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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Fight Colds and Flu with Fresh Veggies: Dr. Linda Khoshaba recommends these foods to keep our immune system healthy

Dec 31, 2013 02:32PM ● By Linda Khoshaba, NMD

Flu season is here, and it is important that we keep our immune system healthy to fight off any bug that we may encounter. Here are five of the top foods that boost the immune system to survive the winter. Combine all five in a soup for a powerful anti-flu and anti-cold remedy.

Garlic (allium sativa)

Garlic comes from the liliaceae family and is usually used in its bulb form. Garlic is known for its powerful taste and smell, caused by its sulphur-containing compounds known as allicin.

Garlic has numerous immune-stimulating properties, including being a powerful anti-microbial agent and diaphoretic, meaning it makes you sweat. It can also be combined with other compounds, such as mullein and oil, to be used as eardrops for ear infections. As a food, its pungent taste goes great in any soup and has the bonus effect of boosting circulation. The brave may try eating one clove per day for preventative purposes, but make sure there is some mouthwash nearby.

Onions (allium cepa)

Onions come from the same family as garlic, with a milder amount of sulphur-containing compounds. Traditionally, onions have been used in many contexts, including mild infections, coughs and colds, because of its powerful antibacterial actions. Recently, research has shown that onions contain some of the richest sources of dietary flavonoids, one of the most abundant being quercetin. These flavonoids have great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. They work by inhibiting the release of mediators of inflammation, such as histamine, from white blood cells. Onions are also very powerful in helping to reduce allergies and asthma.

Turmeric (curcuma longa)

This root is well known for its anti-inflammatory effects, especially on autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. The active constituent, curcumin, makes turmeric a top candidate across the board for healing numerous health conditions. Turmeric possesses many powerful antiviral properties that aid in fighting off influenza.

Ginger (zingiber)

Ginger has many beneficial uses, including the treatment or prevention of nausea and motion sickness. Ginger is also very warming and can treat cold hands and feet by increasing circulation. Ginger is usually yellow in color and makes a wonderful addition to dishes like stir-fry or soup.

Lemon Citrus

A very common remedy for colds and flu is honey with lemon. Lemon comes from the citrus family with a reputation of being an excellent source of vitamin C, which exhibits many notable immune modulating effects by working as a natural antihistamine and helping to keep the immune cells in check. The vitamin C in lemon juice also has many soothing properties that treat sore throats and calm congestion.

Dr. Linda Khoshaba received a doctorate from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. Her main areas of focus include women's health, pediatric medicine, diabetes management and prolotherapy. For more information, visit