Flu season is hitting us full force, and according the CDC, still may not have reached its peak. If you’re one of the lucky few who hasn’t succumbed to the virus, you should be doing everything you can to keep your immune system fully functioning and your body ready to fight off infection. Below are three foods proven to boost your immune system, and tips on how to incorporate them daily. Remember, we’re not your doctor and can only recommend these based on the scientific evidence – consult with a physician if you have any concerns!

elderberries

You might be familiar with the incredible health benefits of the “flavonoids” found in fresh berries, but did you know that elderberries outrank other berries in flavonoid concentration? A 2009 study found that elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent influenza cells from becoming infectious, even comparing it to the anti-flu activities of Tamiflu. To get the most out of Elderberries, try an elderberry syrup (available at natural health food stores like Natural Groceries) or buy a bag of dried elderberries and make your own elixir.

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One of the best ways to thwart a virus is to start incorporating lots of fresh, raw garlic (and breath mints) into your daily routine. Freshly crushed garlic contains the antiviral compound allicin, which can destroy the virus before it becomes full-blown. During a virus outbreak shoot for eating three to four cloves a day. It’s important to note that garlic must be consumed raw and freshly ground to receive the full benefits of the allicin, which means you may want to keep your distance from your coworkers for a while (but you were doing that anyway, right?). If the thought of shooting back raw garlic makes you want to hurl, try putting it into capsules, or mixing it into a glass of water with honey and lemon.

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Fresh ginger has been shown to benefit health in a variety of ways, but its microbial properties make it especially helpful during flu season. In order to get the full effects of ginger, you should consume it raw and freshly grated, and plenty of it (we’re talking . Start grating it into your tea or water with some honey and lemon. If the taste isn’t for you, ginger extracts are available – get the alcohol based variety for the most potency.

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