spices.