Do you feel the flu coming on? It’s more important now than ever to make sure you keep cold and flu symptoms at bay.

Wearing a mask in public, washing your hands regularly and eating the right foods really can help to make a huge difference when it comes to staying strong and healthy this winter.

Dr Emma Derbyshire, registered Public Health Nutritionist, shares her top tips on what you should be eating to boost immune system function as the days grow colder

We all know that oranges are rich in vitamin C but research shows that ounce for ounce, strawberries are better for flu than oranges.

Blueberries, anise seeds, Brazil nuts and walnuts are ultimate immune boosters too, and can help fight fatigue. Instead of downing a glass of orange juice every morning, mix it up by reaching for a punnet of strawberries and a handful of nuts to add essential vitamin K and magnesium. Around 80g (or seven pieces) of each will count for two of your five-a-day.

Stay hydrated

According to Dr Emma, “Taking in extra beverages like water, herbal tea and juice helps replace fluids lost from fever and respiratory tract evaporation, and it helps to loosen mucus.”

Avoid over eating

Eating stodgy food and indulging in rich, hearty meals is far more comforting than settling down with a salad — especially in colder months. But Dr Derbyshire recommends hot water bottles to keep you warm and exercise to keep your immune system on full power instead of stodgy or overly-fatty foods.

Organise your meals

Keep track of meal and snack frequency. It can be very easy for seasonal extras — the comfort of bread and potatoes can be hard to resist — to creep into diets which, as Dr Derbyshire outlines, “can drive up salt and saturated fat intakes, ultimately contributing to dehydration.”

Rice, stewed vegetables, egg, teriyaki chicken – healthy balanced lunch box.

Try alternating between white and sweet potatoes, and make sure wholegrain and brown breads are balancing out other carb-loaded white loaves. Replace salted butter with oil-based spreads and add some soy milk (or other soy-based products like tofu and edamame beans) to your diet to increase levels of essential antibodies.

Explore our health pages to find out what herbal and nutritional remedies you can take to lessen the blow of the flu season.