Nutritionist Emma Sutherland Shares Her Top Tips for Avoiding & Geting Rid of The Dreaded Cold & Flu Virus

| 3 July , 2012 | 1 Reply

Nutritionist Emma Sutherland has kindly given us the low down on how to avoid getting the common cold and flu as well as how to get better as quickly as possible if you do succumb to the dreaded lurgy that rears it’s ugly little head substantially during the winter months.

Why do we get more colds in the winter months?  It’s because the risks are more severe, due to a greater workload on our immune systems which includes environmental factors such as the change of season, recycled air from air conditioning, and crowded public transport all provide an environment perfect for the rapid spread of those nasty little germs.

A poor diet and being overworked or stressed can also contribute to a decline in our health. Though many people try valiantly to remain at work whilst sick, it’s really a no-go not only on a personal front ’cause our bodies are telling us we need the time out, but on our work colleagues, I know sharing is caring but we’re not keen on this kind of sharing!

Preventing Colds and Flu

As Emma outlines below, we don’t have to be despondent, the following are a few things we can do to make sure we are prepared and that our bodies are as fit and resilient as possible during the colder months:

  • Make sure your diet is high in fresh fruit and vegetables. Along with whole grains, this ensures you get the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants essential for a healthy immune system. Load up on onions and garlic for their antimicrobial properties to keep germs at bay, and consider taking natural supplements like Wagner’s Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract™, a product I can recommend highly. It is an advanced natural immune boost derived from organically grown garlic to help prevent colds and flu (without causing garlic breath!). Warming foods such as ginger and chilli are also handy to add to your winter dishes.


  • Stock up on Vitamin D. Research has shown that people with low Vitamin D get more frequent and more severe colds than people with high levels. As it is a fat soluble vitamin, be careful of constantly eating “low fat” foods as you will be missing out on Vitamin D. Natural sources are full fat dairy, sardines, egg yolks and cod liver oil.


  • Eat adequate amounts of protein. It forms the building blocks for your infection-fighting antibodies. This can be found in animal sources such as lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy foods or from plant sources such as legumes, tofu and tempeh.


  • Wash your hands often. Cold viruses can survive for several hours on hands, tissues, or hard surfaces. A healthy person can contract a virus by touching a contaminated surface, then touching his or her own mouth or nose. Studies demonstrate that touching your nose or eyes with the fingertip area leads to an overloaded immune system and most of the infections of the upper respiratory tract. Keyboards and telephones, particularly when shared, are among the most germ-laden places in a home or office and the average desk harbours 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat!


  • Exercise moderately. Studies show that exercise (in the right quantities) is beneficial to strengthening the immune system. When you exercise you increase blood circulation through your body, therefore circulating antibodies and white blood cells. This, in turn, means your immune system has a better chance of dealing with an illness before it has a chance to spread. A study was done with 50 women divided into exercise and non-exercise groups. The exercise group walked briskly 45 minutes for five days a week. The women who walked experienced half as many colds as the non-exercise group. Walkers had an increase in natural killer cells from the beginning. Natural killer cells are part of the defence against germs and viruses.


Dealing with the lurgy

  • Rule number one – act quickly! Start taking natural antimicrobial herbs such as an aged garlic extract like Kyolic, Echinacea, Andrographis and Elder at the first signs of illness. It is far more effective to do this rather than waiting as you can prevent the virus from taking hold.

  • Minimise sugar consumption. This includes glucose, fructose, sucrose or processed juice as they significantly reduce the ability of white blood cells to destroy viruses. This is due to sugar blocking white blood cells from using Vitamin C, and this vitamin is vital in the fight against infection.
  • Supplement with Vitamin C as well as zinc. As mentioned, white blood cells require Vitamin C in their fight against infection but they also need the mineral zinc. Zinc can be found in oysters, sunflower seeds, lamb and beef while foods high in Vitamin C include blackcurrants, red chilli, red capsicum, broccoli, kale and lemon.
  • Temporarily reduce dairy consumption. Although beneficial in sickness prevention, during a cold these products tend to increase mucous production and lead to congestion. This is a big tip for children as they tend to consume a lot of cheese, yoghurt and milk.


  • Take the right natural supplements. As I mentioned, I like Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract as it will help support immune function to relieve the symptoms of cold and mucous congestion (without the garlic breath!), and also would recommend “friendly bacteria” such as Probiotica P3 to help support immune function and improve resistance to infection. Traces of probiotics are found in some foods (yoghurt, milk, miso and some juices and soy beverages) but are best administered via dietary supplements in capsule, tablet or powder form to ensure they survive the stomach acid and arrive where they are in needed in the intestine in sufficient numbers to make a difference.

A yummy way to kick-start your winter health regime is with Emma’s simple immunity-boosting juice recipe, Emma drinks it up to four times a week during the chilly months:


  • 1 small beetroot
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 whole lemon

Get yourself a good juicer and juice in the following order – first carrot, garlic, ginger, beetroot, three remaining carrots then lemon. It really is best if you use organic ingredients as they are far more nutritionally dense. Add to a big glass with a few ice cubes and you will feel amazing and germ free!

So there you have it, print this out and keep it handy for any time you might succumb to the cold / flu and remember it’s your body’s way of telling you to take some time out, so resting up and getting sleep is just as important as well as drinking lots of water!

Emma Sutherland – N.D.BHlth Sc (CompMed) MATMS, MNHAA – is a successful naturopath and TV presenter and her mission in life is to inspire women to get their mojo back. She was the expert nutritionist in a premier show on LifeStyle You in 2011 called “Eat Yourself Sexy”. Emma was the resident Naturopath on the TV show “The Daily” in 2010, and is a keynote presenter and private consultant at the exclusive Golden Door Health Retreat. Emma is a fully qualified Naturopath, having completed four years of training in Herbal Medicine, Nutrition and Homoeopathy as well as a Bachelor of Health Science. She has completed post graduate training in women’s health and is also a certified HypnoBirthing instructor.

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  1. I love this show, I would buy ema’s cook book in an instant.

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