Goodbye, warm weather and sunshine! The fall season is officially here! But don’t let the changing colors and the pumpkin-themed drinks mask the fact that along with everything we love about fall, comes another time of year that is all too often forgotten—cold and flu season.

Are you starting to sniffle? It’s common—the beginning of cold and flu season commonly starts in October. So why not share some unconventional ways to avoid the dreaded doctors’ office this season? Check out some of these unfamiliar super-foods that will help boost your immunity and keep you healthy this cold and flu season:

Fish
Oily fish—including salmon, tuna and mackerel—are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce harmful inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation prevents your immune system from working properly, and can contribute to colds and flu as well as more serious diseases.

Garlic
These potent cloves do more than just flavor your food. Garlic also contains allicin, a sulfuric compound that produces antioxidants when it decomposes. Even though it sounds hard to do, you receive the most antioxidants from garlic when you eat it raw.

Milk
You better drink that glass of milk! Getting your daily does of vitamin D may help keep the colds at bay. This key vitamin that is found can help your body defend heart disease, build strong bones and boost your immune system.

Skinless Turkey Breast
Protein isn’t only used to build muscle; we also need it to build antibodies to fight infection in our bodies. While meatless sources like beans and nuts are good, lean meats like turkey, chicken and pork (with the skin removed) are also a great source of protein.

Dark Chocolate
Yes, you read right—dark chocolate. Ounce for ounce, pure cocoa contains more of the disease-fighting antioxidants (known as polyphenols) than most berries. To reap the immunity boosting benefits without the unhealthy extras, stick with bite-sized portions (even though we’ll know it’ll be difficult).

Sunflower Seeds
They’re not just for summertime and baseball games. These crunchy snacks are among the best natural sources of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects cell walls from damage; a single one-ounce serving contains 30% of your recommended daily intake.

You can find all of these immune-boosting groceries, and boxes of tissues (just in case), at your local Sparkle Market!

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