Don't want to get sick? Grab some red bell peppers or pumpkin seeds.

Colder temperatures, shorter days and the hustle and bustle of winter festivities can also mean bouts of thecold or flu. Here are some foods that will keep you and your family healthy – and the sniffles at bay.

Whether we’re talking button, crimini or shiitake, mushrooms are amazing immune boosters. Mushrooms are rich in a type of polysaccharide called beta glucan, which has the ability to “activate” the immune system and help prevent infections. It regulates white blood cells and keeps them in a highly prepared state so they're ready to attack any invaders. Mushrooms are also rich in vitamins, polyphenols, sterols and zinc, which all keep our immune systems healthy and strong.

Move over, oranges: Red bell peppers contain way more vitamin C (roughly three times more). Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that not only helps get rid of a cold or flu, but is essential to preventing it in the first place. Vitamin C increases the production of antibodies and white blood cells, which help fight against infection. Slice them into wedges to use as a dipper for hummus or salsa, or chop them into a salad for additional immune-boosting goodness.

Miso is a fermented soy product rich in probiotic cultures, which are essential for immune health. Approximately 80 percent of our immune system resides in the gut, so in order to keep our immune system strong we need to keep our intestinal system healthy with probiotics. Probiotics are live microorganisms (good bacteria) that help fight off all the bad bacteria. They also help fight illness by increasing the number of virus-fighting cells.

These delicious seeds are rich in immune-boosting vitamin E, zinc and essential fatty acids, including the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant omega-3. Vitamin E is required for the production of immunoglobulins. These act as our body's own personal bodyguards as they destroy all those pathogens that try to do us harm. Zinc helps increase the production of infection-fighting white blood cells and T cells.

Garlic is nature’s antibiotic. It’s antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties help to not only fight infection, but to ward off sickness in the first place. Garlic contains sulfur-based organic compounds, which give garlic its funky order and help boost the immune system. Mince it raw and blend it with some chickpeas, olive oil and lemon to make a hummus, add it to sauces and side dishes. It’s a powerful bulb that's sure to keep illness at bay.

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