How to build up your immune system to fight the flu

Updated May 11, 2017

Influenza is an upper respiratory infection that can produce symptoms such as dry cough, sore throat, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. Because this illness is spread by airborne virus cells, it is highly contagious. Although bed rest and fluids are typically recommended for treatment of influenza, prevention is preferable to treatment. Boosting your immune system may help your body ward off the influenza virus, preventing you from contracting influenza.

Add fresh, chopped or diced garlic to starters, soups and side dishes. Garlic may help boost your immune system, according to various studies. It also contains a chemical compound called allicin that may offer antiviral benefits, helping your body ward off the influenza virus.

Take supplements containing astragalus. This herb, native to eastern and northern China, may help boost immune system function to help your body destroy influenza virus cells, according to Phyllis Balch, author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." It may also prevent toxic damage to your liver, allowing this organ to effectively remove immunity-weakening wastes from your bloodstream. Talk to your local GP before taking astragalus supplements. This herb may counteract immune-suppressing drugs used after organ transplants.

Consume foods rich in vitamin C, such as kiwi fruit, grapefruit, watercress, alfalfa, strawberries, oranges and pineapple. Vitamin C may improve immune system function and protect your body against influenza infection, according to Balch. It may also help prevent free radical damage to your liver than may impair its ability to remove toxins and waste.

Take supplements containing ginkgo biloba. This herb, native to China, may enhance blood flow through your circulatory system, according to Balch. This may aid in the delivery of vitamins and minerals necessary for immune system support.

Things you'll need

Garlic Astralgus supplements Vitamin C-rich foods Ginkgo biloba Ainc-rich foods Cayenne pepper Ginger

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