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6 key nutrients to keep colds at bay

Keep cold and viruses at bay this winter with these essential nutrients...

6 key nutrients to keep colds at bay

1. Elderberry

Black elderberry, aka Sambucus nigra , has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for its anti-viral effects. It is rich in polyphenols and plant-based nutrients that are said to be responsible for providing immune support. Commonly grown in Europe, the black elderberry has a long history of traditional use and is revered for fighting winter illnesses and speeding recovery. In fact, two clinical studies reported that elderberry extract taken in the first few days of infection and continued for at least five days significantly reduced flu symptoms.

2. Vitamin D

A recent trial showed that three out of five adults in the UK suffer from vitamin D deficiency during winter. Although Public Health England recommends that all adults and children supplement with 400iu of Vitamin D from October to March, larger doses may be necessary if you've been diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D supplements are available widely, but keep in mind that most are derived from lanolin in sheep’s wool. However, a recent discovery revealed vitamin D3 is present in lichen, resulting in vegan vitamin D3 food supplements.

3. Zinc

Zinc, essential for immune health has proved successful as a preventative and therapeutic nutrient in many studies. One study found that taking zinc within 24 hours from the start of viral cold symptoms halved the risk of the cold being present one week later.

4. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is considered the second pillar of immunity, alongside Zinc. Studies reported that daily consumption of 1000-2000mg vitamin C reduced the duration of the common cold, so stock up on this essential vitamin to stay healthy this winter.

5. Beta glucans

Beta glucans are a beneficial polysaccharide found in mushrooms and oats.  1-3, 1-6 beta glucans boost immunity at 250mg per day for adults, and are considered useful in the prevention of colds and flu.

6. Friendly bacteria

Current evidence shows that friendly bacteria, aka probiotics, are vital for human health and, specifically, immune function.  About 10 studies have looked at whether taking a friendly bacteria daily helps reduce your risk of the common cold, and have found a modest beneficial effect. So, if you are taking friendly bacteria to support digestive health, it may well be helping ward off colds, too!

For optimum nutrition and health, always check the label for ingredients when buying food supplements, and choose organic where possible. Jenny Carson is a senior nutritionist at ethical vitamin company Viridian Nutrition. Specialising in award-winning nutritional, non-GM supplements, Viridian uses only 100% active ingredients, avoids palm oil, and is against animal testing.

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