Woman lying on sofa blowing her nose

Struggling to get rid of winter bugs?

I’ve been chatting to a number of people recently who have had a bug this winter but are really struggling to get rid of it and feel fully well again. If this is you, then here are a few ideas to help support your immune system to fight off the bugs.


Your body needs rest, so it has the energy to fight off the bugs. Soldiering on at work is not always a good idea and can mean that it takes longer for the bug to go. The temptation is to rush back to our usual routine as soon as the worst of the bug is over, but we need to be kind to ourselves for a bit longer and continue to rest when we can to make sure the bug is fully out of our system. Early nights can really help here as this can strengthen our immune system. Make sure you are getting at least 7 hours sleep a night and ideally nine hours if you are feeling unwell.

Don’t rush back to exercise too soon

Exercise can support our immune system and help to prevent us from picking up infections. However, once you go down with something, the energy you would spend exercising is better spent resting to give your immune system the reserves to fight the infection. Similarly, we often want to get back into our exercise routine as soon as we start to feel better. But if you find your usual exercise class is leaving you feeling worn out then it’s a sure sign that your body is not ready to go back to that yet. Instead try something more gentle such as a slow walk or a short yoga routine such as Yoga with Adriene’s yoga for when you are sick.

Get your vitamin D levels checked

Vitamin D is an important regulator of the immune system, and can be low if your regularly get colds and flu and struggle to get rid of them. You can ask your GP to check your vitamin D levels or do a simple home finger prick blood test to check your level and then make sure you are taking the right dose of supplement to maintain or increase your level if needed. I use the Better You Vitamin D test, as you also get sent a voucher for a free vitamin D spray with it.

Eat soups

When we feel unwell, we can lose our appetite or not have the energy to cook. Stocking up on soups can help as this gives you a good dose of vegetables which contain vitamins and minerals to support your immune system. Go for a soup from the chiller section such as a supermarket own brand, Covent Garden Soup Company or Yorkshire Provender. Add in some extra vegetables such as some frozen vegetables or a handful of spinach to give yourself a boost of vitamin A to support your immune system. Add some extra protein with some cooked chicken or tinned lentils or chickpeas and you have the base of a stew to use for an evening meal. Finish off with some crushed garlic for a boost of anti-inflammatory immune support.

Drink smoothies

Similarly, a smoothie is an easy way to pack in lots of immune supporting fruits and vegetables. Adding berries, citrus fruits or kale gives you vitamin C which is another important nutrient for the immune system. Spinach and carrots will give you some more vitamin A. Try my kale and berry or carrot, apple and ginger smoothies.

Look after your gut health

As around 70% of our immune system lives in the gut, looking after our gut health is an important part of keeping our immune system working well so that it can deal with any bugs you come into contact with. Eating foods with healthy bacteria in such as live yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi can help feed the good bacteria in your gut which help to keep your immune system working well.

If you are still finding that your immune system is struggling or you don’t seem to be able to pick up after a virus, then do book in for a free hormone health review and we can talk about how some more tailored immune support may be useful to help you.

And if you’ve got rid of the bug, but are just left feeling like your energy levels have crashed and won’t come up again, then join my next Recharge Your Energy Levels workshop.

Content Disclaimer

The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog  are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Emma Belton Nutrition disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.

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