Zinc, vitamin C, and chicken soup have been hailed as magic cures for the common cold. While all three may shorten the duration of a cold, they won’t prevent illness in the first place. That said, in addition to following good hygiene practices, controlling stress, getting adequate sleep, and exercising regularly (but not too intensely), a proper diet can help you fight back against cold and flu season. That means eating quality, minimally processed foods with an emphasis on plant-based choices. To provide the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients needed to keep your immune system strong, load up on fruits and vegetables, plus whole grains, low-fat dairy, beans, lentils, seeds and nuts.