November Fitness Tips Published Oct. 24, 2014 By Michelle Walker 169th Force Support Squadron MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- Best foods to boost your immune system, with fall around the corner! Onion and Garlic: When combined, these flavorful healers contain numerous antiseptic and immunity boosting compounds. As an added plus, garlic helps to open clogged sinuses. Mushrooms: No herbal medicine cabinet should be without mushrooms. They increase the production of cytokines, which are cells that help fight off infection. They also contain polysaccharides, which are compounds that support the immune system. The most potent cold and flu-fighting mushrooms are shitake, maitake and reishi. Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits contain hefty doses of powerhouse vitamin C. Studies have found that this antioxidant can reduce cold symptoms by 23 percent. Besides citrus fruits, other foods that have high amounts of vitamin C include papaya, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, tomatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts and red bell peppers. Yogurt: Studies have shown that eating a cup of low-fat yogurt each day can reduce your susceptibility to colds by 25 percent. The beneficial bacteria is Lactobacillus reuteri which has been found to block the replication of viruses that invade the body when we get sick. Not all brands have that particular bacteria, so check labels. Hot Tea: Hot tea is soothing and a great home remedy, helping to thin mucus and ensure proper hydration. For added health benefit, sip green or black tea -- both are filled with flavonoids, which are potent antioxidants. Ginger: Ginger comes to the aid when we're sick in some powerful ways. Besides soothing a scratchy throat, it has substances that help suppress coughing as well as chemicals called sesquiterpenes that target rhinoviruses, which are the most common family of cold viruses. Ginger is also a natural pain and fever reducer and a mild sedative so you'll feel more comfortable and be able to rest easier. Add a couple of tablespoons of shredded gingerroot to your tea, or make ginger tea (it comes in tea bags, but you can also simmer fresh sliced ginger to make a potent brew). Honey: Honey has numerous medicinal properties and because it coats your throat it is a natural way to soothe sore throats. It also has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties to help fight infections from viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Skip the common clover honey that you'll find in the supermarket as it has the lowest antioxidant level. Look for buckwheat honey, which has the highest. (A note of caution: never give honey to children under one years of age because their immune systems are not developed enough to ward off infantile botulism, which is carried in honey spores.) Black Pepper: It's ironic that black pepper -- the spice best known for making you sneeze -- can ward off the sniffles. Black peppercorns are high in piperine, a compound known for its anti-fever and pain-relieving qualities. Spices: Make recipes more flavorful with garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage and oregano -- while spicing things up, you'll also get an added kick of immune-busters, too. Lastly, a friendly reminder to make certain we are wiping down the cardio equipment, machines, mats, and benches after each use to ensure we all stay healthy this fall. Here are some lower back exercises. Complete two sets of 5-10 reps for each.