Food & Drink’s Bethany Sadler runs us through the best foods for immune-boosting our bodies, in the dregs of the winter months

English and Drama BA Hons
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It’s that time of the year again. Freshers might have been and gone, but the cold is already starting to set in, leaving most of us dreading the walk onto campus every morning. Whilst 27 layers and a huge flask of tea might stand as barrier against the icy temperatures, illness and the flu seems be to making its way around us all, no matter what we do. With shared housing or student accommodation, the likelihood of getting ill is much larger, making these winter months an extremely stressful period. However, whilst the prospect of flu might seem unavoidable, in reality a few little changes can go a long way to help you fend off any feverish symptoms or sniffly noses. You reap what you sow when it comes to vitamin-intake from foods, and by adding a few extra components to your weekly shop, you can help your body battle anything that comes your way.

Vitamin C: aka, citrus fruits
It is no secret to us that the best place to start when trying to fight a cold is simply an orange. If you want to boost your immune system fast, citrus fruits are crucial as they contain a large amount of Vitamin C, which is supposed to increase the creation of white blood cells. You’ll need these if you want to fight an infection- so bags of clementines and a lot of cups of lemon and honey would be my first step. 

Ginger is an anti -inflammatory, so can help relieve a sore throat as well as sickness

Eat your greens, especially broccoli
As we’ve been told since we were little, a healthy body needs its greens! However, containing a multitude of vitamins (A,C and E) as well lots of antioxidants, broccoli is perfect for when you’re feeling under the weather. It is at its nutritional best when it’s cooked as little as possible- I would recommend steaming this vegetable so it maintains all the goodness. If you can feel a sore throat brewing and are desperate not to get the all-feared tonsillitis, broccoli soup would be an excellent preemptive move to fight the infection off.

Anything ginger
If sickness or nausea are symptoms of your illness, ginger is a natural remedy that causes effective relief. Whether it be in tea, sweets, or chopped into food, ginger is an anti -inflammatory, so can help relieve a sore throat as well as sickness. However, it does have an extremely strong flavour, so I would recommend lemon and ginger tea bags, or chopping fresh ginger into a stir fry, acting as a more tasty way of incorporating it into your diet.

Blueberries are especially nutritious... they contain fibre, Vitamin C and K, and manganese

Superfoods, specifically blueberries
Any superfood is going to contribute to your well-being, and a healthy diet should try to incorporate as many as possible. Blueberries are especially nutritious, as for such a low calorie food, they contain fibre, Vitamin C and K, and manganese- meaning they are the most nutrient-dense berry available. With the highest antioxidant levels of almost all fruit and vegetables, blueberries are key when it comes to staying healthy. Try putting them in a smoothie with banana and chia seeds, or simply placing them on top of your porridge in the morning.

Whilst nothing can fully prevent illness, incorporating these foods into your diet can definitely give you a better chance of keeping it at bay. Staying healthy is crucial in the colder months, and whilst the last thing on your mind might be a greens and leaves, little changes can have a large effect. Swap your mid-morning coffee for a ginger tea, and your mid-afternoon snack for a pot of blueberries once in a while, and hopefully you’ll make it to the summer in one piece.