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Food to help you beat the bugs

Food to help you beat the bugs

Whether you’ve heard it’s better to ‘starve a fever and feed a cold’ or ‘starve a cold and feed a fever’, we’re sorry to tell you that neither is the right answer when it comes to getting bogged down by bugs.

Chances are you'll catch at least a sniffle during this cold and flu season, but it’s not about the amount you eat, but rather what you eat that can help soothe your stuffy head and aches and pains.

Put simply, the right nutrients can help your body fight off illness – we’ve rounded up a few of our faves to help you crush that cold!


Oily fish, such as salmon and tuna, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids – compounds that help reduce harmful inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation stops your immune system in its tracks and can contribute to colds and flu.

Even better, omega 3s can help to fight colds on more than one level. Researchers have shown those who took fish oil supplements for three months had lower inflammation levels and also fewer symptoms of anxiety – a condition that can itself give your immune system a knock.


These clever cloves do more than just add flavour to your food. Garlic contains allicin, a compound that produces strong antioxidants when your body breaks it down.

A study has found that people who took garlic supplements for 12 weeks between November and February got fewer colds than those who took a placebo. And of those who did get sick, those who took the garlic supplement felt better faster.

Garlic packs the biggest bug-beating punch when eaten raw, but if that flavour’s too strong for you, take a supplement instead.

Citrus fruits

Recent research suggests that vitamin C may not be as useful in preventing colds as we once thought, but these studies do show that adding vitamin C to your diet at the first sign of illness may reduce a cold's duration by about a day – that can feel like a lifetime when you're suffering!

Eating lots of citrus fruits will give you plenty of this powerhouse nutrient. Don't worry about overdoing it either, as it's very hard to overdose on vitamin C.

Leafy greens

The darker the greens, the higher the nutrient content. So when you're building up your defences for cold and flu season, we’d recommend you choose darker greens like kale over iceberg lettuce.

Darker, bitter greens can even help to relieve chest congestion, sniffles and coughs as they help to boost the infection-fighting white blood cells in your body.

Green or black tea

You can't drink enough tea when you're sick. Both green and black tea are rich in antioxidants, including those which help to boost your immune system. Researchers also found that hot drinks can ease sneezing, sore throats, chills and tiredness.