Eat Smart · General Health · Nutrition

7 Foods to Boost Your Immune System

With colder weather sweeping in, our bodies are becoming prone to colds and viruses. In order to avoid getting sick, below are several foods found in campus dining halls that can help boost your immune system.

  • Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits contain an immense amount of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that has been scientifically proven to reduce cold and flu symptoms by 23 percent. Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit are usually readily available in the fruit section of the dining halls.

  • Mushrooms

Mushrooms have been scientifically proven to boost the activity of white blood cells. Having more active white blood cells helps your body fight off infections, so add a handful to your stir-fry or salads during meals!

  • Teas

People who drink tea regularly have more virus-fighting interferon in their body, when compared to those who don’t drink tea at all. Interferon is a protein that your body releases to fight off pathogens in response to viruses and bacteria. L-theanine, the amino acid that triggers this reaction, is most abundant in black and green tea. So switch out your fizzy drink for a nice cup of warm tea, or swipe a couple of tea bags from the dining hall as you leave to make yourself some tea as you study in your dorm room.

  • Yogurt

Probiotics in yogurt are healthy bacteria that prevent disease-causing germs to survive your digestive system. Grab a yogurt cup to go for an afternoon snack as you leave the dining hall in the morning.

  • Oats & Barley

Oats and barley contains a type of fiber that boosts your immune system against the flu, as well as boost the activity of antioxidants in your body.

• Beef

Beef is a prime source of zinc. Zinc is very important for the development of white blood cells in your body – a major component of your immune system that fight against disease-causing bacteria and viruses.

  • Sweet Potatoes

A major part of your immune system is skin, which is your body’s first layer of defense against pathogens. In order to keep your skin strong and healthy, sweet potatoes contain Vitamin A, which plays a major role in the production of connective tissue and is a key component of skin.

  • Fish

Salmon, which the dining halls have occasionally, is rich in omega-3 fats that increase airflow and protection of the lungs, preventing colds and respiratory infections.

  • Honey

Honey coats your throat in a natural way that soothes throat irritation. It also contains antioxidants that help your immune system fight against infections. Putting a couple drops into your tea will help boosts its benefits.

With midterms still in progress and final exams coming up, adding a few of the foods mentioned above to your diet can definitely help prevent you from getting sick.

By Tammy Hong