It’s the time of year for colds, flu, and other common illnesses that come with cramped spaces and cold weather.

The office is a virtual breeding ground for disease as more and more of your colleagues choose to power through the workweek while sick. To make things worse, cold weather can wreak havoc on your immune system.

Add our holiday festivities to the mix and it’s no wonder we’re susceptible to cold and flu season. From Halloween through the New Year, we consume in excess sugar compared to the rest of the year.

Candy, chocolate, baked goods, and alcohol can weaken our immune system, compromising the functionality of the cells that work to defend against bacteria and infections. This ultimately increasing the chances of sickness.

Getting enough rest, physical activity, and remaining hydrated is always great practice to improve our energy and health. And thankfully, Mother Nature also has a great supply of remedies readily at our disposal.

Looking to stay healthy this flu season? Here are 5 healthy food remedies to incorporate into your diet this winter:

Natural Remedy #1 Apple Cider Vinegar

Though it has a strong flavor, Apple Cider Vinegar (or ACV) is a wonderful ingredient to have on hand. It is an alkalizing food, so it is perfect to ward off illnesses. This is because disease cannot grow in an alkaline environment. (Though it does create an acidic environment for germs).

ACV has antibiotic properties and can suppress bacteria and infections in your system, helping you feel better faster. Whether you have a stomach ache, sore throat, or need a warm drink to warm your system, ACV is a go-to multi-purpose resource. (Quick tip: the flavor is strong. Make it a more palatable drink by mixing 1 tablespoon ACV with lemon and honey in hot water).

Natural Remedy #2 Lemon

Just like ACV, lemon can help to prevent or reduce the growth of microbes and infection in your body. It also contains loads of Vitamin C, which is believed to boost your immune system, making it ideal for the winter months. Also, lemon juice can actually shorten the duration of colds in your system.

Drink some with hot water (or add honey for more flavor) twice a day or add lemon juice to your meals to reap these benefits.

Natural Remedy #3 Honey

Honey is another easy, natural home remedy that you can use anytime during the year. It has antioxidants, is antiviral, and antibacterial– making it an effective way to reduce a sore throat, treat wounds, and boost your energy.

Opt for local, raw honey as most honey found in grocery stores are blended with sweeteners or corn syrup. Just remember to use a little at a time because sugars can weaken your immune system, putting you at a higher risk for illness.

Natural Remedy #4 Garlic

Garlic is truly a superfood. Not only is it great for your cholesterol, but garlic also boosts your immune system and works to ward off viruses and microbes. Just like honey, this herb is antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal, and has sulfur-containing compounds, which are believed to give it its many beneficial properties.

One of these compounds, allicin, is also believed to combat free radicals (these cause diseases by killing off healthy cells and DNA) quickly, thereby promoting a healthy body. Chop up fresh garlic and add it to your meals, chew a raw clove or two each day, or take garlic tablets to get your daily dose in.

Natural Remedy #5 Ginger

Consider adding ginger to your tea or even adding it to your soups and other dishes. Ginger is amazing at reducing inflammation and clearing congestion in the body. Full of Vitamin C, potassium, copper, and manganese, this root is also great for easing an upset stomach, reducing pain, and improving your cardiovascular system.

Catherine Miller Avatar

Catherine Miller is a certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher and an aspiring Holistic Nutritionist who is passionate about sharing health and wellness with others. Follow her on Twitter @miss_touche