Angela Dowden: Foods to prevent illness

Cooler days bring with them a greater chance of coughs, sniffles and minor infections, so keep your immune system fighting fit with the right foods!

A rainbow of Fruit and Veg

Fruit and vegetables are the key protective foods, as they’re packed with vitamin C and antioxidants which keep the immune system working well. The brighter coloured the better – choose a range of orange, red and deep green types for maximum benefits. Don’t forget to add some garlic too; it’s bursting with sulphur-based compounds that have natural antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal effects.

Resisting bugs

Keeping the respiratory passages healthy is another important way to keep infection at bay. The mucus inside these passages provides a slippery surface that makes it much harder for bacteria and viruses to infect cells. Evidence shows that a deficiency of vitamin A can negatively affect mucus-producing ability, so it’s important to get plenty of this vitamin from carrots and red peppers, oily fish, liver, cheese, eggs and butter.

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water

If you’re dehydrated those all-important nasal and respiratory passages can dry out making infection more likely. It’s also a good idea to have a daily probiotic drink or supplement packed with “friendly” bacteria which colonise the gut wall and act as a mechanical barrier to invading germs, particularly those that cause tummy bugs.

Reduce sugar

As far as what not to eat is concerned, there’s some evidence suggesting that large quantities sugar could be one of the enemies of the immune system – interfering with the ability of white blood cells to destroy bacteria. So if you like sugar in your tea, sweeten with Canderel Tablets instead, and make your favourite puddings, cakes and treats using Canderel Granules.