how to rule the flu and not be ruled by it

What to eat to boost your immune system

Not only should you be drinking water and lots of it, but simply going old-school at the onset of a cold is the best preventative measure, and remember to avoid dairy as a cold sets in, as dairy causes mucus build-up.

Mums are always right! What did your Mum or Grandma make you when you were growing up when you had a cold? Chicken soup, right? Or a version of it—have you ever thought why? Well, the soup is a like a broth, very therapeutic as it is warming to your body. Chicken soup is usually made from using chicken meat on the bone, which you slow-cook over the day with all your favourite vegetables. This process releases the vitamins and minerals from the bones and meat and, more importantly, draws out the collagen and gelatin from the bones which is your bone broth, which is the secret ingredient. But the process also releases an amino acid from the chicken called cysteine, which is great for your cardiovascular system. The mixture of the broth with the nutrients from the vegetables and chicken makes the most soothing, comforting, and energising meal. Remember to use organic, pasture-raised chickens. I will always remember my Mum making me chicken soup when I had a cold, and I would slurp the last bit of the soup up and swallow a mouthful of ginger, which is packed full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and great for fighting the flu. Here is an awesome recipe for vegetable chicken soup.

Don’t skip vitamin C: It’s one vitamin our body doesn’t produce, so we have to get it from outside sources. Good sources of vitamin C are dark, leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and fresh fruits, especially citrus fruits (remember, though, that store-bought orange juices are full of sugar and preservatives).

This is when I love juicing: As soon as I feel the onset of a cold, I either buy a cold-pressed juice or make my fresh juice with orange, kale, ginger, and carrot. I also continue to drink my morning glass of water and squeeze half a lemon into it, but at the onset of a cold, I add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. The lemon gives you vitamin C, but the apple cider vinegar— which is made from fermenting apples which turns the apple juice into a vinegar- like liquid—containing acetic acid. The acetic acid in vinegar is not only great at killing bacteria, but it has been used for centuries to cure many an ailment (re- member the days it was used to pour on your jellyfish or blue-bottle stings down the beach). At the onset of a sore throat, adding a spoon full to your water will surely help—you can feel it killing those bacteria in the back of your throat as you drink it.

Don’t fear the stink: Garlic is your friend, and it has been used for centuries as a medicinal remedy, in particular helping your immune system fight off the common cold, as it contains a compound called allicin. When garlic is sliced, crushed, chewed, or ground it forms into allicin which when eaten gives your white blood cells a turbo-boost to help fight your cold. So don’t skimp on the garlic when you have a cold. Taking garlic supplements is also a great way to consume garlic at either the onset or during a cold. When I start to feel slightly run-down, or someone in the office has a cold, I immediately start taking aged, organically-grown garlic extract tablets for cardiovascular support. I also combine this with another supplement, a triple-strength garlic, vitamin C, and horseradish tablet that I use as an anti-allergy and hay fever formula. This always helps me get through cold and flu season. Buy these from your local health food stores.

Look after your gut health (especially if you are taking antibiotics): Gut health is so important, and we just assume our guts are healthy. There are billions (trillions) of healthy and un-healthy bacteria in our tummies that aid/inhibit digesting food, and either keeping us healthy and well or unhealthy and sick—getting the balance right is important.

Make sure you eat some type of food that contains probiotics, which occur naturally in any type of fermented food such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso. So, if you are eating Japanese or Korean food, always order the kimchi and miso soup. These fermented and cultured foods promote healthy bacteria in your gut, breaking down sugars and starches from food and drinks we consume. When you are next at the health food store, grab a bottle of Kombucha (a fermented slightly fizzy drink)— while it tastes great, it is also doing your gut the world of good. If my tummy feels a little queasy I always drink a bottle of Kombucha—there are some awesome flavours, and it is refreshing as well.

How I fight the flu:

1. As soon as I wake up - I brush my teeth & tongue scrape, then rinse my mouth to get rid of the bacteria built up over night. I have a room temperature glass of filtered water and I add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and the juice of a freshly cut 1/2 lemon. 

2. I then boil water and have a cup of warm cup of bone broth. I stir I teaspoon of this into a warm cup of water.

3. Supplements - There are 3 supplements I use the first is an aged, organically-grown garlic extract tablets for cardiovascular support. I also combine this with a second supplement, a triple-strength garlic, vitamin C, and horseradish tablet that I use as an anti-allergy and hay fever formula. At lunch, I then have my whole-food based fruit, vegetable and berry supplements (non-synthetic). Before bed I have a glass of ultra-potent Vitamin C powder (teaspoon in a glass of water)

4. Mid-morning I have a fresh-pressed juice: usually either carrot, apple, orange, ginger and turmeric or beetroot juice made from beetroot, carrot, ginger and apple

5. Lunch if I can stomach food then a roast vegetable salad or the vegetable juice above if you don’t feel like eating

6. Dinner—vegetable soup or the chicken bone broth mentioned above.

Even doing a version of this a few times a week will have you primed to be healthy AF!

Hugh Simson