It’s official: Winter is on its way. But before you start carrying around hand sanitizer to wipe down every medicine ball in class and refuse to see your friends in case they sneeze on you, try a less intense approach. Just stock your medicine cabinet with these vitamins and minerals that can do the job of relieving even your cold and flu symptoms.
Coughing? Take Zinc.
When even your cat is giving you side-eye when you start to cough, you know it’s time to find a quick fix. And let’s be real, no one enjoys those cherry-flavored over-the-counter medicines. Instead, opt for an all-natural zinc complex. Because of it’s antioxidant properties, it works to prevent infection and repair tissue. You may even notice that zinc is an ingredient in those throat lozenges that you bought at your local pharmacy.
These foods are rich in zinc: Oysters, beef and lamb, spinach, cashews, chocolate, beans, mushrooms.
Feeling nauseous? Take vitamin B6.
Hunched down and hurled over a toilet is not a good look for anyone. Try Vitamin B6, a water-soluble nutrient that relieves even the baddest bouts of an upset tummy. This bad boy creates a surge of antibodies to ward off disease (a-buh bye, flu). It also breaks down protein and carbohydrates (the more protein and carbs you eat, the more vitamin B you’ll need) and keeps your blood sugar levels in check.
These foods are rich in vitamin B6: Avocado, banana, beans, meats, nuts, chicken and turkey, whole grains
Runny nose? Take vitamin C.
Mama had it right when she filled up your orange glass a dozen times at the slightest hint of a sneeze. Vitamin C is the flu-and-cold season’s cure-all, especially for an annoying running nose. (Who can do downward dog like that?!) Vitamin C is actually a natural antihistamine, which means it relieves allergies and constricted nasal passages allowing you to breathe easier. It also helps in restoring your immune system, which takes a beating any time you’re under the weather.
These foods are rich in vitamin C: Oranges, peppers, papaya, broccoli, kale, strawberries
Headache? Take riboflavin .
Seeking an all-natural solution to the head banging going on in your noggin? Riboflavin may be your best bet. Recent studies have shown that headache and migraine sufferers may also be suffering from too little riboflavin in their diet. In one study, patients found that this vitamin cut the number of headache days at least in half. Riboflavin also plays an important role in how your body gets other types of nutrients like carbohydrates, fats and proteins, so stocking up will certainly do your body good.
These foods are rich in riboflavin: Milk, asparagus, broccoli, turnip greens, spinach,eggs, yogurt cheese
Sore throat? Take vitamin A.
Vitamin A helps maintain healthy skin, teeth and body tissue, all while fighting a sore throat, too. How does it work its magic? It soothes and reconnects the mucus membranes that are often affected and irritated when you’re feeling symptoms of a sore throat. In addition, the presence of this vitamin in sufficient quantities can ward off infections and pathogens of all kinds, so certainly get your fill if you’re feeling under the weather.
These foods are rich in vitamin A: Cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach
Super tired? Take iron.
When you’re feeling like you’ve just been hit with a ton of bricks, a likely cause may be due to an iron deficiency, which affects nearly 30 percent of the world’s population! Iron is really important – not only does it up your energy levels, but it also help your body maintain it’s everyday functioning like staying at a healthy blood pressure level, keeping blood well oxidized and ensuring that your muscles are working properly.
These foods are rich in iron: Dark, leafy green vegetables, black beans, fish and poultry, pumpkin seeds, tofu
Jenn Sinrich is an editor in New York City, a self-proclaimed foodie always looking for the healthier version of all recipes, a passionate lover of all things cheese, a friendly New Yorker, Bostonian at heart and proud Red Sox fan. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.