Most people tend to get sick during winter. Runny noses, wheezy chests and watery eyes have become synonymous with the colder months. Thankfully, there are a few wonderful ingredients you can incorporate into your meals to stave off these Common little illnesses.
These pungent cloves do more than just flavor your food. Garlic also contains allicin, a sulfuric compound that produces potent antioxidants when it decomposes.
A 2001 study in the journal Advances in Therapy found that people who took garlic supplements for 12 weeks between November and February got fewer colds than those who took a placebo. And of those who did get sick, those who took the garlic supplement felt better faster.
Garlic packs the biggest antioxidant punch when eaten raw. Flavor too strong for you? Consider taking aged-garlic extract capsules.
These licorice-flavored seeds, which have antibacterial properties, have been shown to ease coughing and help clear congestion from the upper respiratory tract.
Anise seeds can be eaten (in rolls and cookies, for instance), but for cold-fighting, the delivery method of choice is usually tea. According to the American Pharmaceutical Association’s Practical Guide to Natural Medicines, a typical recipe is to add one cup of crushed anise seeds to one cup of hot water, and flavor with sugar, garlic, cinnamon, or honey (if desired). Sip this concoction up to three times a day.
Like citrus fruits, red peppers are high in vitamin C. In fact, one red pepper has 150 milligrams of the nutrient—that’s twice the recommended daily allowance for women. (A large orange, by comparison, only has about 100 milligrams.)
Even that may not be enough, however, as studies suggest you need much more than that to harness the nutrient’s cold-fighting benefits. If you’re sick, you should be eating a lot of vitamin C throughout the day—400 to 500 milligrams.
Ounce for ounce, pure cocoa contains more of the disease-fighting antioxidants known as polyphenols than most berries—and it’s loaded with zinc, to boot.
Too often, however, the nutritional benefits of cocoa are overshadowed by the sugar and saturated fat found in chocolate bars and other treats. To reap the immunity-boosting benefits without the unhealthy extras, stick with bite-sized portions—about one quarter-ounce per day—of dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or higher.