We all know eating foods that are rich in nutrients can be good for our health, but some say eating them while you're sick is even better.

[Read more: Flu jabs: Who can get one on the NHS, will the vaccine give me flu and is flu serious?]

Add one or more of these foods to your diet and really boost your immunity to coughs and colds.

1. Yoghurt

Studies have shown that eating a low-fat yogurt each day can reduce your susceptibility to colds by as much as 25%.

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The beneficial bacteria is Lactobacillus reuteri which has been found to block the replication of viruses that invade the body when we get sick. Not all brands have this particular bacteria, so check labels.

2. Black pepper

While pepper is widely known for making you sneeze, it’s hidden power is to also prevent the sniffles! Black peppercorns are high in piperine, a compound known for its anti-fever and pain-relieving qualities.


3. Chicken soup

No, not just a myth! Nothing beats the sniffles like a bowl of hot chicken soup. Not only does it provide the fluids needed to help fight off viruses, it's a powerful mucus stimulant so it helps clear nasal congestion as well as thin mucus.

4. Tea

While your regular ‘builders’ cuppa is good for you, try sipping green or black tea - both are filled with flavonoids, which are potent antioxidants as well as helping to thin mucus and ensure proper hydration.

[Read more: 7 of the UK's best village tea rooms]

5. Mushrooms

These little fungi’s increase the production of cytokines, which are cells that help fight off infection. The most potent cold- and flu-fighting 'shrooms are shitake, maitake and reishi – stock up now!


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6. Garlic and onions

Dial up the healing power of any dish with plenty of garlic and onions. When combined, these flavourful healers contain antiseptic and immunity boosting compounds. As an added plus, garlic helps to open clogged sinuses.

7. Ginger

Besides soothing a scratchy throat, ginger boasts chemicals called sesquiterpenes - these target rhinoviruses - as well as substances that help suppress coughing. Ginger is also a natural pain reliever too, so add a couple of tablespoons of shredded gingerroot to your tea, or have herbal ginger tea.