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Top tips for avoiding a cold this autumn and winter

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The cold and flu season is upon us, and sometimes it can feel almost impossible trying to dodge those pesky germs. However, there are some simple and effective ways you can boost your immunity, from looking after your gut to switching up your diet.

Nutritional Therapist Natalie Lamb from Bio-Kult shares her top tips for avoiding a cold exclusively with HELLO!

cold© Photo: PA

There are easy ways to avoid the common cold

1. Look after your gut

Many people aren’t aware that up to 70 per cent of our immune cells are located in the gut and that our gut bacteria plays an essential role in supporting a strong immune system. This can be compromised during the winter months if it’s busy fighting off bugs. Fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut and multi-strain probiotics such as Bio-Kult could help to balance the gut flora to support the gut immune system.

2. Get outdoors

Vitamin D or 'the sunshine vitamin' is extremely important for strong immunity. Try to get at least 15 minutes of midday sunshine without sunscreen (longer exposure without protection could lead to sunburn and possibly skin cancer) to top up fat-soluble vitamin D stored over the summer months to last us over the winter or take a vitamin D3 supplement over the winter months. Go for a walk or a run in your lunch break or head to your local park at the weekend to naturally boost Vitamin D levels.

3. Eat your five a day

Nutrients such as zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium are well known for supporting the immune system. Try to eat a range of colourful salads and vegetables which should provide a mix of these and other essential nutrients.

cold remedies© Photo: PA

Make sure to eat your five a day

4. Make sure you get enough downtime

Winter was traditionally a time when things slowed down, so allow yourself some quiet nights in front of the fire and longer hours snoozing than you would do in the summer months. Leading a high pressured lifestyle can deplete the effectiveness of the immune system, and any form of stress on the body has been shown in studies to imbalance the gut flora and impair immunity. Try a yoga class or embrace meditation to enhance relaxation levels.

5. Give your diet an overhaul

Reduce simple sugars and refined carbohydrates, such as breads, pasta, biscuits and cakes that are known to feed unwanted bacteria and yeast in the gut, encouraging their growth over beneficial immune supporting strains. Instead choose good quality protein sources such as pasture fed meat, free range eggs and legumes which are the building blocks for many immune cells and are delicious slow cooked. And culinary herbs such as garlic, sage, rosemary and thyme which are reputed to have immune boosting and antimicrobial benefits.

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