Nothing to Sneeze At: 6 Foods to Fight Flu and Cold
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  1. Nothing to Sneeze At: 6 Foods to Fight Flu and Cold

    Foods to Fight Flu and ColdContributed by Jason Knapfel, the Senior Producer for, which provides the tools and information needed to shape a healthier you.

    With colder weather comes more sniffles and coughs. That means the cold and flu season is officially upon us.

    Aside from a flu shot and consistent hand washing, you may be wondering what you can do to minimize your chances of getting sick. Your kitchen may hold the key.

    Foods that can help fight off infections

    1. Garlic

    Yes, the famous vampire repellent is also pretty good at keeping cold and flu at bay. Garlic contains allicin, a sulfur compound that gives it that pungent smell and its immune boosting properties. Garlic also has several antioxidants that fight immune system invaders.


    2. Ginger

    Scientific research has shown that ginger has a number of therapeutic properties, including anti-inflammatory effects and the ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds. Researchers have also found a potent germ-fighting agent that may help fight off infections. They isolated the gene responsible for the compound and the protein it produces, which is called dermicidin. This substance is made in your sweat glands and secreted in sweat where it helps protect the body from invading microorganisms on the surface of your skin.


    3. Sweet Potatoes

    This sweet side dish contains loads of the antioxidant beta-carotene, which creates vitamin A in the body, boosting immune function by lowering the amount of free radicals.


    4. Oranges

    Is there anything more refreshing than snacking on a fresh orange? With its high vitamin C levels and strong antioxidant properties, the orange works well in fighting off the cold virus. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to keep your immune system strong.


    5. Honey

    This is a personal favorite. In fact, one of my favorite snacks is to take a half of a graham cracker, spread a little peanut butter, add a couple slices of banana, and a sprinkle of honey. It's not only a delicious treat, but honey also has antibacterial and antioxidant properties that help fight diseases. It's also well known as a cough suppressant if you already show signs of being sick.


    6. Mushrooms

    While mushrooms are an underrated health food, the word is starting to get out. This flu-fighting fungus contains selenium, which helps white blood cells produce the cytokines that defend the body against viral infections. They also have beta glucan, an antimicrobial fiber that helps activate special cells that destroy infections. Mushrooms also contain the powerful antioxidant L-ergothioneine.

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