Prevent Man Flu This Winter

You’ll find that a “Prevent Man Flu” family campaign will be fully supported by every family member – and possibly more so by those who play spectator to this “devastating disease”. The first step in this worthy fight is to arm yourself with knowledge!

Dr Rip da Silva, a Cape Town-based GP, points out that “the flu or influenza virus is different to the common cold, in that it usually puts you flat on your back for five days”. He confirms that it can be dangerous to the vulnerable, like “the elderly or those with chronic medical conditions or compromised immune systems”. When it comes to prevention, Dr da Silva highlights that you “need to do the basics relatively well in order to expect good health outcomes. You can’t expect to be healthy if you don’t eat and sleep well, don’t exercise, are stressed and don’t make time for family and hobbies for example”.

There is the flu vaccination which, according to Dr da Silva, is effective. But if needles aren’t for you, there are other ways to try and keep the bugs at bay:

  • Stay hydrated

This keeps your mucous membranes moist, so they can stop any viruses or bacteria getting into your body. An excellent winter drink is green tea with honey and lemon: the steam helps the hair follicles in your nose get rid of bacteria; tea contains quercetin, which can stop viruses from multiplying; the lemon thins mucous; and the honey is antibacterial.

  • Get enough antioxidants

Antioxidants help your cells protect you from disease and they also help the body heal faster. The best way to get them is to eat lots of colourful fruit and veg, particularly blueberries, red onion, red peppers, pumpkin, broccoli and raspberries. Other good sources of antioxidants are dark chocolate, green tea and coffee.

  • Up your probiotics

A healthy gut means more good bacteria, less disease-causing bacteria and a stronger immune system. Supplements are widely used and available in health shops and pharmacies, but probiotics are also found in the following: live-culture yoghurt, kefir, kombucha tea and dark chocolate.

  • Don’t forget the protein

The protein in your diet gets broken down into amino acids, some of which are used to build new proteins involved in the immune system – like antibodies. Winter can make us crave comforting carbs but don’t forget to provide a good supply of protein – think eggs, fish, nuts, yoghurt and meat.

  • Bonus flu-fighting ingredients
  • Avocados contain glutathione, which helps the immune system target illness-causing viruses.
  • Garlic contains allicin and alliin, which are both compounds that can destroy germs.
  • Apple cider vinegar breaks down mucous – take a shot if you feel a cold coming on.
  • Carrots contain beta-carotene, which helps keep mucous membranes healthy.
  • Fennel is a natural expectorant and boosts the immune system with vitamin C and potassium.
  • Ginger is antibacterial and reduces inflammation of the nasal passages.
  • Pumpkin seeds (and oysters) contain zinc, which helps you fight infection.
  • Turmeric combats viruses and is good for respiratory health.

You may have to change your menu a little and try some new things, but there’ll be no family pushback, as it’s a small price to pay for a winter without man flu.


Choosing the right medical aid is no joke, but we’ll leave you smiling.