Virginnia Thomas from Nourishing pantry ( shares her advice on moving into winter and some great immunity boosting recipes.

Lets start thinking about ways to boost immunity before Winter hits. We are all busy, living in the real world with high stress levels, less than 8 hours sleep, taking public transport and eating quick fix diets.  It seems that getting at least one cold/ flu every winter is inevitable, especially if you have children because they love to bring a home a vicious lurgy home and share it around.


My top 10 tips

1.     Wash your hands to avoid spreading germs, we all need reminding every now and then.

2.     Get at least 8 hours of good quality sleep every night, it’s true that an hour before midnight is worth two after.  Aim to have at least 3 nights a week in bed before 10:30, go on give it a go.

3.     Reduce your sugar consumption!  Sugar is an immune suppressant with the effects lasting up to five hours after consumption.

4.     Drink water or plain herbal teas, aim for around 2 litres a day

5.     Eat vegetables of all colours, the brighter the better as these colourful guys are full of anti-oxidants and vitamins.

6.     Consume good quality proteins such as fish, organic chicken. Grass fed meat, eggs and nuts. Protein provides the building blocks for every cell in your body including those that fight infection.

7.     Increase consumption of infection fighting foods such as onions, garlic, ginger, chilli, turmeric and cinnamon.

8.     At the first sign of a sniffle make a big batch of flu bomb tea (recipe below) and have an early night– trust me this really works

9.     Exercise, outdoors if possible,  this not only helps you stay fit this winter but will improve mood and give you a great dose of immune boosting vitamin D from the sun.

10.  Include probiotic foods such as yoghurt, kefir, kim chi, sauerkraut and Kombucha in your diet. 70% of the body’s immune system is found in the gut so healthy gut bacteria is vital.  If these all sound foreign don’t worry I will fill you in on the wonders of probiotics really soon.


My two favourite immune boosting recipes


Flu Bomb Tea – make this in a big batch and store in the fridge


5cm piece ginger

1 lemon – sliced

1 stick of cinnamon

½ tsp chilli flakes or small chilli chopped

1 clove garlic crushed – this releases the allium which is what does all the good.

500mls boiling water

Honey to taste (but not too much due to sugar content)

Bring the water to the boil and add all ingredients, except honey and allow to steep for 10 minutes- strain out the pieces add honey to taste and enjoy.

Can also be made in a plunger.


Chicken Soup

Our grandmothers were right, nearly everything seems better after a steaming bowl of soup.  This recipe is a favourite in my house.  I make a huge pot of chicken stock every couple of weeks, then reduce it, till it becomesthickand gelatinous – causeI only have a tiny freezer, then I add it to everything.   More information on why I love real chicken stock so much and ways to sneak it in coming soon.  If you don’t have homemade stock look for a brand with no nasties, cooked for as long as possible to extract maximum goodness.

Speedy Immune boosting chicken soup

1 tbsp oil of choice, I like olive oil, butter or coconut oil

1 leek – sliced

1 onion diced

1 carrot diced

2 stalks of celery diced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2cm piece ginger, grated

1 ltr chicken stock

1 chicken breast thinly sliced

½ cup corn kernals

1 tomato diced

1 egg

Spring onions – sliced

Heat your oil in a heavy based pan, sweat leek, onion, carrot and celery for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chicken stock, bring to boil then add thinly sliced chicken breast and corn. Put lid pot on and turn heat off. Leave for 15 minutes, add tomato, a beaten egg and spring onions and serve. At table add dash of soy and fresh chilli if extra spice.