The first sniffle, sneeze and scratch in your throat, the dreaded signs of the start of sickness succumbing.
Here are five immune boosting and flu-fighting foods you can add to your basket today to help your body keep colds at bay and to recover faster.
A good dose of vitamin C is commonly suggested for preventing the common cold. And while experts can't agree on the benefits of vitamin C in helping cold and flu symptoms, there are studies that show taking vitamin C may help in preventing the onset of colds and flu.
Eating vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, oranges, tomatoes and broccoli will act as a general immune-booster for your body. As the body can't store vitamin C, it is vital that you replenish your supplies every day, hence why we're encouraged to eat three or more cups each day.
Fruit and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C, but when you’re sick you need might need encouragement. Try our Honey, Lemon and Ginger tea recipe below.
Garlic contains a compound called allicin (that gives garlic its distinctive smell), which is believed to have antiviral effects. The powerful antioxidant properties of garlic can also potentially help prevent colds as well as shorten their duration.
If you are looking to get the most out of garlic's flu-fighting properties, try eating raw garlic cloves. Try cutting cloves into pieces and swallowing them down like pills.
Add garlic to your meals such as soups, stir-fries and sauces. Eating raw garlic might not be top of your menu so simply add some unpeeled cloves to your root vegetables of choice, roast away and enjoy. Roasted garlic takes on a beautifully sweet flavour that won't leave you worried about garlic breath.
The earth's ecosystem is reliant on the humble bee, so the golden nectar these small humming creatures produce is sure to be of value too. Studies show that honey can reduce a cough through soothing irritation in the throat.
Honey also contains a variety of B vitamins and minerals, providing a powerful burst of energy in only a small serving. Don't forget though, that children under 12 months should not eat honey due to the risk of infant botulism.
Try adding some honey to your morning porridge, make yourself a brew of our Honey, Lemon and Ginger tea, or simply enjoy a spoonful of this soothing golden syrup.
Just the idea of a tasty homemade bowl of chicken soup when you're unwell can help you to feel just that little bit better. Well, Medical research has found that chicken soup can actually aid in your cold recovery as well as give you that therapeutic boost.
So what is it about this magical concoction that can help you say bye-bye to your cold symptoms?
Chicken soup has been found to suppress the inflammation which causes many cold symptoms. It also raises the temperature of the nose and throat, creating an unfriendly environment for viruses and thinning the mucous build up, alleviating congestion.
Not to mention, a good chicken soup has added vegetables, maybe some noodles or your own secret combo of ingredients. These health extras can boost energy and increase the overall nutrients of the soup.
"Just the aroma of this soup takes me back to my childhood when my mum used to make this soup for us when we were sick. I love passing on this tradition to my children by making this for them. It's also a soup that is comforting and healing for a parent when their little ones are sick."
Dr Carmen Main
Dr Main's mum's Chicken Soup Recipe
- 1 whole free range hormone and antibiotic free chicken
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 brown onions (chopped)
- 5 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 4 sticks celery (chopped)
- 4 carrots and any other veggies that you would like to add (grated or chopped to your preference)
- 1 cup barley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 2L chicken or vegetable stock
Heat oil in large soup pot. Cook onions, garlic, celery until soft. Add stock and chicken. Cook until chicken meat falls off bones. Remove bones, skin and skim fat. Add carrots (and other vegetables) and barley and cook 30 min or until barley is soft. Stir through parsley before serving.
Make up a big batch of your favourite Chicken Soup recipe when you're feeling well and keep it in the freezer for those cold and flu emergencies.
DR MAIN'S COLD COMFORTING BREW
This comforting brew is a go-to cold comfort for Dr Carmen Main. The warming mixture of honey, lemon and ginger is like a hug in a mug for you when you're feeling unwell.
The flu-fighting qualities and tang of ginger will kick your cold into touch. Mixed with the lemon the steam from this warm of this drink will help clear your sinuses. The added honey will also work to sooth your scratchy and sore throat.
1-inch fresh ginger root (no need to peel it)
1 cup water (boiling)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
1 tablespoon honey (consider using raw, unpasteurized Manuka Honey)
1. Grate the ginger into a teapot, medium bowl or large measuring cup
2. Pour 1 cup boiling water over the ginger and let it steep for 3 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, put the lemon juice and the honey in a large mug. Strain the ginger tea into the mug.
3. Stir to dissolve the honey, taste, and add more honey or lemon juice if you like.
4. Enjoy you hug in a mug and get well soon
Random acts of kindness never get old so if you're feeling well but know someone who is under the weather, why not make up a batch of this comforting brew in a thermos as a heartwarming get well gift.
Your body is more susceptible to colds and flu when your immune system is low, so it’s really important to help your body maintain good health. Avoid foods with little nutritional value, such as chocolate, biscuits and pastries.
Your body has to work even harder when you're sick so take a break from alcohol and let your body use the energy it has to fighting you bad to good health.