As the temperature drops to the tune of chattering teeth, the cold weather can wreak havoc on our health. And when your body’s well-being depends on the way you treat it, fueling up on immune-boosting foods is a must. It’s the best way to prevent sniffles and coughs during the prime of holiday season. I mean, who wants to be that person at a fancy work party? No one. But, why buy a three-month supply of Emergen-C when there’s a better way to boost your immune system?

Chowing down on real, wholesome foods will fuel your body with vitamins and minerals straight from the source—not a processed powder or a magical pill. (That’s not to say green drink mixes and multi-vitamin supplements can’t lend an extra hand, though.) Foods that your boost immune system should complement—not replace—actual food. Your body needs the latter to perform basic functions that keep you in tip-top shape. Along with regular exercise and getting enough shut eye, your immune system will be able to handle whatever comes your way. And if you do catch a cold? Your body will kick it to the curb thanks to this list of immune-boosting foods.

Yogurt

Contrary to what you may think, “good” bacteria exists. Yogurt is full of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, two superstar probiotics that help intestinal health. It ensures that the good guys in your gut are continuously replenished. And when your intestinal bacteria is at the forefront of immune defense, yogurt can make a huge difference.  

Sweet Potatoes

As a rich source of vitamin A, sweet potatoes can help your immunity flourish. Specifically, vitamin A heightens the gut bacteria’s ability to properly react when something goes wrong. It’s teamwork at its finest.

Ginger

Aside from clearing up congestion, ginger can prevent nasty viruses from attaching to your respiratory tract cells. Try combining green and ginger teas for a warming, healthy beverage.

Garlic

Thanks to its antibacterial and antiviral properties, garlic is one of the best allies your body can ask for. This pungent bulb encourages white blood cell production, making sure your system is ready to ward off foreign bacteria.

Water

Staying hydrated fuels the cellular processes that keep your body moving and grooving. Hydration is also key for proper function of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell.

Green Tea

This fragrant tea boasts a medley of antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiviral abilities. This means that it can work with your immune system to fight the wrath of pesky germs. Green tea also contains catechin, a compound that shields cells from damage. See you never, bad guys.