Diets filled with nutritious foods could help ward off a number of winter illnesses, according to an expert.
With November set to be one of the coldest for years, it could be worth your while to protect yourself now.
What’s more, this winter is predicted to be particularly bad for flu and colds, after Australia experienced one of its worst flu seasons for several decades.
While it might seem like colds and flu are the only winter illnesses around, people can be more at risk of dry skin and depression in the colder months too.
Here are four foods to stock up on to help combat dry skin, a blocked nose, sore throat and depression.
Avocado helps prevent dry skin
“The chilly winter air can really mess with your skin. It leaves skin feeling really dry and can trigger common problems such as eczema or psoriasis,” said Will Hawkins, nutritionist at Push Doctor, an online GP service.
“The healthy fats found in avocado can save you. They’ll help your skin retain the layer of moisture it needs to stay soft.
“Avocado helps your body absorb Vitamin E, which is a key ingredient in the collagen that your skin needs for a glowing complexion.”
Half an avocado should be enough to reap these benefits, according to NHS guidelines.
Ginger helps with a blocked nose
“Fresh ginger is very effective against a blocked nose and is delicious in both sweet and savoury dishes,” explained Hawkins.
“It contains gingerol, which is related to the capsaicin compound found in chilli.
“Spicy food causes you to get a bit of a sweat on, which can loosen a bunged up nose in next to no time.
“Ginger can also protect you against the virus that causes respiratory tract infections – in other words, it could reduce your chances of getting a cold in the first place.”
Just a thumb-sized piece of ginger a week should be enough to experience the benefits.
Garlic helps soothe a sore throat
Research has shown that garlic can effectively fight cold symptoms.
“Studies have shown that a daily dose of garlic can get rid of sore throats and other cold symptoms up to 70 per cent quicker and reduce the number of days you’ll need off work by as much as 61 per cent,” said Hawkins.
“It can also reduce your chance of catching a cold by around 63 per cent.”
Turn out it contains immune system-boosting sulphur compounds.
Red meat helps you manage depression
“Winter is notorious for the effect it has on some people’s mental health,” said Hawkins.
“Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that becomes much more common once the clocks go back, as the shorter days leave us with less sunshine to enjoy.
“It might surprise you to know that a small amount of red meat can be a big help here.
“That’s because it contains tryptophan, an amino acid that increases your body’s production of ‘happy hormones’ such as dopamine and serotonin.”
He recommended one or two portions a week to boost your mood.