It’s that time of year again when every other person is coughing and sneezing and spreading cold and flu germs. But don’t panic, there is still plenty you can do to help boost your immune system and hopefully dodge those bugs. Here are my three favourite natural ways to boost your immune system.

1. Add turmeric into your daily routine

Turmeric has become a bit of a “superfood” over the last few years and with good reason. Curcumin – the active compound found in turmeric – has been shown to have a natural anti-inflammatory effect on the body. It can help reduce inflammatory symptoms including things like headaches, blocked sinuses and sore throats. Turmeric is also packed with antioxidants which protect the body and support the immune system to fight off invaders and get you feeling healthy again.

Rather than wait until I start to feel the onset of a cold, I add it into my daily routine through drinks like this Turm`eric Latte or adding it to hot water with lemon and ginger or using it to cooking like this Turmeric Porridge or Lentil Dahl (turmeric is found in most curry powders).

You can use turmeric root which is becoming more widely available or ground turmeric powder but research has shown that turmeric in food is more beneficial than supplementation.

2. Look after your Gut

70% of your immune system is in your gut so a healthy gut makes for a stronger immune system. There are lots of ways to keep your gut healthy and happy but the key ones to focus on are adding in probiotic or fermented foods. Top probiotic foods are:

Kombucha – a fizzy, fermented tea drink which is often flavoured. My favourite is Equinox – in particular, the Pink Grapefruit and Guava flavour.

Kefir – a fermented milk drink often made from cow’s milk but also available made with coconut and almond milk if you’re vegan or dairy-free. Kefir is very widely available now but as with most “trendy health foods” big manufacturers jump on the band-wagon, so always check your kefir doesn’t have high levels of added sugar. Sugar can disrupt bacteria levels negating the benefits of the probiotics. My favourite kefir is Biomel which offers both coconut and almond fermented drinks or Biotiful for their dairy version.

Kimchi – a traditional eastern dish made of fermented vegetables with spices – great as a side with a stir fry – the spices help mask the sour fermented taste so this is my preference over sauerkraut. I often buy Biona Kimchi as I know it’s not got any added preservatives which could damage the valuable probiotic bacteria.

Sauerkraut – a staple in more Eastern European countries this isn’t my favourite fermented food as the sour taste is just too much for me. But worth a try as it’s quite widely available. As always check the ingredients it should be cabbage and salt and nothing more!

3. Increase your Vitamin C

Vitamin C has long been touted as an immune booster and many people reach for some orange juice when they’re feeling under the weather to increase their intake. But did you know, papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, strawberries and pineapple all contain more Vitamin C than an orange? So before you drink that OJ (which is also high in sugar) try increasing your greens instead. As well as boosting your intake of vitamin C you’ll also boost your B6 and magnesium which also help with immunity.

Vitamin C has been shown to help reduce the severity and length of a cold so I always have a food state vitamin C supplement like this one by Cytoplan* in the cupboard to take if I start to feel run down or am surrounded by people who are ill. As sometimes to get a therapeutic dose you need a little more than you can get from food – but that’s not an excuse to not eat your greens!

*use discount code believe15 to get 15% off.

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