It’s that time of year again – when everyone at work, school and home seems to be ill.
But if you want to avoid a winter bug as the nights get colder, you may find that tweaking your diet could have a powerful effect.
TV chef and cookbook author Sophie Michell, 34, from north London, has exclusively shared with FEMAIL the 10 foods we should all be eating to fight off colds and flu this season – and they’re easier than you think to incorporate into your life.
Sophie Michell has shared the 10 foods we should all be eating to fight off winter bugs (photo posed by a model)
Eating raw garlic can help battle winter colds and flu, according to TV chef Sophie Michell
1. RAW GARLIC
Your breath may smell after you eat it, but Sophie, who has authored five cookbooks, says it contains amazing health benefits.
But she also has some tips for people who can’t quite stomach munching on a raw chunk of the stuff.
‘It’s not the tastiest thing, but it has great anti-viral properties,’ says Sophie.
‘But if you can’t cope with chewing a raw chunk of the stuff, slice it and add to a stir fry, wilted greens or sauces instead.’
Blueberries are packed full of antioxidants which can prevent illness, says Sophie
This superfood is packed full of health benefits, says Sophie, who co-runs The Gorgeous Kitchen at Heathrow Airport.
This means it’s the perfect food to support the immune system against winter bugs.
She says: ‘It’s huge in antioxidants, great for smoothies or to add to breakfast bowls.’
3. HOME-MADE CHICKEN SOUP
A hearty bowl of chicken soup will get you feeling better in no time, according to Sophie
They say chicken soup is good for the soul.
And it must be good for the body too, as it’s one of Sophie’s picks for flu-fighting food.
She says: ‘It has anti-viral properties, plus it makes you feel great when you’re a bit cold and poorly.’
4. SWEET POTATO
Sophie says sweet potato is full of the nutrients you need to boost your immune system
The orange root vegetable should be eaten in abundance if you’re trying to prevent a cold, says Sophie.
She says: ‘They are rich in beta-carotene which turns into vitamin A.
‘Vitamin A in turn helps boost the digestive system and blocks harmful, cold-causing bacteria.’
Eating a handful of almonds could help you fight infection, says Sophie
Health experts often suggesting swapping a fatty biscuit for a handful of almonds when you’re hungry at your desk.
But the nuts also contain health benefits, which could help you fight bugs, according to Sophie.
She says: ‘Almonds are said to contain properties in the skin which help fight infection.
‘They are also a delicious and nutritious snack.’
6. BONE BROTH
Bone broth can fight infection, says Sophie, and can either be turned into a soup, like this ramen noodle soup, or eaten on its own
Health food trendsetters the Hemsley sisters are often advising their loyal following to boil their bones – and it seems with good reason.
Sophie sings the praises of bone broth for its reputed ability to fight infections.
She says: ‘Bone broth is super high in healing properties and great for the immune system.
‘Use bones left overs from a roast like chicken carcass, and add loads of veg.
‘It’s great as a stock base for a soup or as a broth on its own.’
Plain yoghurt will keep you fit and healthy all winter, according to Sophie
Plain yoghurt will do the trick and keep you fit and healthy all winter, according to Sophie.
She says the good bacteria will battle the bad bacteria festering inside your body.
She says: ‘It fights off bad bacteria while feeding good bacteria.
‘Look for yoghurt with live and active cultures.’
Sophie says cauliflower is a super food that contains lots of antioxidants
Cauliflower is often overlooked in the world of vegetables.
But Sophie says it is just the food to get you through winter without falling ill.
Drinking water helps the body function better
She says: ‘Cauliflower is an antioxidant and all round superfood.
‘It’s great in soups, and a good alternative to wheat if you turn it into cauliflower rice.’
It might be obvious, but it really is essential to drink as much of the stuff as you can, says Sophie.
And there’s the added bonus of it coming free from your tap.
Sophie says: ‘Water seems like a no brainer, but drinking a lot of it helps keep the body fighting fit by flushing out toxins.’
10. MANUKA HONEY
This honey, which is produced in New Zealand and Australia, has long been touted as having a variety of health properties.
Manuka honey, which is produced in New Zealand and Australia, has long been touted as having a variety of health properties
And Sophie says it’s a sweet way to ensure you stay healthy this winter.
She adds: ‘This really is a super food as it’s an immune booster and an antioxidant.
‘Australian Manuka honey in particular has anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-oxidant properties, which makes it ideal for immunity support.’
Sophie has shared one of her immune-boosting recipes with FEMAIL so you can start fighting off the winter bugs.
RECIPE: AVOCADO, ALMOND, MINT AND MANUKA HONEY POWER SMOOTHIE
Sophie Michell’s avocado, almond, mint and manuka honey power smoothie combines a few superfood ingredients to help you fight off winter bugs
‘This is my go to breakfast smoothie when I am on the go.
‘I try not to have too much sugar in my diet, so the natural sweetness and benefits of Manuka honey are great for me.
‘Avocado and almonds add good fats and proteins too, the mint and salt just lifts the flavour.
‘This is a great breakfast for people who lead busy lives and need something quick but nutritious to start the day.’
Sophie Michell (pictured) is a TV chef who co-runs The Gorgeous Kitchen in Heathrow Airport
Prep time: 5 mins
75g blanched almonds (pre-cooked)
1 small handful of mint
Juice of one lime
1 tsp Manuka honey
150ml mineral water
1 pinch of Himalayan sea salt
2/4 ice cubes
Peel and de-stone the avocado, and cut into chunks.
Place all the ingredients in a high powered blender and blitz until smooth. Then serve.
Real Health Manuka Honey is available at Boots nationwide.