7 Natural Foods That Help Fight Colds & Flu

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photo credit: Jonathan Rubio via photopin cc

It’s that time of year again- the seasons are changing into the cold, rainy autumn weather that’s so typical here in New England. And, just like clockwork, I’ve got a nasty cold. Every fall it’s the same story, so this year I decided to do my research and find out what the best natural food sources are to kick this cold’s butt. Some of the results were surprising, some not so much, but if you’re looking to either fight off or prevent a cold this season, stock up on these foods!

  1. Garlic and onions – contain beneficial allion and allicin. A British study found that people taking allicin supplements suffered 46 percent fewer colds and recovered faster from the ones they did get.
  2. Turmeric – an excellent source of antioxidants, which help improve the function of the immune system.
  3. Ginger – some people find fresh ginger root helps treat the coughing and fever that often accompany colds and flu. You can make a fresh ginger tea by pouring a cup of boiling water over 2 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger and letting it steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Cayenne Pepper – is a natural expectorant. It warms the body and stimulates the release of mucus from the respiratory passages. Try sprinkling a little over some hot soup, or adding it to a stir-fry.
  5. Mushrooms – contain two key nutrients to overall health: selenium, which helps white blood cells produce cytokines that clear sickness, and beta glucan, an antimicrobial type of fiber, which helps activate “superhero” cells that find and destroy infections.
  6. Strawberries – a better source of vitamin C than oranges. Just 1 cup provides 160 percent of your daily needs.
  7. Mint – Relieves the symptoms of colds and flu by easing and unblocking the breathing and respiratory passages and airways. Mint can also help with nasal allergies, and is a common remedy to relieve congestion, head colds and headaches.
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