Foods that Best Fight Colds and the Flu

Your diet can determine whether you’ll end up bedridden with a cold or the flu by January of every year. Stave off seasonal illness with these immunity-boosting foods.

Kefir

A cultured milk product similar to yogurt, kefir is loaded with probiotics, the healthy bacteria that live in your gut—where most of your immune cells dwell—and help you absorb nutrients to keep your immune system solid. Blend one cup with fruit and drink it like a smoothie.

Red Grapefruit

Vitamin C can shorten colds while alleviating symptoms, but skip the supplements. Any more than 500 milligrams per day can cause digestive issues, and eating just one red grapefruit will satisfy your needs.

Sweet Potato

Root veggies are brimming with vitamin A, which helps the body produce white blood cells that fight bacteria and viruses. They also maintain mucosal membranes in the nose and throat to prevent infections from gaining a foothold in your body. Prick the skin with a fork and bake for 45 minutes at 400 degrees.

Cinnamon

One teaspoon has the same amount of disease-fighting antioxidants as half a cup of blueberries. And it’s a versatile spice. Use it to flavor tea, cereal, smoothies, or vanilla ice cream.

Oysters

Thanks to high levels of zinc, the pneumonia and cold-proofing powers of oysters are top-notch. But the two most common ways of eating them—fried or raw in the half-shell—will raise your cholesterol and could expose you to food-borne illnesses. Instead, shuck them and broil with some minced parsley, garlic, and olive oil for about five minutes.