If you have been feeling a little under the weather, a bit run down, and just not quite as healthy as you would like to feel, I have a few simple immune boosters that most of us will find easy to include in our regular diet.

My top ten immune boosters:

  1. Berries – dark coloured berries like blueberries and blackberries are not only packed with vitamin C, but also contain a powerful group of antioxidants called flavonoids, that are thought to help support our immune system. A nutritious and delicious boost. Choose either fresh or frozen – both are great.
  2. Echinacea – this classic herbal remedy has stood the test of time and research backs up its effectiveness for support for the common cold and flu, helping to relieve symptoms.
  3. Probiotics – our friendly gut flora are key to maintaining and sustaining a healthy immune balance. Get yours from probiotic foods like live yoghurt, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut or kombucha, or add a daily probiotic to your supplement plan a few times a year when you are feeling under the weather.
  4. Thyme – this humble herb has been shown to be helpful for the health of our respiratory and immune systems, so could be a useful addition to our diet for winter health.
  5. Ginger – has anti-inflammatory properties and its warming effect can be particularly soothing when infused in hot water, made into a drink and sipped to relieve symptoms of a sore throat.
  6. Garlic – the sulphurous antioxidants found in garlic are what give it its superpowers in terms of immune health. With natural antibiotic properties, this herb is an essential part of our winter first aid kit.
  7. Turmeric – found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, this spice is one to help kick our immune system into shape. The active ingredient curcumin has also been shown to help with mucus and phlegm.
  8. Elderberry – available as a nutritional supplement or syrup, elderberry has been found to shorten the duration of colds and flu and severity of symptoms thanks to its antioxidant, antiviral and antimicrobial properties. One study demonstrated people that taking elderberry at the onset of flu symptoms started to recover 4 days earlier than those who did not. 
  9. Vitamin D – can modulate the immune system and is thought to reduce our risk of infection. It is thought that people with lower vitamin D levels are at increased risk of respiratory infections like coughs and colds. It is recommended that those of us living in a cooler climate, with little sun exposure in winter months, should take a vitamin D supplement between October and May.
  10. Vitamin C with zinc – vitamin C is the quintessential immune nutrient that most of us associate with immune support, but it seems that vitamin C with zinc could have more benefits than just vit C alone.  These two nutrients then together have been shown to reduce severity of symptoms and shorten the average cold or bout of flu by about seven days.