Flu and cold symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, headaches and muscle soreness.
As the temperatures drop, allowing bugs to circulate, it can be wise to build up your defences by enhancing your diet.
It is common to blame the cold, dark weather for winter illness, but feeling low can often be because we’re deficient in certain nutrients.
These are the four best foods to add to your diet and the reasons why.
The popular nut is an ideal snack during the winter said Juliette Kellow, a dietician.
“Almonds are a high source of fibre and natural source of protein, both of which are associated with increased sensations of satiety that will tide you over until your next meal. Almonds contain niacin (vitamin B3), folate and iron, and are rich in riboflavin (vitamin B2) and magnesium, all essential nutrients that contribute to a reduction in tiredness and fatigue,” she explained.
“Meanwhile, savvy snacking is even more crucial at this time of year because when blood sugar levels dip, it can compound some of the symptoms we associate with the Winter Blues such as irritability, tiredness and poor concentration. Studies show that almonds may have a positive effect on modulating blood sugar levels.”
Kellow explained that they contain an important nutrient that you can get low on during winter,” she said.
“Eggs contain folate and are a good source of vitamin B12, both of which are essential for healthy psychological function.
“Adding eggs into your winter diet also delivers a dose of vitamin D – good news as even on sunny days at this time of year, the sun’s rays are too weak to make this vitamin in our body.
“Eggs are also rich in tryptophan – an amino acid (protein building block) that makes serotonin in our brain.
“This feel-good hormone affects our mood, appetite and sleep, and a lack of sunlight can lead to lower levels, which in turn is linked to feelings of depression.”
“Incorporating whole grains into our diet helps to stabilise blood sugar levels, which in turn can help us control our appetite,” explained Kellow.
“Starchy foods also trigger the release of insulin, which indirectly helps tryptophan enter the brain, where it’s then used to make mood-boosting serotonin.”
The vegetable is an easy way to ensure you’re maximising sleep to keep your immune system energised.
“If you’re suffering from the winter blues, it’s worth ensuring your body is equipped with sufficient iron as a lack of this key mineral can make us feel exhausted, even when we’re getting enough sleep,” advised Kellow.
“Your handful of almonds is a good start, as this is a source of iron, but consider adding spinach to your winter meals as this provides iron and also a wealth of nutrients like folate and vitamin C which help to reduce tiredness.”
Additionally it’s important to keep hydrated, even if in the cooler weather the last thing you feel like drinking is water.
Kellow explained: “It’s a familiar adage but if you’re dehydrated, you can begin to feel sluggish and run down, so it’s important to keep drinking enough water throughout winter.
“One study looked at the effects of dehydration in women and found that even mild dehydration led to a lower mood, tasks seemed more difficult, and concentration was worse.”