by Elissa Goodman: The dreaded cold and flu season is coming up fast!cold As a holistic nutritionist, and true warrior against sickness, I’ve researched the best cold-killing remedies that are natural, gentle on the body and work FAST! The truth is that the only way to go fast is to go naturally. You’ll recover way quicker using holistic methods than if you take toxic over-the-counter medications. So, to make sure you stave off a cold, or heal one in no time at all, here are my top eight holistic secrets!

1. Immunity juice

At first sign of a sniffle, I start drinking an “Immunity Juice.” I crafted this one for Erewhon Natural Foods Market in Los Angeles. It’s chock full of powerful, illness-fighting foods like parsley (combats infection), horseradish (great for clearing the sinuses) and garlic (major antiviral!). It’s guaranteed to get you back to tip-top shape faster than you can say, “Achoo!”

To make it at home, just juice the following:

  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 inch-thick round horseradish root
  • 1 orange
  • 5 inch knob of ginger
  • 2 inch knob of turmeric
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 stalks celery

2. Immunity soup

This recipe from Dr. Andrew Weil is a great alternative to comforting chicken soup! It’s a savory and nutritionally sophisticated medley of some of the top antiviral foods, including mushrooms and broccoli. Use the recipe below to slurp your sickness goodbye!


  • ¾ teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed
  • ½ tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrots, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 1 ¼ pieces astragalus root (about 15 inches total)
  • 5 cups mushroom stock
  • 1 tablespoons tamari or low sodium soy sauce
  • Salt
  • 1 cups broccoli florets,
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions


Heat olive oil over medium heat in large pot. Add onions, garlic, and ginger and sauté until soft and translucent.

Add shiitakes, carrots, astragalus root and mushroom stock. Bring to low boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.

Add tamari and adjust seasoning if needed.Add broccoli florets and cook 2 minutes. Remove astragalus root pieces. Garnish with scallions before serving.

3. Probiotics

Any time you get sick, you need to up your intake of good intestinal bacteria! Friendly flora helps to produce virus-fighting antibodies and aids in vitamin absorption. So, improving your intake of probiotics is a must. You can get your probiotics by supplement or by eating probiotic-rich foods such as miso, kimchi, sauerkraut or kefir. See my raw coconut kefir yogurtposted previously on MindBodyGreen!

4.Grapefruit seed extract

Grapefruit seed extract has been found to be an effective antimicrobial, and is a true miracle supplement. Whenever I feel sick, I put 40 drops in an empty capsule and take one capsule two times a day. Within hours, the difference is unbelievable!

5. Nix sugar

Sugar dramatically decreases your immune function, so if you’re starting to feel ill, don’t go for anything sweet.

6. Sleep more

When you’re under the weather, shoot for a minimum of eight hours of sleep. If it’s really bad, take the day off. I know work is calling you, but your body only heals while you rest. Give yourself permission to catch some zzz’s!

7. Reduce stress

Illness thrives in a stressed body. So to stave off sickness, make relaxing activities part of your weekly routine. Try getting a reflexology foot massage, making time for that yoga class, or taking a 30-minute walk!

8. Sunshine for vitamin D

Your body needs vitamin D to activate pathogen fighting T-cells. And the best way to get your D is to soak up the sun! Try some sunscreen-free exposure for 20 minutes between 8 am and 10 am or between 4 pm and 6 m, when the sun isn’t too harsh. And lose those sunglasses, because the best way to absorb vitamin D is through your eyes!