The best foods and vitamins to fight off flu and colds

Alex Miller

With the onset and spread of coronavirus there are a number of foods you can consider to make sure you are have the right intake of vitamins – and the goods news is the list includes dark chocolate!

In terms of immunity, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids. If possible, try to eat a variety of nutrient-dense plant foods including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.

These foods offer the fibre, vitamins and minerals to keep your body working at its best. The essential vitamins we require include:

Vitamin C

Vitamin C plays a central role in boosting the body’s immunity, with studies showing that infections and stress can quickly deplete vitamin C concentrations in the immune cells.

It is also is essential for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It is involved in many key body functions, including wound healing and the maintenance of cartilage, bones and teeth.

Good sources of the vitamin include strawberries, broccoli, oranges and pineapple.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D has been proven to reduce the duration of flu and other chronic viral infections. It is especially helpful for people who have low vitamin D levels in the first place.

Food sources include salmon, sardines, eggs and mushrooms. Cod liver oil supplements are also well worth considering.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin, which works closely with the immune system to fight off infections like the flu. The vitamin plays a major role in brain development, nervous system functioning and potentially slowing cognitive decline.

Chickpeas, liver, tuna, salmon, chicken and potatoes are all good sources of the vitamin.

Magnesium

Magnesium also helps keep the flu at bay, while assisting in bone formation, heart health, decreasing inflammation and relieving stress.

Seen by nutritionists as critical when it comes to immunity, research shows it plays a key role in regulating the immune response.

Some of the best sources of magnesium include spinach, pumpkin seeds, avocado, legumes, leafy greens and dark chocolate.

Zinc

Zinc is involved in many important processes in your body. It metabolises nutrients, maintains your immune system and grows and repairs body tissues.

Your body doesn’t store zinc, so you need to eat enough every day to ensure you are meeting your daily requirements. It has the ability to allow you to get over sicknesses such as the common cold faster than you would be able to on your own.

The best food sources include legumes such as peanuts and chickpeas, seeds, yogurt, red meat and seafood.