Ancient Greek physicians prescribed garlic. Egyptian herbalists favored licorice. For Oprah, the cold-fighting concoction of choice is the juice of freshly crushed cranberries.
Cranberries are rich in health-boosting antioxidants, including vitamin C and flavonoids (which can act as anti-inflammatories). And fresh cranberry juice offers all its nutrient content with none of the high-fructose corn syrup and other additives found in many store-bought brands.
You can buy fresh cranberries at local markets from October through December. The berries freeze well, so you can thaw them for juicing throughout the year. Eight ounces of berries combined with a pound of red grapes (seeded or seedless; you can also substitute three to four apples for the grapes) make 16 ounces of all-natural, fortifying juice.
What else seems to work against sneezing, sniffling, aches, and pains? We checked in with four of the health experts Oprah trusts most.
"My magic cure is Amazing Grass smoothies. You make them from a powder you can buy at health food stores. It's a blend of different grasses (like wheatgrass) and nutrients that boost the immune system, and you mix it with milk, soy milk, water, whatever. I take it every day, especially during the school year. I have three sons, and when they come home from school they're like human germ balls!" — Laura Berman, MD
"I always feel better, and get better faster, if I can spend extra time outside. Whether it's because of the fresh air, the boost to my vitamin D levels , or just the psychological benefit, I can't say for sure. But give me a good night's sleep and a hiking trail, and I fear no rhinovirus." — David L. Katz, MD
"I get 10,000 IU of vitamin D either by lying in the sun for about 15 minutes or by pill. Then I make sure to get one extra hour of sleep." — Mehmet Oz, MD
"If I am feeling well enough and don't have a fever, I heat up my body as quickly as possible through exercise or a warm bath. Sometimes I sip hot herbal tea while in the bath. More often than not this seems to knock out the bug—the theory is that heat destroys or at least inhibits viruses, which is why when your body detects a virus it elevates your temperature. So you're jump-starting the process, but the key is to do it as soon as you feel any symptoms! Listen to your body so you're aware of symptoms as soon as they appear." — Bob Greene , personal trainer
And what about swine flu? Keep in mind this holiday swine flu season that drinking too much too fast can weaken your immune system. Researchers at Mississippi State and Louisiana State Universities believe it's because alcohol stops our bodies from producing certain cytokines, compounds that fight disease. Source: BMC Immunology , in press