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Seasonal Immune Boost

The Starks’ motto is all too real this time of the year: winter is coming, and you have to take it in your stride. What can you do to fend off the misery of sniffing and coughing? Boost your immune system with the right nutrients.

You can eat fruit and veg to your heart’s content in summer but there’s no way to stock up on vitamins to last the cold season. Although A, D, E and K vitamins are stored in the fatty tissues under the skin and in the liver for 2-3 months, most of the vital nutrients are depleted from the body in a few weeks.
Vitamins B last even less: 3-4 days at the most. All the same, you can maintain a healthy level of micro nutrients that boost the immune system to fight viral and bacterial infections with a combination of vitamin rich diet and dietary supplements. Most importantly, don’t store fruit and vegetable in the fridge for a long time because they lose their vital vitamins, and buy organic, untreated citrus fruit if you are planning to use the peel as well.

Good to Know

- If you suffer from cold feet and hands it is a good idea to improve the circulation with omega-3 fatty acids. The natural sources of omega-3 are fish, seafood, walnut and linseed. Make sure you eat these at least twice a week, otherwise take a suitable supplement regularly.

- Garlic has medicinal properties. Apart from the vitamins A, B, C and E, it contains allicin: an anti-bacterial and anti-viral compound. Garlic cannot replace antibiotics but it is effective in preventing and treating the common cold. You can eat it raw or mix with a little bit of honey to make it go down.

- Autumn and winter can be hard on your skin if you spend a lot of time outdoors. C and E vitamins help to avoid dry, chaffed skin. Eat almonds, hazelnut, sunflower seeds and citrus fruit regularly.

Doctor's Advice -

Mónika Solymos M.D., internist and cardiologist

Following a balanced, nutritious and varied diet with plenty of vegetables and fruit is the first rule of thumb if you mean to stay healthy in winter. As fruit and veg loses some of its nutrients when stored and transported, choose locally grown if you can: apple, pear, grapes, beetroot, cabbage and potatoes are affordable and highly nutritious. The unassuming pumpkin is a seasonal superfood, rich in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It is loaded with vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, C and K, and it beats even carrots when it comes to vitamin A. The list of pumpkin goodness goes on: zinc, calcium, manganese, copper, iron, phosphor and folic acid make it the orange trump that support the immune system in the war against nasty, cold-hearted pathogens.