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Winter is looming, and one thing is for certain: Cold and Flu season is about to hit everyone hard.

Besides the obligatory vaccination and hand-washing tips, you might be surprised to discover that certain foods can actually help keep you from getting sick! Karlene Karst, a Registered Dietician and best-selling author, recommends 5 types of foods to help you “stay in the game” during cold and flu season.

Garlic: Strangely enough, this potent yet delicious additive is actually one of the world’s healthiest foods! Garlic has powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties, which can help keep viruses and bacteria from taking hold and replicating in our bodies. Remember to add lots to your food when cooking! Tip: Chopping it fresh is best, but it can be minced and put into the fridge for a couple days.

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Mushrooms: These little fungi have some of the most incredible immune boosting properties, packed with Selenium and antioxidants, as well as B vitamins, riboflavin and niacin which support a strong, healthy immune system.

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Raw Honey: Raw honey has been used since the ancient times for its powerful healing properties, as this superfood contains antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties to protect you from the elements. Tip: Make sure it’s raw honey!

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Pomegranates: This wonder-fruit is in season right now, and it’s jam-packed with Vitamin C, which is a natural antioxidant that helps boost the immune system. Tip: All brightly colored fruits and vegetables (yellow peppers, apples, etc.) are great for your immune system!

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Water: Yes, we know we need to stay hydrated, but many people don’t know why this is so important during the cold and flu season! Viruses love dry surfaces – they attach to dry surfaces and replicate throughout your body. Staying extra-hydrated can actually keep the virus from taking hold in the first place! Tip: You can add effervescent Vitamin C packs (3 per day) to your water to give you an energy boost and reduce your likelihood of getting sick by up to 50%!

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Lastly, it’s still important to wash your hands! Remember to use soaps infused with essential oils, not alcohol. Alcohol dries out your skin, making it more attractive for viruses to stick to. For more, visit karlenekarst.com.