"April showers bring May flowers," they say. Well, when April showers become April snowstorms, we have a problem, and students are getting sicker than ever.

This lack in immune-building vitamins and minerals, is partially a result of students preferring snack foods over fresh produce.

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Christin Urso

When I get hit with a cold that makes it a challenge to get out of bed, I turn to foods rich in essential vitamins, instead of running to the pharmacy. 

In these dark and weather-confusing times, we need to up our nutrient intake. Here are some awesome foods that will treat your ailments.

1. Bell Peppers

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Alex Tom

When it comes to Vitamin C, oranges get most of the credit, but bell peppers are another rich source of Vitamin C. 

Bell pepper actually contain over double the daily recommended intake of Vitamin C. According to SELF Nutrition Data, a medium bell pepper provides a Vitamin C dosage of 152 mg. Just one of these peppers can provide a whopping 253% of your daily recommended intake.

In other words, bell peppers can literally save lives. 

2. Goji Berry Tea

The goji berry is a Chinese fruit, used throughout Eastern medicine. With loads of Vitamins A, C, and E, the berry packs a punch with its iron content. They also contain a high amount of antioxidants, defending against free radicals from encouraging cancer growth

This 2011 scientific review on the Lycium barbarum, or goji berry, states that goji berries enhance the immune system by activating immune cells to help keep your body fighting off illnesses coming your way.

But it doesn't end there. According to this 2011 review, L. barbarum extract displays antibacterial properties against 17 types of bacteria, protecting against infection. And what better way to get your Phil (get it?) than to brew tea from them?

Here's how you make tea from these berries.

3. Garlic

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Kristine Mahan

Garlic isn't so great for your breath, but it's awesome for your nose. According to UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, garlic's components can actually aid in the flow of mucus in your sinuses.

In addition to UCLA's report, this University of Florida study concludes that those who consumes garlic are 60% less likely to fall ill with the flu or cold. Crazy, right? But wait, there's more.

From a 2016 India study, it was found that 13 compounds, (among them, allicin and ajoene from garlic) prevented infection via Influenza A virus. Simply put, these compounds protect from the H1N1 version of the flu.

4. Ginger

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In sushi boxes, I eat ginger by the pound. Well, it just so happens that ginger is amazing for your immune system.

As the above-mentioned India study concludes that allicin protects against flu infection, allicin is not only a component of crushed garlic, but of ginger, as well.

This additional 2010 study published in American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy tests the effects of gingerol, EGCG, curcumin, and quercetin on MUC5AC gene expression.

These compounds were concluded to regulate mucus secretion, meaning that ginger can prevent your "runny nose," or sinus congestion. What a magical food, indeed.

5. Apples

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Caroline Ingalls

You've always heard, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," but have you ever heard of this 2011 Apple Polyphenol study?

This experiment studies the effect of apple polyphenol extract on mice with the H1N1 Influenza virus. It was determined that the apple extract "improved the survival rates and prolonged living time of stressed mice infected with influenza virus." 

Basically, the apple extract allowed the infected mice to live longer, due to the extract's ability to increase oxygen radical absorbance capacity, the amount of immunocytes, and various other factors that improve their immune systems.

6. Onions

Kendra Valkema

With a tangy, but sweet flavor, onions have a place in every culture's cuisine. But they also have a place in our health with their flavanols and anthocyanin. High in fiber, vitamin C, and B vitamins, onions are among the healthiest foods.

In fact, this 2002 scientific review, published in The Journal of Phytotherapy Research, depicts onions as not only anti-cancer and tumor-suppressing, but also as anti-asthmatic and antibiotic.

In other words, onions regulate inflammation in bronchial tubes (in your lungs), while defending your system from fungi and bacteria. The review states that onion extract is only effective towards gram positive bacteria, while garlic is the prime fighter against gram negative bacteria.

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This 2006 study describes the antioxidant and antibacterial properties of quercetin products, a compound derived from onions, and this 2010 study explains how compounds, like quercetin, regulate mucus secretion, as mentioned above with gingerol.

7. Turmeric

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Shreya Sahni

Turmeric has and always will have a fantastic reputation in the world of food-based medicine. This is due to its remarkable anti-inflammatory properties.

In this 2016 India study, curcumin (the main component of turmeric) was among the 13 components found to inhibit the Influenza A virus from infecting hosts.

In this study, the UT Anderson Cancer Center found that curcumin actually functions as a TNF blocker, aka regulating inflammation in your body, like from that of a cold or flu.

legume, vegetable, corn
Sini Choi

But due to its fat-soluble properties and its relationship with piperine, turmeric's full absorption of anti-inflammatory properties can only be achieved via mixing the spice with a fat, such as coconut oil, and black pepper.

8. Cayenne Peppers

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Dea Uy

The famous cayenne pepper, seen throughout Scooby Doo fandom, is also known to have profound effects on the immune system. In fact, 100 grams of these red hots provide about 127% of the Vitamin C RDA.

These peppers contain high levels of capsaicin, the compound that provides spiciness. In addition to suppressing cancer cells, capsaicin also has serious anti-inflammatory effects, as shown in this 2002 review. 

This review backs up capsaicin's properties with this 1992 study demonstrating that capsaicin regulates lung tissue damage in rats, this 1993 study, exhibiting capsaicin's effects on a mouse ear edema, and this 1995 study, displaying capsaicin's ability to halt pro-inflammatory effects in microphages. 

In simple terms, these studies illustrate the anti-inflammatory properties of capsaicin, the spicy compound of cayenne peppers.

9. Green Tea

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Jocelyn Hsu

Similar to goji berries, green tea has been applied throughout eastern medicine. But did you know that contemporary medicine has justified its benefits as well?

The 13 flu-protective components in this 2016 India study (discussed above) contains compounds found in green tea leaves, theaflavin and catechin.

Again, a 2013 study describes that the consumption of green tea results in fewer cold/flu symptoms, as well as reducing chance of illness and improving γδ T cell function, thereby enhancing your immune system.

10. Cinnamon

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Yes, something as simple as cinnamon in that pumpkin spice whatever can rev up your immune system. Through a model based on mice with rhinitis, this 2014 study concludes that cinnamon bark has anti-allergic properties.

Cinnamon has also been revealed in this 2012 study to be quite anti-inflammatory via inhibition of tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Long story short, cinnamon's polyphenols actually regulate the inflammation in your body.

In addition, a 2013 study claims that cinnamon has antimicrobial properties towards 31 types of bacteria strains and various fungi.

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With all of its beneficial qualities, cinnamon, as well as the rest of these anti-inflammatory foods are quite literally life-savers. With goji berries, bell peppers, and more, your body will be free of disease these coming winters.

So, follow Hippocrates' advice, "Let food be thy medicine," and enjoy the Indian food, y'all.