The holiday season is upon us, but before the celebrations begin there´s a hurdle to skip over, the first common cold of the winter. The person next to you might be sniffing and coughing heavily, but before you submit to the inevitability of the same fate, or rush to stock up on a bunch of harmful over-the counter cures, stock your pantry with these wintertime wonders to boost your immunity.
1. Citrus Fruits
An antioxidant that can reduce cold symptoms by 23 percent, Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits, red bell peppers (also a great source of phytochemicals and beta carotenes), sweet potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli and papaya, is your best friend for avoiding and enduring colds. Sure, you can take it as a supplement, but you´ll receive a plethora of additional benefits by eating fruits and vegetables in their natural form
2. Garlic and Onion
If you´re down with a cold, make the most of being off kissing duty by adding plenty of garlic and onion to your winter cooking. Dozens of broad-spectrum compounds that are effective against bacterial, fungal, parasitic and viral infections can be found between these two foods. There´s a reason garlic is the second most used supplement in the U.S.A. – it´s also great for opening clogged sinuses.
3. Oregano, Black Pepper & Turmeric
Of all the herbs, oregano is highest in antioxidants and, due to its high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids, is anti-inflammatory, and can protect against the common cold, influenza, fever and indigestion. Black peppercorns are high in fever and pain-relieving compound, piperine, while turmeric, used for centuries in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, gets its color from curcumin, a compound shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and antiseptic properties.
Ginger can help suppress coughing and directly target the most common variety of cold viruses. A mild sedative and natural pain and fever reducer, some raw ginger root in your tea can help to manage cold symptoms, rid toxins by increasing sweat production, and reduce nausea and vomiting.
5. Yogurt & Kefir
Lactobacillus reuteri and bifidobacterium are probiotics that increase the body´s white blood cell count, helping to block the replication of invading viruses and protect against infection. Make sure you´re getting the good stuff and buy yogurt containing live or active cultures. Traditional Kefir produces a different strain of bacteria, capable of colonizing the intestinal tract, providing long-term benefits and helping to ward off pathogenic yeasts.
Antioxidant and antimicrobial properties found in honey help fight infections from viruses, bacteria, and fungi, and a teaspoon in your tea coats and relives a sore throat. Buckwheat and other non-refined varieties do the trick, while most supermarket brands are more likely to deliver a sugar hit, and not much more.
As well as increasing cytokines (virus-fighting cells) mushrooms contain polysaccharides, which support the immune system. Traditional Chinese medicine identifies shiitake, maitake and reishi varieties as the best for fighting cold and flu.