When the temperature drops and the wind gets chilly, people start to feel under the weather. This time of year is widely known as the time when the flu and common cold threaten our health. However, there are things you can do to ensure you stay healthy all season long. In fact, you can fight these common health busters just by eating the right foods.

Garlic might be lousy for your breath, but it is great for staving off sickness during the cold weather. First, this flavorful food contains a compound called allin, which can be a natural decongestant. Plus, an enzyme in fresh garlic boosts the immune response to viruses, which means it can fight common illnesses and infections. The best way to get benefits from garlic is to crush it and let it sit for roughly thirty minutes prior to cooking. Then, you can add it to virtually any dish for a flavorful health kick.

There’s a reason so many health professionals recommend getting enough vitamin C. This powerful nutrient is great for giving your immune system the support it needs to fight the cold and flu. Don’t worry if you hate orange juice, though. There are plenty of other foods rich in this healthy vitamin. In addition to citrus fruits, your best sources for vitamin C are potatoes, green pepper, and strawberries.

If you do feel yourself getting stuffy, add a spicy kick to your food with some cayenne pepper. This pungent spice contains capsaicin, an element known to thin mucus and help you breathe easier. Just be careful how much cayenne pepper you add. If you don’t like spicy foods, you can easily put too much in. Look to add just a pinch in chili, stews, and other warm dishes.

Finally, don’t forget to keep the good carbs coming this season. Whole grains are an excellent source of zinc, a mineral essential for immune function. Although you can get zinc in many multivitamins, it is much better to get it from a natural food source. Your best bets are whole grain pasta or brown rice. Plus, these delicious grains also contain vitamin E. Like zinc, this vitamin plays a major role in healthy immune function.

Now that you know what foods can help you stay healthy, think of the many ways you can add them to your diet. Stuck for ideas? Go with an old staple, chicken soup. You can turn this cold-fighting treat into a mega healthy powerhouse by adding some of the foods here. Toss crushed garlic into the broth and boil up some green peppers along with your usual vegetables. Instead of white noodles, toss in some whole wheat pasta or brown rice. To finish it all off, add a pinch of cayenne for a flavorful burst, and you have yourself the ultimate winter meal.

So, when you feel the chill coming on this winter, don’t head to the drugstore just yet. Instead, make a beeline for the supermarket and stock up on these great, health boosting foods. Make them a part of your daily diet, and you can feel your best all season long.

Now that you know how to stay healthy during the cold and flu season, start planning on how to stay healthy all year long. A healthy diet and regular workouts will keep you in top shape. You may also consider a workout program that will help you keep your diet on track and keep you exercising on regular basis. I know two of our top sellers P90X and ChaLEAN Extreme, both have nutritional guides that do this very thing. Stay healthy and stay fit!