Sign up for our newsletter


Cycling nutrition: infection-fighting foods to keep colds at bay

7 Mar 2018

Suffering from sniffles and sneezes is a common scourge at this time of year. Here’s some insight into how to neutralise them naturally

Colds are irritating so-and-sos. Not quite bad enough to break you, while being just debilitating enough to get in the way of you riding your bike.

You’d have thought modern medicine would have come up with a cure for such an irksome condition by now, but colds aren’t simple.

They’re caused by countless minor viruses which a healthy immune system will learn to cope with one by one. There’s that many that you’d probably have to live as long Methuselah to get through all of them.

So how are they best dealt with? Well, you could cough up for an over-the-counter medication at your local pharmacist, but to be honest, as there’s no cure-all solution, you’re just as well off with a natural alternative.

Here are our top tips for infection-fighting foods to guzzle when your nose starts to run…


It’s no coincidence this gets included in almost every commercially available cold remedy.

Used since ancient times, modern studies also show it has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-microbial properties that are good at fighting infections, as well as being an effective cough suppressant that aids sleep during a cold.

So do like your mum told you, and stir a spoonful into warm milk at bedtime.


Studies have shown that people taking garlic supplements experienced fewer and less severe colds compared to those taking a placebo.

The reason? It’s especially rich in a component called allicin that has powerful antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

Try smashing it up and adding it as a topping to hot buttered toast as a snack. Yumm…


You’ll probably know this rich yellow spice from the zing it adds to curries. But did you know it’s proven to be high in antioxidants and is also considered a natural anti-inflammatory?

Repeated studies have shown that people who consume turmeric are less susceptible to colds, coughs and congestion.

Try waking up to a teaspoon stirred into in a glass of fresh veg juice at breakfast!

Sweet potato

Although not traditionally thought of as a cold-fighting food, sweet potatoes are a superb source of vitamin A, which plays a key role in maintaining the health of your mucosal surfaces – including the inside of your nose, your gastrointestinal tract and your skin.

Yes, your skin is part of your immune system. It keeps infections from entering your body and can be considered as your first line of defence.

So slice sweet tatties into French fry-style matchstick strips, bake and chomp with garlic dip.

Wild salmon

We all know that vitamin C is good for boosting your immune system but vitamin D is just as vital, and with sunlight being the main source, it can be in scant supply at this time of year.

Wild salmon (not farmed, it’s complicated, OK?) delivers decent levels of this crucial vitamin, which studies have shown a lack of leads to respiratory tract infections and slower recovery from illness.

Grill a fillet for 15 minutes and slather it in pesto for a quick and easy, protein-packed lunch.

Read more about: