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The best offence is a good defence

Last week, Deebee's founder, Dr. Dionne Laslo-Baker, appeared on CTV Vancouver to offer some useful tips for staying healthy during cold and flu season. Read on to learn about immune-boosting foods, natural cold remedies and a few myth-busters that might leave you surprised.

1. Tea

How could we not? But we're only biased because this superfood has proven itself time and again with research-based evidence. In particular, rooibos tea boasting 10x the antioxidants of black teas is a great choice for the whole family, as its naturally caffeine-free composition and mildly sweet flavour are safe for children. Drink at least a cup a day to boost your immune system's cold-fighting capabilities. Or, brew it, chill it and use it in place of juice in your morning smoothie or shake.

2. Honeysuckle

It's been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, and recent studies out of Asia point to honeysuckle's promising powers as an antiviral therapy. Buy honeysuckle tea and drink some every day (mix it with your rooibos if you like) to fend off or fight flu symptoms.

3. Honey

Natural cold remedies just got sweeter. Many parents find themselves stuck when little ones come down with nighttime coughs, reluctant to use pharmaceutical remedies often not advised for small children. Dionne recommends giving a teaspoon of honey just before bedtime to calm a cough. Suitable for children at least 12 months of age.

4. Apples

It's true, they do keep the doctor away…but only if you leave the peels on! Apple peels are high in antioxidants. Another plus: affordability. Unlike exotic fruits and berries from far and wide, apples are one of the most economical "superfoods." So stock up!

5. Vitamin C  myth!

It's hype. Yes, it really is. Although Vitamin C is helpful and necessary for the human body, research does not support its efficacy in preventing or treating colds and flu. So skip the powders and pills and enjoy a fresh orange instead  it might not help that cold, but it certainly won't do you any harm!

6. Yogurt or Kefir with Wheat Germ

Probiotics abound in organic yogurt and kefir (a fermented grain and milk product similar to yogurt). Sprinkle either with a spoonful of wheat germ  a great source of zinc  to kickstart your morning.

7. Garlic

You might want to save this tip for the end of the day, but garlic might keep illness at bay. Limited studies have linked garlic one clove per day with stronger immune system responses. Hey, it can't hurt to try… unless you're a vampire.

8. Get your 5 and 5!

Never underestimate the power of simple, healthy eating. It's easy to get our required daily servings of fruit and veggies during the summer months, when fresh produce abounds. But in the winter, as prices creep up and selection dwindles, we tend to fall off the wagon. Dionne recommends shopping the frozen foods aisle for reasonably priced veggies and fruits that retain their nutritional value.

9. Wash your hands

It never gets old because it works. Wash your hands whenever you arrive home and anytime in between where you've been around people.

10. Get a little exercise

Moderate daily exercise is important for keeping stress levels down and is part of a healthy lifestyle. Low stress = lower risk of getting sick.