The immune system is the first line of defense for the body fighting off the flu or common cold. During the winter months it becomes necessary to bolster the immune system, so that you never come down with an illness at all, which is much preferable to fighting a sinus infection. I’ve compiled a list of easy and simple remedies for a body to remain in top fighting condition during the winter so that it can ward off sickness.

Get Enough Sleep
While this may seem an obvious remedy, it’s important to reiterate the importance of a regular sleeping schedule. Sleep is how the body recharges, and if you are not getting enough, the stress will lower your immune system.

Go For Garlic
Garlic is one of those foods that naturally boosts the immune system, as well as clears out the sinuses. Added to many of your favorite dishes, garlic is an excellent taste enhancer.

Don’t Forget Vitamin C
Vitamin C is beneficial before and after infection, by helping white blood cells perform their function of responding quickly to invasions of the body, acting as a natural immune-booster. Citrus fruits like oranges, and clementines are excellent sources, as well as over-the-counter vitamin C dietary supplements.

Eat Yogurt
Some studies have observed yogurt as improving the immune system as a result of it’s ability to stimulate the production of interferon, a component that boosts the immune system.

Drink Green Tea
Green tea is full of antioxidants called polyphenols, and especially catechins, which some studies have shown have the ability to destroy the common cold virus. Avoid adding milk, which has proteins that bind to the catechins and causing the tea to lose it’s antioxidant properties. Instead add lemon or honey to taste. Honey also has been shown to boost the immune system.

Pile on the Hot Stuff
Cayenne pepper has the compound capsaicin, along with high beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A, which is essential for a healthy immune system by preventing pathogens from invading. Cayenne pepper flushes out toxins, stimulates digestion, clears congestion with just a dash or two added to your diet.

Of course, you can’t always prevent illness, but this list doubles as remedies to be used after sickness as well as a preventive solution. It stands to reason that if it can boost the immune system in a healthy body, it can do just as well for an infected body. Just don’t forget mom’s homemade chicken soup for the real cure!