At this time of year, sniffles can take hold for weeks and seem hard to shake off, with offices full of coughs and kids bringing germs with them wherever they go. You haven't got time to be ill, so keep your immune system fit and strong with these great nutrition and lifestyle tips. 

Eat Immune Boosting Foods

Did you know leeks, onions and garlic all naturally strengthen your immune system? There's a reason that winter soups and stews are often based on the foods. So add them to homecooking whenever possible for a natural bug-boosting recipe. 

Dose up with vitamin C

We all know that Vitamin C helps ward off (and speed recovery from) colds but many of us underestimate how much to take. Take at least 5,000mg a day and up the dosage until you experience looser bowels (yes, that's how to tell that you've reached your maximum dosage). Back off from here by 2,000mg and take this dosage daily when you feel a cold or cough coming on. 

Good old lemon and honey

Yes, the old wives' tale is true: hot water with lemon and honey does work. Be sure to use fresh lemon, and - if possible - local honey. Add some grated root ginger if you like the taste for an even more powerful drink. This mugful will contain vitamin C, natural antimicrobial and antibacterial agents, soothing elements and much-needed hydration.

Wash your hands

If germs keep hitting your home and family, wash your hands more frequently. Use hot water and soap and wash both hands thoroughly under running water. And make sure your hand towel is clean.

Rest up!

If you do come down with something, rest. It's the best way to get the illness out of your system. The sooner you rest, the sooner you'll be better. So make yourself a honey and lemon drink, park yourself on the sofa and snuggle under a blanket. You'll be over your cough or cold in no time.

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