Chocolate, other natural remedies can help fight colds and flu

Posted: Updated:
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- If you're feeling under the weather this holiday season, the key to getting better more quickly could be as close as your kitchen, or your local health food store.

That's according to "The Rogue Nutritionist", Dr. Jonny Bowden. He's a nationally known author and expert on weight loss and health.

Bowden says we can shorten our bouts with colds and the flu with things like chocolate, elderberry syrup, homemade tea and other natural remedies.

"You can't really prevent colds and flu," he tells us. "What you can do is shorten the symptoms and that makes a big difference."

His top suggestion is to drink plenty of fluids, including water and tea. "I love using tea all the time," he says.

Here are some of his other tips on shortening your bouts with cold and the flu:

-Chicken Noodle Soup:  Chicken soup is a great go-to for fluid and sodium replenishment

-Yogurt: Yogurt is a double-duty food - and is a good source of protein, as well as probiotics.

-Homemade Tea: honey, lemon, cinnamon and boiling water to clear nasal passages

-Elderberry Syrup: boosts your immune system

-Garlic: boosts your immune system, raw is preferable

-Turmeric: found in curry, helps with aches and pains

-Chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine, a component that suppresses the nerve activity responsible for coughing and has been found to be three times more effective in stopping persistent coughs than codeine." Sugar, on the other hand, can weaken immunity, so it's best to avoid it when you have a cold.

-Epsom Salts and Eucalyptus Essential Oil Bath: soothes and clears chest and nasal passages

-Neti Pot: clears nasal passages

Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, (aka "The Rogue Nutritionist") is an expert on weight loss, nutrition and health. He is a board-certified nutritionist with a master's degree in psychology, and is the best-selling author of 14 books on health, healing, food and longevity.

He is a past member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Men's Health magazine, is the Nutrition Editor for Pilates Style, and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post as well as Clean Eating Magazine, Better Nutrition, Amazing Wellness, WellaBella and Total Health Magazine Online.

Dr. Jonny has contributed to articles for dozens of national publications including The New York Times, Forbes, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, Vanity Fair Online , Time, Oxygen, Marie Claire, Diabetes Focus, GQ , US Weekly, Cosmopolitan, Self , Fitness, Family Circle, Allure , Men's Heath, Prevention, In Style, Natural Health, and many other publications.

He is the author of:
    "The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth"
    "The 100 Healthiest Foods for Pregnancy" (with Allison Tannis)
    "The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth"
    "The Healthiest Meals on Earth" (with Jeannette Bessinger)
    "The 150 Most Effective Ways to Boost Your Energy"
    "The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer"
    "The Live Longer Cookbook" (with Jeannette Bessinger)
    "The Healthiest 15-Minute Recipes on Earth" (with Jeannette Bessinger)
    "The Healthiest Comfort Foods on Earth" (with Jeannette Bessinger)
    "The Healthiest Slow Cooker Recipes on Earth" (with Jeannette Bessinger)
    "Living Low Carb" (Revised and expanded edition) (100,000 in print and winner of the "Consumer Nutrition Book of the Year" award)
    "The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Cholesterol Won't Prevent Heart Disease and the Statin-Free Plan that Will" (with Stephen Sinatra, MD)
    "The Great Cholesterol Myth Cookbook" (with Stephen Sinatra, MD and Deidre Rawlings, PhD.