How to boost your immunity and fight colds and flu this winter

Taryn Davies
Published: October 22, 2016

Who would have thought it? A simple cold and flu virus could cost UK businesses a staggering £1.4 billion this winter, so it’s important to boost your immunity before it’s too late.

The survey found that nearly a quarter of respondents will succumb to a heavy cold or the flu this winter, and they’ll take two days off work as a result.

So to ensure you stay healthy this winter, and don’t have to cancel plans with friends or family, follow this guide on how to boost your immunity, whether with conventional or a little more shocking.

Avoiding the flu this winter

How to boost your immunity this winter

Dr. Pixie McKenna, Superdrug’s Health & Wellbeing Ambassador top tips for avoiding the flu this Winter

Boost your immunity and fight the Flu this winter

Don't let germs spread easily wash your hands regularly

Wash your hands

The flu virus can enter your body when you touch your nose, mouth or eyes, and it's the reality that every surface is a hazard. So embrace washing your hands multiple times and applying anti-bacterial hand gel to your hands. It's important to sanitise as them germs when you sneeze or cough can linger for up to three hours.

Fresh air

It's unlikely the office windows will be open when it's cold, so this gives the flu the chance to spread more. So try to open the windows when you can, and make sure you get some fresh air at lunchtime too.

Foods to boost your immunity

Boost your immunity and fight the Flu this winter

Get cooking up a delicious broth that will keep you warm and improve your immunity too

Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer a leading expert in diet and nutrition, shares some foods that can help boost your immunity

  1. Go bananas - Bananas contain good levels of vitamin B6 which is needed for strong immunity. They’re a great ‘go-to’ snack and are the UK’s best-selling fruit, so popular with all the family!
  2. Cook with warming herbs - Ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg are all warming herbs that help boost the immune system. Plus, they’re all easy to include in lots of different winter dishes and are especially warming when the wind’s howling outside.
  3. Eat more shellfish - It might not be first on your shopping list when thinking about fighting germs, but when it comes to prevention, shellfish, such as clams, crabs, lobster, mussels, and oysters are really high in the mineral zinc. Its significance is so important that the European Food Safety Authority has confirmed zinc contributes to the normal function of a healthy immune system, making it the ‘King of minerals!’
  4. Eat more yoghurt - Make sure it’s live, though. Cultures in live yoghurt help generate good bacteria in the gut promoting a healthy digestive system, which is key for strong immunity.
  5. Cook up a broth - A chicken broth, to be more specific.  A thick chicken soup packed with root vegetables is known to encourage white blood cell production, plus it reduces mucus. Be sure to include additional immune boosters such as garlic and shiitake mushrooms.

Shocking ways to boost your immunity

Boost your immunity and fight the Flu this winter

Boost your immune system with the change between a hot and cold shower

Hot and cold showers

Nutritionist Shona Wilkinson suggests that switching between a hot and cold shower is good for the immunity as it increases how the body's detoxification system works and the fewer toxins there are in a body the more efficient our immune system will be.


Nutritionist Cassandra Barns explains that having regular sex will increase the number of IgA immune cells we have in our blood, and this helps to keep colds and the flu at bay.


Barns says that listening to the music that you enjoy can increase the number of Natural Killer immune cells in our blood. So choose something you enjoy to listen to daily.

Pet the dog

Boost your immunity and fight the Flu this winter

We're pretty sure petting the dog will leaving you feeling warm inside as well as boosting your immunity

A study has found when you pet your dog your body sees an increase in the immune cell, IgA, so it's the perfect excuse to spend the majority of winter cuddled up on the couch with them.

Get your Zzz’s...

D. Marilyn Glenville explains that sleep is important to help ensure our body has the strength to fight off infection. Also if you don't get quality sleep it lowers the immune response in the body. Cutting down on sleep by just a few hours each night decreases the number of natural killer cells which are important for helping to fight bacteria and viruses.