Feeling a little stuffed up lately?

Cold and flu season is upon us, which means doing everything you can to stay healthy.

If you have access to a flu shot, that’s your first step to avoid flu symptoms. But it’s also important to stay physically active in the winter months. Not only does this keep your body strong, but it also boosts your immune system.

Did you know that you can also ward off nasty cold and flu bugs with your diet?

When you fuel your body with healthy foods, you increase your body’s ability to prevent and fight illnesses and bad bacteria.

It’s not just a cliché saying: you really are what you eat. That includes boosting your body’s immune system with foods that are naturally good for you.

And in the age of COVID-19, it’s never a bad idea to take extra care of your body.

Here are several foods that can boost your immune system during flu season. Make sure to stock up on your next trip to the grocery store!

1. Garlic

You might be surprised to find that this common ingredient is so healthy, but some of the best foods to boost your immune system might already be lying around your kitchen.

Garlic has been used for centuries to fight illnesses. It’s been shown to significantly prevent the cold and flu viruses, as well as lessening symptoms if you do get sick.

Whether you add it to your favorite recipes, swallow a spoonful of minced garlic, or take it as a capsule supplement, garlic contains a compound called alliin. Alliin boosts the disease-fighting response of your white blood cells.

Your breath might be a little intense with all that fresh garlic, but it’s worth the immunity boost!

2. Ginger

When you’re not feeling so great, some flu symptoms might interfere with your ability to get through the day. Things like nausea, fatigue, and achy joints can make you sluggish and uncomfortable.

Meet your new best friend: Ginger!

An expert at decreasing inflammation, ginger works right away to relieve a painful sore throat or a sour stomach.

Another unlikely superpower: Ginger has been found to reduce chronic pain by way of its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation in your body causes many issues, from bloating to headaches to arthritis.

Ginger is also a little spicy when chopped up and eaten on its own. So you can say goodbye to that stuffy nose, and hello to clear sinuses!

3. Turmeric

A longtime staple of Indian cuisine, turmeric isn’t just known for its vibrant orange hue.

Like ginger, turmeric contains anti-inflammatory agents that help repair cell damage and fight off foreign bacteria in your body.

Inflammation in your body can take many forms, from heart disease to cancer to neurodegenerative conditions.

Curcumin, the anti-inflammatory ingredient in turmeric, neutralizes toxins in the body and increases antioxidants throughout your body. That means this super-ingredient gets your cells working smarter, not harder.

To top it all off, adding this spice to your diet can help fight against brain-related diseases, promote good heart health, and give you radiant skin. This is a spice you shouldn’t neglect — flu season or not!

4. Green Tea

If you have a morning coffee addiction, it might be time to switch over to this immunity-boosting alternative.

When it comes to fighting the cold and flu, antioxidants are your friend. Antioxidants protect your body from free radicals – the toxins associated with heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses.

Luckily, Green tea is packed with antioxidants like flavonoids and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which are both shown to enhance immune function.

Swapping out your coffee for green tea can also boost brain function, help you burn more fat while exercising, and lower your risk of certain cancers.

Green tea’s more caffeinated cousin, black tea has also been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce heart disease up to 11%. So switching to green or black tea in the morning can boost your health in more ways than one.

5. Citrus Fruits

When you start to feel a cold coming on, you’ve likely reached for vitamin C. Maybe that’s with a glass of orange juice, a vitamin, or a trusty packet of Emergen-C.

There’s a reason why this is your go-to: vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells, the crime-fighters of your body that ward off illnesses.

Partnered with your body’s response, vitamin C can help reduce the length and severity of your cold.

And guess which foods are packed with this essential nutrient? All your favorite citrus fruits like grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, lemons, and limes.

You can elevate your health and boost your immune system naturally by adding some of these to your fruit bowl or squeezing them into your water.

6. Elderberry

While it might not be the most sought-after item in the fruit aisle, elderberry supplements have been fighting ailments since the age of the ancient Egyptians.

And this little berry certainly has its health perks.

Historically, elderberry has been used for everything from pain relief to a diuretic. In its original form as a flower, elderberry was used in old medicine to reduce bleeding. Most noted today is its ability to fight cold and flu symptoms.

In a study of 60 people with the flu, those that took elderberry supplements several times a day showed a much faster recovery (2-4 days) than the group who didn’t take the supplement (7-8 days).

While you can find plenty of elderberry products in the supplement aisle of your local grocery store, scientists don’t recommend attempting to make your own remedies with elderberries at home. Uncooked elderberries are fairly toxic and can cause nausea when not cooked properly, so be sure to opt for a supplement or pill instead.

7. Spinach

As a child, you may have shied away from eating all your vegetables (despite your parents’ insistence). But the health benefits of spinach are worth it!

Rich in vitamin C, iron and packed with beta carotene, spinach just might be the greatest of all time when it comes to healthy foods.

Getting a big helping of this leafy green as often as you can will benefit eye health, reduce blood pressure, and may even prevent cancer.

If you’re on the fence about adding more spinach to your diet (or if you have a picky eater at home), you can throw it in a pan for a sauté, sneak it into a salad, or even give a healthy boost to your favorite smoothie.

8. Almonds

If you’re looking for a healthy snack and to boost your immune system, almonds are the perfect nut for the job.

With plenty of vitamin E, fiber, protein, and healthy fats, a handful of almonds provides you with nutrients that can help keep you feeling great, even during peak flu season.

When you’re sick, your body may produce oxidative stress, which is damage to your cells that can contribute to aging and disease.

With almonds, you get a low-carb treat with amazing health benefits. People with type 2 diabetes often add almonds to their diet to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin function.

Try some of these cheap and easy almond recipes >

Boost Your Immune System Naturally with These Super Foods

You can’t always avoid getting sick, but there are many simple things you can do to keep you from being confined to your bed all day with a box of Kleenex nearby.

Choosing foods that fuel you with nutrients and antioxidants is just one way to keep you and your family safe this flu season.

And as always, don’t forget to get your flu shot, and take extra COVID precautions like practicing social distancing, mask-wearing, and washing your hands frequently.

When you and your kiddo get sick, skip the drive to your doctor’s office and visit them from the comfort and safety of your home.

Learn more here about myCallADoc and sign up today >

This article is not intended as medical advice. Always check with your doctor before embarking on a new health and wellness plan.

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