5 Foods That Are Natural Antibiotics & Can Save You From Dealing With A Nasty Cold

Like many people, when I start to feel the ominous beginnings of a cold, I usually start doing everything I can to add the healthiest foods I can think of into my meals. Surprisingly enough, though, there are lots of other immune-boosting foods out there besides the standard citrus fruits and vitamin C. In fact, plenty of foods can act as natural antibiotics, and they're just what you need to keep your immune system running strong, no matter how many people cough on you on the subway.

The key here, actually, is to not do what I've been doing (i.e. toss back shots of Emergen-C whenever you feel sick and eat nothing but oranges until you feel better). Instead, according to Richard Purvis, CEO of the superfood skincare line Skin Moderne and author of the book Recalibrate: Six Secrets to Resetting Your Age, you should make a point to incorporate these foods into your diet regularly, regardless of how you feel. Boosting your diet with antibiotic foods on a regular basis, Purvis tells Elite Daily over email, is one of the best ways to ward off illness and stay healthy. "I would recommend eating these foods regularly as an immune system-protector," he says.

And while you're boosting your health with these antibiotic foods, make sure you're also looking for plant-based sources, and buying antibiotic-free meats, as well. While natural sources of antibiotics can keep your immune system running well, antibiotic additives could damage your gut health, according to The New York Times. “Buy animal products labeled ‘raised without antibiotics,’” Dr. Lance Price, director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University, told TIME.

For now, do your immune system a favor and pick up these five foods the next time you're at the grocery store.

Drizzle Manuka Honey On Everything

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Not everything that's good for you has to taste like it's good for you — case in point: Manuka honey, which is both delicious and a nutrient powerhouse. While the syrupy liquid does wonders for your insides, research has also shown that honey's incredible antibiotic properties can even heal surgical wounds faster than traditional methods.

Never Say No To Garlic

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Enjoy your garlic bread to the fullest, because apparently, it's perfect for keeping your immune system running at its strongest. The secret to garlic's power, according to Purvis, is a compound called allicin. "Allicin inhibits a wide range of bacteria, fungi, and viruses from spreading, as well as boosts the immune system," he tells Elite Daily.

In fact, a 2014 study showed that eating garlic can significantly cut down the length of your cold. It must be due the head-clearing (and occasionally room-clearing) power of the sharp bulb.

Spice Does Everything Nice For Your Immune System

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Don't neglect your spice cabinet when you're looking for an antibiotic kick. Research has shown that a number of warm spices, such as clove, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, and cumin, have strong antimicrobial properties to protect you from getting sick. Try adding Manuka honey and apple cider vinegar to a black spice tea, and your immune system will be sure to fire on all cylinders.

Oregano Oil Fights Germs Like No Other

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Although it sounds more like something you would drizzle over a pizza than something that could give your health a serious leg up, oregano oil is actually a germ-fighting superhero. One study found that oregano essential oil actively fought against 40 different strains of bacteria. Pretty impressive, right?

Apple Cider Vinegar Will Flush Everything Out Of Your System

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Purvis suggests adding apple cider vinegar to your daily diet. Besides being a powerful tool against period cramps, the fermented drink also boosts your immunity, he tells Elite Daily. I know it can be tempting to down the healthy stuff in great quantities, but Purvis cautions to be careful with the amount you're ingesting on a regular basis. "Apple cider vinegar should be limited to about two tablespoons a day," he says.

While a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, a spoonful of apple cider vinegar could prevent you from having to take medicine in the first place. And personally, I'd rather eat garlic bread or sip ACV than take a pill any day.