A virus consists of genetic material surrounded by a layer of protein. Viruses cannot reproduce on their own, so they use healthy host cells to reproduce their genetic code. Common illnesses caused by viruses include cold, flu, measles, smallpox, rabies, AIDS, and herpes.

Fever is one of the immune system's main responses to a viral infection. Viral reproduction slows down as body temperature rises, and at the same time, the body's white blood cells destroy those cells that have been altered by the virus. Some viruses, such as herpes, are "smart" enough to infect cells without changing the way they look to the immune system. HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, attacks the white blood cells, eliminating the body's ability to destroy the virus.

Concerned about swine flu, bird flu, or any other type of flu? Check out our blog post: Worried about Swine Flu? Look to Antiviral Foods

Beneficial Foods

Coconut Oil Contains lauric acid, a powerful anti-viral fatty acid.
Cranberries May fight herpes virus or prevent herpes infection.
Dandelion Greens The roots possess strong antiviral properties.
Garlic Has been used for centuries as a remedy for common illnesses such as cold and flu. Most effective when eaten raw and crushed.
Mango Mango juice has been shown to destroy viruses.

Beneficial Nutrients

Vitamin C Megadoses of vitamin C have been shown to reduce the length and severity of colds and other viruses.
Zinc Zinc tablets, dissolved in the mouth, have been shown to reduce the severity and duration of colds. The effects of zinc are inactivated if combined with citrate, tartrate, orotate, or mannitol/sorbitol.