Dr Zoe Williams shares seven tips to boost immunity and avoid colds

Dr Zoe shares natural remedies for colds

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Even as we creep towards spring we can remain susceptible to winter illnesses such as colds and flu. Colder air weakens our resistance to viruses and more time spent inside together aids the spread of infection. While there are medicines available to help your recovery from these kinds of illnesses, there are also simple measures you can take to stay healthy.

ITV regular, Doctor Zoe Williams, teamed up with nasal spray brand Stérimar to share her seven best ways to boost your immune system and avoid colds and flu.

Get enough sleep

She said: “It is extremely important to get enough sleep (seven or more hours a night), especially if you have been exposed to germs or a virus.

“When you don’t get enough sleep, your immune cells decline, increasing susceptibility to sickness.

“To improve your sleep, try sleeping in a completely dark room, using a sleep mask, or going to bed at the same time every night.

“Reducing screen time before bed can also help, as the blue light emitted from screens can disrupt your circadian rhythm.”

Eat the rainbow

“The benefits of a healthy diet are far reaching and include supporting your immune system, Dr Williams said.

“Eating fruits and vegetables with a variety of colours ensures the body is nourished with essential nutrients.

“Leafy green vegetables, such as kale and spinach, are excellent sources of vitamins, which have been shown to play an important role in regulating immunity.

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“Getting enough vitamin D from fruits like oranges or taking a supplement, can also help keep colds at bay.”

Practise good nasal hygiene

She explained: “It’s all well and good trying to support your immune system to help fight against infection, but it is equally important, if not more to stop germs entering your body in the first place.

“The nose is one of the first lines of defence of our immune system and good nasal hygiene can help to keep your sinuses clear, making you less vulnerable to infections and viruses.”

Try and keep your exercise levels up

“Although exercising might be the last thing you want to do, especially when you feel a cold coming; simply going for a 30 to 45 minute walk can help support your immune system,” she recommended.

“Exercise mobilises immune cells to help the body fight any germs, making you feel better.”

Wash your hands more regularly

Dr Williams said: “This one seems obvious but washing your hands before performing any activity that brings your hands in contact with the eyes or mouth is one of the most important steps to avoid catching a cold.

“Make sure you wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds to help stop transmission of infection.

“You could also try cutting your fingernails, as they can become a breeding ground for germs. Be sure to also dry your hands after washing; wet hands can help bacteria spread.”

Reduce stress

“Although it is often easier said than done, reducing stress is important,” she said.

“Daily stress can overwork your immune system, draining your ability to stay healthy and this imbalance makes you more susceptible to viruses, including the common cold. You could try meditation, exercise or journaling, or anything which helps to relax you.”

Stay hydrated

Dr Williams added: “Drinking your daily recommended amount of water (around six to eight glasses a day) can help fight off illnesses through multiple ways.

“Staying hydrated helps keep the mucus membranes of your nasal passages moist so they can catch viral invaders before entering your body. Drinking water also adds oxygen to your blood—which helps ensure all your body’s systems have enough oxygen to function at their best level to remove toxins and speed up recovery.”

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