Autumn is the time of year when the sniffles can seem to creep back in! Back to school germs and seasonal changes can often give our immune system a knock. We all know that prevention is better than cure…so what foods can we top up on now to ensure we stay at our peak as the weather gets colder and the nights draw in?

Go Green – Making sure you have a lot of fresh leafy greens in your diet daily will keep your immune system in top shape. Greens help to strengthen the blood and respiratory system. Dark leafy greens such as Spinach, Kale, Bok Choy and Swiss Chard are packed with calcium and vitamin C.

Get Vitamin C for energy – Vitamin C is a naturally occurring nutrient which we need daily to boost the immune system. You don’t just need to reach for an Orange or Citrus fruits to ensure you are getting your daily intake. Did you know that Kiwi fruits contain a higher amount of Vitamin C than Oranges? Experiment with a rainbow of other fruits and vegetables that are very high in Vitamin C.  Add in Broccoli, Peppers, Butternut, Cauliflower, Cabbage and Kiwi Fruits in to top up your daily Vitamin C levels.

Top up on Nature’s natural antibiotics – Reach for the Garlic & Ginger to give your system a boost.  Garlic has been shown to fight bacterial infections, boost the immune system, balance blood sugar levels, assist in fat metabolism and reduce high blood pressure. It also has a ray of traditional uses as an antiseptic, anti-asthmatic, anti-rheumatic and as a treatment for coughs and cold. Ginger is high in antioxidants and also has anti inflammatory properties. It can be used to treat the common cold. By adding a few slices to hot water with lemon and honey, it helps ease congestion and cleanses the body.

Up your Omega 3’s – These essential fatty acids are known to boost the brain and cardiovascular system. They have shown to effectively reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol and blood pressure. They can be found in oily fish such as Salmon and Sardines.  Walnuts, Flaxseed and Chia seeds are another good option if you are aren’t a fan of oily fish.  Add some Salmon to your weekly shop or sprinkle some seeds over your morning porridge to top up your dose.

Water, water & more water – Heating and offices dry out the air so make sure you are drinking enough water. Try having a glass of warm water and lemon on waking and another glass with breakfast. This will hydrate you and set you up well for the day and remember to have another few glasses throughout the day too.

If you do feel a cold coming on, up your water, garlic, ginger and greens and cut back on the sugar and processed foods. Sugar will put strain on the immune system.

Remember that good health isn’t just about food. Make sure to keep your body active too. Get moving doing something that you enjoy, schedule a meal with a friend and plan something for yourself that you can look forward too. Also remember to dedicate some time for your own self-care and slowing down.

Here is to fabulous winter health!