02/11/2010 12:06 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Why Eating Almonds Could Help You Fight Off A Cold

If you want to help boost your resistance to all those cold and flu bugs that are going around at this time of year, eat more almonds. According to experts from the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, eating almonds may help strengthen your immune system against viruses.

Almonds boost the immune system Almond skins may boost your immune system. Photo: Stock.xchng, jliudesign

The researchers believe they've found a chemical in the skin of almonds that has an effect on your white blood cells - killer cells that fight off bugs - that makes them more sensitive when it comes to detecting viruses. Published in the journal Immunology Letters, their study suggests the compound in almond skins could boost your body's ability to stop viruses spreading too.

Even after being digested the substance was still effective, the experts found. They tested the almond skin compound by observing the effect it had on the cold sore virus - which can be particularly tricky to treat, as anyone who's ever had a cold sore knows. But even then, the almond skin extract proved encouragingly effective.

The researchers still haven't identified the exact substance in almond skins that has the antiviral effect, but they think it could belong to a group of antioxidants called polyphenols.

So how many almonds should you eat to boost your immune system? The researchers admit they don't know, but that eating almonds - which are a great snack food - on a regular basis could well mean you'll suffer from fewer viruses.

How do you fight off colds and other viruses? Do you have any tips for other My Daily users?

If your mind matters follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook