With cold and flu season just around the corner, and Christmas weddings a plenty… the flu free experts share their golden rules for boosting your immune system. From the supplements to take to the nutrients to seek out, read on for their top tips...




“Countless studies have suggested probiotics can have a significant impact on our immunity. Bolster your defences come winter by taking a good-quality probiotic supplement daily, as well as plenty of fermented foods – think sauerkraut, kimchi, yoghurt and miso. Up to 70% of your immune system lies in your gut, so nourish it for optimal health.” – Shabir Daya, Co-Founder of Victoria Health Victoriahealth.com




“Mushrooms have been used for their immune-boosting effects for centuries. Research recently revealed mushrooms are a superfood – they’re packed with antioxidants, notably selenium, which helps to support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues. Shiitake and reishi mushrooms are particularly effective.” – Rebecca Pilkington, nutritional therapist Rebeccapilkington.com




“Make an effort to add more garlic to your diet, especially in its raw state. Garlic has incredible anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects, which can kill bacteria and viruses. Something as simple as adding raw garlic to soups, pesto and dressings can really reduce the intensity and duration of a cold or the flu. If you can’t bear it raw, wait at least ten minutes after peeling before you cook it – this will allow the clove to retain more of its health benefits.” – Rebecca Pilkington




“Stress can have a huge impact on the immune system – when we’re stressed, this suppresses the immune system, making infection significantly more likely. Take time out for yourself on a regular basis – do more yoga, learn to breathe properly and stay mindful.” – Rebecca Pilkington




“If you feel a cold coming on, the most important thing you can do is avoid sugar, as this is damaging to the immune system and suppresses our ability to fight infection. Sugar also makes the body acidic, and an overly acid body provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and disease.” – Rebecca Pilkington




“Did you know the likes of peppers, kale, papaya, strawberries and brussels sprouts boast more vitamin C than citrus fruit? Vitamin C is vital during the winter months to boost immunity as it works to produce antibodies and boost the activity of immune cells. Remember that vitamin C is water soluble though, meaning it can’t be stored in the body so regular intake throughout the day is recommended – aim for at least 1000mg spread across the day.” – Shabir Daya




“With an increasing amount of studies suggesting coconut oil may have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory benefits, it could be worth swapping your usual oil for coconut oil this winter. Packed with lauric and caprylic acid, coconut oil can help to fight off bacterial infections as well as yeast overgrowth (candida).” – Rebecca Pilkington




“Even if you have a balanced diet, it’s worth taking a multivitamin as a kind of insurance policy to protect the body – I recommend FoodScience Daily Immunity, £25.50. A balanced diet is tricky to achieve and assumes everything you eat is packed with nutrition; this isn’t always the case.” – Shabir Daya