Colds and flu

Updated 09 October 2017

5 immune-boosting tips

There is much you can do to avoid falling victim to colds and flu this winter.

As winter sets in, colds and flu seem inevitable. However, having a healthy immune system could turn you into one of those people who "never get sick".

"Most people forget to follow the basic rules to protect their health. Your immune system is complex and depends on many things, including a healthy fresh diet, regular exercise, not smoking, adequate sleep, good hygiene and limiting psychological stress in your life," says Sean Gomes, MD of Wellness Warehouse.

Here are five immune-boosting tips to help you stay healthy this winter:

Step into the sun

Thirty minutes of sunlight a day will provide your body with the Vitamin D it needs to improve immune function and prevent colds and flu. If you can’t get outside, supplement a lack of sun with Vitamin D Tablets

Spice it up

Spices boost the immune system, so liven up your cooking and your taste buds. Turmeric, ginger, rosemary, thyme, cloves, and nutmeg all help to ward off colds and flu. And don’t be shy with the garlic, either!

Keep it clean

Wash your hands frequently. Many of the viral infections we receive during the flu season are passed on through touch, and the simple act of washing your hands can have a dramatic effect on how successfully you maintain your health this winter.

Eat your vegetables

Vegetables give you the vitamins you need to bolster your immune system. Fresh, raw vegetable juice provides is an excellent source of vitamins, especially A and C. If that sounds too cold for winter, make your own vegetable soup.

Turn to herbal remedies

It’s a good idea to keep a bottle of the herb echinacea at home for when the inevitable winter sniffles set in. Known as one of the best immune stimulants in the herbal kingdom, echinacea fights both viral and bacterial infections. It has been shown to increase white blood cell production, reduce spreading infection an speed up the recovery from colds and flu. It is especially effective during the onset of illness.

 - (Wellness Warehouse press release)

(Photo of healthy winter girl from Shutterstock)


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Ask the Expert

Flu expert

Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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