I’m an NHS nurse: the twindemic is coming - here’s 4 immune-boosting foods you need for this flu season

Amidst increasing reports of an incoming ‘twindemic’ this flu season, an NHS nurse has shared 4 immune-boosting foods you need to reduce your risk of getting ill over Christmas.

The twindemic

UK doctors are currently worried about the simultaneous onslaught of both Covid and flu expected to hit the UK this winter. Dubbed as the “twindemic”, this cocktail of viruses could compromise the health of millions of Britons. NHS nurse and natural health expert Cherry Francis says:

 “This flu season could be one of the most devastating we’ve had in a long time, and it’s our duty to take care of ourselves the best we can to stay healthy over Christmas. Sometimes, some simple immune-boosting dietary changes can be the difference between catching the flu and fighting it off before it ruins your winter”.

Cherry shares her top 4 immune-boosting foods for flu season:

Citrus fruits

Oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit are high in levels of vitamin C that work to stimulate the body’s natural production of white blood cells - which move through the body’s cells and tissues and attack foreign bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. Vitamin C found in citrus also helps to fight off free radicals, a type of unstable molecule created as a by-product of the body’s natural metabolic processes and thought to cause damage to the immune system and contribute towards the development of many nasty diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s and atherosclerosis. According to government dietary recommendations, we need approximately 40mg of vitamin C per day to maintain adequate immune functioning, and oranges contain approximately 53mg of vitamin C per 100 grams, though, so it’s easy to consume enough on a daily basis.


This powerhouse of a vegetable is not only packed full of vitamin C (just one cup of broccoli provides the body with as much as an orange), but is also crammed with potassium, magnesium, fibre, iron, and zinc, as well as powerful antioxidants such as glutathione - referred to by healthcare industry experts as “the mother of all antioxidants”. Glutathione contains several amino acids that are required in some way by every cell in the human body, and is so integral to so many bodily processes that studies suggest the amount of glutathione present in cells can be used as a predictor of life expectancy. Broccoli also contains zinc, a key micronutrient required by the body to support a number of processes - including proper immune functioning. Zinc works to activate enzymes in the body that break down proteins in bacterial and viral infections so that their ability to spread is encumbered, and can also reduce inflammation – known to contribute towards conditions such as dementia and heart disease. In order to gain the biggest nutritional impact from broccoli in your diet, you should cook it as little as possible – or not at all.


Thought to provide strength and stave off illness and infection, garlic was observed in ancient medical texts to be prescribed to labourers to aid them in the building of the pyramids, and studies have shown that garlic can decrease the risk of contracting colds and the flu, as well as reducing the length and severity of their symptoms – finding that on average, colds were reported to be 61% shorter-lasting in subjects consuming 2.56 grams of garlic extract per day. The high sulphur content in allicin compounds in garlic (which gives it its distinctive smell) helps the body to absorb zinc, and can boost the amount of active virus-fighting T-cells in the bloodstream. In addition to this, the active compounds that exist in garlic can also help to reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, and lower our risk of developing nasty neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia due to their antioxidant properties.


Your mum was completely right to whip up a bowl of soup for you whenever you got sick as a child. When we’re infected by a cold virus, its antigens invade the tissue in our upper respiratory tract, prompting the body to respond by sending an influx of white blood cells to the area which stimulate inflammation and increase the production of mucus. Ingredients present in soup such as magnesium, phosphorous and vitamins A and C can inhibit the migration of these white blood cells and thin the mucus moving through the body, reducing congestion and limiting the amount of time the virus is in contact with the lining of the nose – decreasing the length and severity of colds and flu.


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