Winter – sometimes it seems like it will never end, and a nasty cold or flu certainly doesn't help matters! If you are an unlucky recipient, you may find relief in one or more of the following natural remedies to combat cold and flu and learn  how to improve your immune system naturally.

Boost the Immune System with Infection-Fighting Foods.
Take advantage of the following natural foods when battling a cold or flu:

Try the BRAT Diet. Immediately following stomach flu, it is best to consume fluids and broths. On day two, try BRAT. Commonly used for children with upset stomachs, this natural remedy of bananas, rice, applesauce and dry toast really works!

  • Eat garlic, which has powerful antibacterial compounds that help the body fight infection.    A close relative with similar antibacterial agents is onion. Cook with onions and leeks when you or family members have a cold.
  • Blueberries help to curb diarrhea, and they have aspirin-like properties, which may help to reduce fever and soothe aches and pains.
  • Try eating cranberries to prevent bacteria from invading the bladder and urinary tract.
  • Chili peppers help to open sinuses and clear the buildup of mucus in the lungs. Other helpful foods for reducing nasal congestion and mucus are mustard and horseradish.
  • Try a cup of tea as a natural cold and flu remedy. Catechin, a phytochemical found in black and green teas is said to have antibiotic and anti-diarrheall properties.
  • Steer clear of processed foods and sugar when battling illness as junk foods take a toll on the digestive system.

Get a healthy Immune system with a daily Vitamin Health Supplements.

  • Vitamin C. Devotees of Vitamin C swear by its ability to reduce severity and duration of cold symptoms and boost the immune system. Try foods rich in Vitamin C like citrus fruits, berries and leafy greens, or take a supplemental dose of 200 to 500 milligrams a day to provide extra protection from a cold or flu.
  • Vitamin D. A study at the University of Colorado Medical School in Denver found that lower levels of vitamin D are linked with an increased risk for respiratory infections, like cold and flu. This was based on an assessment of diet, vitamin D levels, and rates of respiratory infection in a group of nearly 19,000 American men and women. In addition to supplements, vitamin D can be found in canned tuna, cereal and fortified milk or juice.  The body produces its own vitamin D with adequate exposure to sunlight.
To prevent your chances of getting a nasty cold or flu or to soothe the symptoms once they set in, try any of the natural remedies below.
  • Get Enough Rest. This is a “no-brainer.” When ill, your body is trying to tell you that you need to take better care of it. Find a warm, quiet bed away from other family members and get plenty of sleep.
  • Stay Hydrated. Drink at least 64 ounces of pure water or fluids daily. This boosts the circulatory system, which is vital when the body is fighting disease. Also, reduce mucus with warm liquids like herbal teas and broths.
  • Know when to Treat Symptoms.  Surprisingly, uncomfortable cold and flu symptoms are part of the body’s natural course of healing. A fever actually helps boost the immune system by creating a hot, virus-destroying environment. Therefore, if you can tolerate a moderate fever at the onset of a cold or flu, you might get well faster. Coughing is another useful symptom that helps to clear mucus from breathing passages.   Except at night, try to encourage rather than inhibit this important function.
  • Try a Neti Pot for a Stuffy Nose. Rinsing with salt water helps remove infection-causing particles from your nose and clears nasal congestion. Use of a neti pot is a great natural remedy - try a solution made up of eight ounces of warm water mixed with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.

These methods can help hasten recovery time and boost the immune system naturally!