How to steer clear of colds and flu by Andreas Späth

By Faeza
09 July 2015

What do eat

Eat infection-busting foods to help your body battle the virus

¦ Chilli peppers to open sinuses.

¦ Blueberries, which are high in natural aspirin, to lower temperatures and help with aches and pains.

¦ Mustard to break down mucus in the air passages.

¦ Rice and bananas to counter an upset stomach and diarrhoea.

Get better 


This Asian root has long been reported as a useful ally in fighting respiratory viruses by reducing the severity as well as the duration of the symptoms.

Blow your nose

By gently and frequently clearing your nasal passages, you will speed up your recovery.

Stay in bed

Resting under your cosy duvet when you first feel the symptoms will help your body’s immune system focus its energy on resisting the invading virus.

Menthol, eucalyptus and camphor

Dab a small amount of ointment containing either of these ingredients under your nose to open the breathing passages and restore irritated skin.


Garlic is known to relieve the symptoms of flu and colds. Crush one or two fresh cloves and steep them in hot water to make a healthy – if not exactly delicious – drink. Onions and leeks are related to garlic and share some of its properties, so be sure to use them in your cooking.

Gargle with salt water

Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in some warm water and gargle with this mixture four times a day to soothe a sore throat.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Fish oil, rich in these compounds, will increase the activity of your body’s virus-tackling cells while helping to protect your lungs from infection.

Drink hot liquids

Coffee, tea and soup – think of your mother’s delicious chicken stew – will prevent dehydration, relieve congestion and soothe inflated membranes lining the nose and mouth.

Vitamin C

A good amount of vitamin C in your diet will strengthen your immune response and may help to reduce flu and cold symptoms. Include foods such as peppers, guava, leafy greens, citrus fruit, blackberries and strawberries in your diet.


Add several slices of fresh ginger root to tea for an extra health kick. It’s known to have antiseptic, antiviral and antioxidant qualities. It will help calm a sore throat and reduce pains and aches.


Inhale steam from a pot of hot water with a towel over your head or from a hot shower – through the mouth – to alleviate a congested chest and through the nose to clear it. You can sprinkle antibacterial herbs like rosemary and peppermint.