5 Supplements to take this winter

Some foods are nutrient dense, while others are a little lacking. Should you be supplementing your diet with vitamins? Here’s when to take supplements.

In winter your diet shifts: on some grey days you just don’t feel like eating a cold, leafy salad, and you’d probably prefer another cup of hot coffee instead of snacking on an orange. But this means that your vitamin intake drops a bit – not something you need during flu season! Here are some supplements that will keep your immune system fit and fighting through winter.

1 Vitamin C

Although it doesn’t really prevent colds, vitamin C pumps up your immune system – your body’s first defence against viruses. If you do get a cold, then some extra Vitamin C can even help to dry up a runny nose, and get you better more quickly. But be sure to stick to the recommended dosage as too much of any vitamin is not a good thing.

2 Zinc

There’s a reason that zinc lozenges are popular cold fighters: sucking zinc lozenges every 2 hours within the first two days of a cold can shorten how long you’re sick! OK, they don’t taste too good, and you can only take them after you’ve eaten, but zinc can get you better faster.

3 Garlic

Supplements work as well as fresh garlic, so now you don’t have to walk around with garlic breath! Garlic doesn’t really stop colds, but it does speed up recovery because garlic is good for your immune system. Note: If you take blood thinning medications, check with your doctor before using garlic supplements as they can increase the drug’s blood-thinning effects.

4 Vitamin E

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This antioxidant vitamin is another immune system booster, and there’s clinical evidence that it actually can prevent colds! However, it won’t do anything to shorten a cold if you get sick.

5 Echinacea

Research suggests that Echinacea can stimulate the immune system and may have antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects. Some suggest taking Echinacea at the first sign of a cold, others that you take the supplement after cold symptoms have started to make the symptoms less severe.

Proven cold prevention moves

While taking supplements wisely will keep your body’s defences ready and strong, remember: washing your hands and getting enough sleep are the wisest preventions against colds and flu. Be well this winter!