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Beating the winter cold and flu season

With Australia headed for “an extreme cold snap”, and an increase in reported cases of influenza this year, it’s important to know how to stay fighting fit this winter.

Beating the winter cold and flu season
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Flannerys Organic & Wholefood Market food scientist Joshua Gaudry (pictured) said boosting your immune system is the best way to “stave off the winter chills”.

“The cooler temperatures are upon us, and any time there is a change of season, our bodies need to adjust,” he said.

“If we are tired, run-down, stressed and working and/or commuting in high-density areas, we are more prone to catching colds and the dreaded flu.”

“It seems that, at lower temperatures, our body produces less antiviral immune signals to fight off viruses entering through the airways. Stock up on fruits and vegetables, vitamin C and hearty foods such as gut- and immune-boosting bone broths,” he continued.

“Ginger is great for lowering inflammation and supporting illnesses. It helps with nausea, chronic pain and cholesterol. It’s also full of really good vitamins that support the immune system.”

Mr Gaudry shared his top immune-boosting products to help stay healthy in the winter:

Fire tonic

This is apple cider vinegar on steroids, he explained. Fire tonic has a perfect array of warming ingredients, including cayenne pepper that’ll be sure to light your inner fire this winter, he said.

Eat/drink bone broths

“Not only delicious and good for the gut, bone broths have a wide amount of immune system benefits, too. In particular, the amino acids in chicken bone broth – such as cysteine and glycine – are building blocks for important immunomodulating factors,” Mr Gaudry advised.

Vitamin C and zinc are important immunity boosters

“Citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, broccoli, kiwi fruit, bell peppers and capsicum are a good source of vitamin C and beta carotene. Zinc can be found in pepitas, seafood, cashew nuts and mung beans.”

Herbs

Herbs such as astragalus, Siberian ginseng and reishi mushrooms have been found to boost immunity, he said.

Fermented foods

Fermented foods like kefir, kimchi or sauerkraut are great because they contain lots of vitamins that help fight bacteria and inflammation, he continued.

“They’re also filled with antioxidants, so they’re an easy way to get a lot of the good stuff into you as well.”

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Or, if it’s too late and you’re already suffering with cold and flu symptoms such as a sore throat, sinus, head cold, congestion, chills, Mr Gaudry advised that you increase your vitamin C intake, which he said was the “most tried and tested method for decreasing the duration and severity of colds”.

“When choosing a vitamin C powder or tablet, a good quality C should have bioflavonoids (the higher the better). These will be either rutin or hesperidin as these are cofactors essential for the absorption of vitamin C. They will usually contain zinc as well.”

Further, “supplements with liquorice root can help with coughs and sore throats due to its antispasmodic effect, meaning it can suppress that involuntary coughing we sometimes get. Lozenges with manuka honey can help as the manuka has antibacterial properties,” he said.

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