Fight Flu the All-Natural Way

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Story Updated: Apr 9, 2014

Last year's flu season seemingly struck with a vengeance. The number of reported flu cases was at a startling high. Unfortunately, the bug bit me and my family as well. What's worse is that it got us smack dab in the thick of the holiday cheer. It was a rough encounter, to say the least!

Thankfully, after two long weeks filled with fevers, meds, stuffy noses, coughs, headaches and everything in between, we triumphantly recovered. I vowed that I would take the necessary steps to be more preventative before the next flu season attacked. This year I started early, researching and utilizing the most highly recommended flu fighting methods (so far, so good).

Of course, there were tons of options, but based on the reviews from experts and individuals, the following were documented as the most preferred and effective methods by both experts and those who'd tried them. These tested tips for cold and flu prevention can increase your likelihood of staying well all season -- and better yet -- year round.

Grapefruit

Pink grapefruit is full of Vitamin C, which helps keep the immune system strong and aggressively fights illnesses. As an added bonus, grapefruit is packed with lycopene, a phytochemical and powerful antioxidant which may reduce risk of stroke and cancer; and naringin, a flavonoid which helps the body break down fats (consequently boosting metabolism).

Cabbage

Cabbage contains antioxidants like glutathione which help the immune system function. Not sure which to get? Traditional, white, red and even Chinese cabbages are all good sources of antioxidants.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a scrumptious way to boost your immune system. They're a perfect ingredient in stir-fries, soups and casseroles. According to researchers, mushrooms are packed with nutrients, including selenium, lentinan and copper. These nutrients boost immune cells, enabling them to respond to invading germs with force. Button mushrooms are the most frequently eaten, and are well known for improving immunity, reducing heart disease and even fighting cancer.

Garlic

British researchers report that the sulfur compounds in garlic can greatly reduce the length and severity of cold and flu symptoms.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Homemade chicken broth soup is full of nutrients and minerals. The natural broth from chicken serves as a great detox source. Many cultures throughout history have used the broth from chicken bones to boost the immune system. A rich array of potent nutrients is released into the water when the bones are boiled. Click here for a good recipe.

Lemon, Honey and Ginger Tea

Send that flu heading for the hills with this healthy tonic. (Click here for the recipe.) Green tea is another option. It contains a high level of catechins, which are a great source of antioxidants. Adding raw honey to green, rooibos and lemon teas has also proven highly effective in promoting body and digestive health. Honey contains powerful antioxidants that strengthen the immune system.

DIY Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry was actually used to treat the Panamanian flu epidemic in 1995, as its antioxidants are a powerful force. Available as a juice or supplement, it can also help with cholesterol, vision and heart health. Elderberry syrup has been shown to prevent and help recovery from the flu, colds, excessive mucus and sore throats, as it contains large amounts of antioxidants, potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus and Vitamin C. You can make your own for just a few dollars. Take a tablespoon daily to counteract illness, or a teaspoon every two to three hours while sick.

Influenza Rx Sorbet

A refreshing dessert, the Influenza Rx sorbet is also great for cooling a feverish and achy body. Ingredients include honey, orange, ginger, cayenne and optional bourbon. Click here for the recipe.

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