While beautiful times of year, fall and winter are also prime seasons for cold and flu. Many of us get sidelined at least once with illnesses, and it’s not uncommon to start popping over-the-counter medicines, vitamin c, and fizzy immune-system boosting drinks. Yet experts argue that because good nutrition is essential to a healthy immune system, a more effective way to treat–and ultimately help prevent–sickness is with nutrient-dense foods. Here are two simple guidelines for how to use food to boost your health and immunity:

Eat the rainbow

Colorful foods are packed with various and vital nutrients that are great immunity-boosters. They are also full of healthy fiber which not only helps fill you up and prevent overeating, but cleanses the gastrointestinal system and reduces harmful gut bacteria that can weaken the immune system.
Organically grown foods are best not only because they free of harsh chemicals, but they also contain more minerals. Added bonus: organic is also better for the environment!

Eat what’s in season

Mother Nature has us covered with the produce that grows naturally during each season. For example, winter vegetables like squash and onions contain higher levels of vitamins A and C, which we need to boost our immunity through the colder months. Likewise, eating seasonally throughout the year helps ensure your body continually gets necessary nutrients, making it more impervious to illness year-round. Eating seasonally also reduces the impact on our environment due to transport and added pesticides.

By eating seasonal, richly colored foods, we not only boost our health, but the planet’s, too!