Colds and flu are viruses that have to run their course once you get them because there is no actual cure.  Viruses can’t survive on their own and they need a living host to attach to and reproduce.  There are vaccinations to prevent some viral infections and antiviral drugs to treat some others, but antibiotics are useless against viruses and are only effective against bacterial infections.

The good news is that there are many foods you can eat to help you build your immunity and resist illness.  They also add flavor to your meals while helping you avoid the side effects caused by some medications.

Garlic – this member of the allium family has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties.  After it has been cut or crushed, it produces allicin which is highly effective for boosting the immune system.  In addition to helping you fight viruses, studies have shown that garlic is effective in reducing inflammation and fighting bacteria, fungi and parasites as well as promoting cardiovascular health and killing cancer cells.

Onion – another member of the allium family that is highly nutritious and helps boost the immune system.  It also has antibacterial properties.

Ginger – another food with centuries of use for its medicinal properties, it has antiviral properties that help prevent respiratory infections as well as the growth of certain bacteria, especially those related to gum disease.  It’s also highly effective in treating nausea from a variety of causes, including stomach flu.

Oregano – in addition to adding great flavor to your marinara, oregano is an antibacterial and has a compound called carvacrol which helps fight viral infections.  The most potent and effective form is oregano oil, but don’t hesitate to cook with fresh or dried oregano or brew a cup of tea with it.

Holy Basil – also know as tulsi, it’s used for its antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and analgesic (painkilling) properties as well as improving immunity.  It can be used as a spice or tea, and also acts as an adaptogen to help your body adapt to stress and improve your mood.

Echinacea and Elderberry  – also effective in treating viruses like cold and flu as well as boosting immunity.

Although these natural remedies should not be substituted for any medication prescribed by your doctor, they can go a long way towards helping you fight that bug or keeping it away altogether.

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