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When your nose is stuffy, and you can't stop coughing, the best Rx may be... in your kitchen. "Certain foods are high in nutrients that boost your health," explains Kathy McManus, RD, director of the department of nutrition at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Here, five foods scientifically proven to help kick those cold and flu bugs.Whole Grains
They're loaded with zinc, which is vital for maintaining a healthy immune system. Try whole-grain spaghetti with tomato sauce or brown rice with veggies.Bananas
They contain vitamin B6, which helps your body fight infection. Eat your bananas sliced over whole-grain cereal and double your germ-busting power.Cayenne Pepper
The active ingredient in the spice, capsaicin, beats congestion by thinning the mucus in your nasal passages so you can breathe freely again. Sprinkle some in soup or on a bean burrito.Sweet Potatoes
They're one of the best sources of beta-carotene (a form of vitamin A), which your body needs to make enough white blood cells to fight off infection. Eat them mashed or baked.Garlic
Allicin, one of the active components in freshly crushed garlic, can zap viruses by blocking the enzymes that lead to infection. Use it in a Caesar salad, pesto sauce, or guacamole.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, February 2007.