Beating winter’s chill: Tips to boost immunity

By on February 4, 2009

Winter’s chill has descended upon the country, and a couple of weeks ago it brought along record-breaking below zero temperatures. For college students especially, this is the time for an increased chance of the flu or head cold. Mom is not there to stress the need of wearing a hat out into the cold or carry tissues your pocket.

It takes quite the preparation to go outside, and skin is cracked and dry from trips into the bitterly cold air. During a time where our bodies are even more susceptible to illness and weariness, we need any immune boosting remedies that are available.

The tried and true common knowledge facts still remain the best mantras to follow: plenty of sleep, water, moisturizers, and layers of clothing to brace the outside temperatures. There are also specific foods that should be consumed in the effort of boosting one’s immunity.

Containing benefits from heart health to brain health, these power foods are designed to help your body fend off every nasty curve nature throws your way.

1. Blueberries — While they might be out of season, these little berries pack quite the punch. Studies show that they are one of the fruits that contain the highest levels of antioxidants. They also help ward off the common college urinary tract infection by ridding E-coli in the region.

2. Flax — A food that in recent years has become more popular due to its health benefits, flax contains quite a few of them. One of its main benefits is weight control — sprinkled on top of cereal or yogurt, the food contains a fair amount of fiber that will keep hunger at bay. This fiber also acts as a natural laxative that balances the digestive tract. It has also been proven to lower the chances of pancreatic and breast cancer.

3. Broccoli — Mom knew what she was talking about when she insisted you eat your vegetables at the dinner table. Known as “anti-cancer” food, broccoli contains immunity boosting beta-carotene, also good for eye health, and vitamin C.

4. Salmon — Whether you’re a fish person or not, this is one of the important ones. Containing high levels of the heart protecting Omega-3 fatty acids, experts say salmon should be consumed at least twice a week. Preventing arthritis and the onset of depression are among other health benefits found in salmon.

5. Green Tea — Not only does green tea relax the body, it also provides for it. Drinking green tea regularly can lower your chances of skin damage that can lead to early signs of aging. This soothing drink has also been proven to prevent heart disease as well as certain cancers.

Implementing all or just a few of these items to your daily diet could carry you through winter into spring untouched by illness or winter blues. With classes, extra-curricular events and friends, the last thing college students need to be worrying about is a weakened immune system.

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About Mary-Catherine Dolan