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how to nip a cold in the bud

19th February 2018 by Jess

Whether you're feeling run down, there's a cold going round the office, or you've been struggling to throw off the sniffles, Jess has some top tips to help you out this winter.

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Food has the ability to help support us through these months when common winter illnesses such as colds and flus, sniffles, coughs, chapped skin and even the winter blues are rampant.

While there are many over-the-counter medications to help treat and manage these conditions, there are many more food-based options available to help. These can help treat the basis of the problem rather than just the symptoms.

If you’ve been struck by the dreaded cold or flu, or you can feel one brewing, here are my top 3 tips for nipping the cold in the bud, and making sure it doesn’t linger for any longer that it needs to.

Jess, graze nutritionist
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The more stressed we feel and the more burdened our nervous and immune systems become, the more susceptible we are to winter infections, coughs and colds, and for them to linger for longer than necessary. Winter is the time to slow down the pace and enjoy some ‘me time’.

Meditation, yoga and other breath-focused practices can be highly beneficial every day, but particularly during times you feel overwhelmed

stress busting 101
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The winter often demands more of our bodies and is a time to amp up nutrition. It's the best defence against winter illnesses and to keep your skin, hair and nails, as well as your immune system, fighting fit.

Vitamin C rich foods

Vitamin C will not only support skin that starts to dry out during the cooler months, it will also ensure your immune system is firing on all cylinders. Vitamin C is used by the body to signal the production of white blood cells to protect us when foreign bacteria or viruses enter the body.

It's present in the fluid lining in our lungs, where the antioxidant activity helps prevent inflammation and damage by bacteria and viruses. It's also crucial for collagen production in the skin, something we want to support over the winter months.

Vitamin C cannot be stored in the body so we need to consume it every day:

  • Eat a piece of fruit or add lemon, orange or grapefruit to your morning juice.
  • Incorporate leafy greens and broccoli into stir fries.
  • Heat and light and the length of time from a food being harvested decreases vitamin C, so grab what you can from your local farmer's market.
  • Supplementing vitamin C can also be highly beneficial.


Zinc is a superstar nutrient when it comes to immunity. This mineral is critical for a large number of processes in the body including wound healing, hormone balance, appetite and great digestion.

Too many people today don't consume adequate dietary zinc while others consume a diet that is too high in substances that interfere with the absorption of this vital mineral. Poor zinc status can lead to poor blood glucose management, sugar cravings, loss of appetite, poor resistance to infection and lowered fertility.

  • Oysters, beef and lamb are good sources of zinc.
  • In the plant family, seeds contain zinc, in particular pumpkin seeds, however a much smaller amount is present.
  • If you take a zinc supplement, it is best taken before bed to support great absorption.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an important nutrient for bone health, immunity, cancer prevention and mood regulation. Its role in bone health is to support the uptake of calcium and phosphate, which are bone-strengthening minerals. Over the winter months we often find ourselves wrapped up warm with less exposure to the sun.

As the sun's action on the cholesterol in our skin is our major source of vitamin D it is important to spend a little time each day exposed to the sun and to increase our food sources of vitamin D. These include some oily fish, organic butter and egg yolks.

Tip: Try adding our new energiser and smoothie snacks to your breakfast or morning snack for a nutritional top-up.

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Your grandma was right about chicken soup. Bone broths contain calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, and amino acids, all nutrients that support adrenal health, the nervous system, bones, teeth and nails, as well as the immune system. They are budget friendly and are a nourishing way to support people who feel depleted in nutrients or energy.

Getting into the habit of cooking up a big pot of soup on a Sunday is a fantastic habit to get into to set you up for the week ahead.

Try making a broth from organic, grass-fed beef or lamb, or organic chicken bones with root vegetables and herbs and spices. Use the broth as a base for a vegetable soup or drink it on its own.

recipe: turmeric detox broth

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By Jess, graze nutritionist.

Our nutritionist extraordinaire, Jess trained at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and is a registered practitioner with the British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She's the creator of our health badges, to help you choose the snacks and boxes that are right for you. Check out everything from Jess on our blog, with recipes and tricks to help you keep making better choices, or go to Jess's blog at for even more.

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