A good immune system is more important than ever during winter – those nasty germs are everywhere: your office, the bus, probs even your local café.

To stay fightin’ fit, nutritional medicine expert Fiona Tuck has five natural remedy suggestions that will strengthen your immune system.

Oil of oregano

Oil of oregano is extracted from the oregano plant and can be found in health food stores and pharmacies. “It contains powerful antioxidant, anti inflammatory and antibacterial compounds,” says Tuck. “Studies have shown that oil of oregano is effective at killing bacteria and could also help the immune system take action against viruses, fungi and parasites.”

According to Tuck, you can use it in a whole bunch of ways: “as an internal supplement to help ward off cold and flu, as a gargle for sore throats, in vapourisers for sinus congestion and chest infections, or it can even be applied topically to treat skin breakouts, cold sores and skin infections.”

Tuck also advises to follow manufacturers instructions before using the oil as it may need to be diluted.

Orange and yellow fruits and veggies

Load up on antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin A to keep you protected against harmful pathogens. “Include plenty of vitamin-C-rich citrus fruits, capsicums, tomatoes, berries and rhubarb, and beta-carotene-rich orange and yellow veggies such as pumpkin, sweet potato and carrots,” advises Tuck.

Vitamin D

We get it, it’s cold AF and you probs wear three layers everytime you venture outside. But you still gotta let the sun’s warm rays reach your skin at least once a day so you can keep the sickness bugs at bay. “Some foods such as butter, cheese and mushrooms contain small amounts of vitamin D but we really need 20 minutes of daily exposure to winter sunlight to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D,” says Tuck. Skip the work lunch at your desk and head outside for a walk with a colleague instead.

Garlic

Sure, it keeps the vamps away but also viruses, parasites and bacteria as well. “Raw garlic contains the compound Allicin which is released when the garlic is chopped or crushed,” says Tuck. “Allicin contains antimicrobial properties and may assist the immune system to fight colds and flu.”

Onions

Add raw onion to your salads and soups to help fight off viruses and bad bactéria. As Tuck tells us, onions may alleviate symptoms of sinus congestion and assist with strengthening the immune system.

Fiona Tuck is hosting an upcoming workshop called ‘Boost Your Immune System’ on 19 July 2017, in Manly. Find out more here.