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Immunity Boosters

Seven things that may help you boost your immune system and stay out of the Student Health Center

By VANNIA ZELAYA
On February 8, 2013

Being sick can be a hassle. It's distracting from schoolwork, it can be passed on to others and may leave you feeling downright miserable. We at Wolf Magazine have provided some tips worth trying that can help you overcome that and may boost your immunity, whether it's to prevent illness or to speed up recovery. However, when you're feeling under the weather, the best thing to do is to see a licensed medical professional. We aren't guaranteeing any cures, so keep in mind that results may vary.
Exercise
Getting at least a moderate level of activity on a regular basis might decrease the likelihood of getting sick. Exercise helps flush out bacteria and cells that may cause cancer. It also makes white blood cells and antibodies go through the body faster, helping detect and fight illnesses sooner. The increased temperature of your body may also prevent the growth of bacteria and may slow the release of stress hormones.
Sleep
Sleeping less than the recommended seven to nine hours may make you more prone to colds, the flu and a variety of mental and physical health problems. Among other consequences, sleep deprivation may lead to a decrease in T-cells, a type of white blood cell important to immunity defense. Even if you get vaccines, not sleeping enough may reduce the protection they can provide.
Antioxidants
Antioxidants can help protect cells against free radicals - molecules produced from everyday activities like eating and breathing ­- that attack healthy cells. Examples of antioxidants are Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and carotenoids. Carotenoids are yellow to red pigments found in plants. Opt for red, orange and deep yellow vegetables, like tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, sweet potatoes and squash to increase carotenoid intake.
Tea
Another antioxidant, tea can help protect your cells from free radicals, but it also has several other benefits. Whether jasmine, oolong, black or green, a cup of tea is healthy and can be soothing to your nerves. This drink of Asian origin is beneficial to your heart and may even help protect your body against cancer and your memory against Alzheimer's disease.
Wash hands
This may be simple, but it's a way to fight diseases. Washing your hands can help reduce the risk of catching a cold, the flu and even food poisoning, which can be caused if you cook with dirty hands. Keeping your hands clean can even help prevent the spread of diseases like salmonella and Hepatitis A. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend you wash your hands thoroughly with water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
Sunlight
The immune system has receptors for Vitamin D, meaning it requires this vitamin to function well. A lack of Vitamin D could lead to infections and autoimmune disorders such as Type 1 diabetes. The sun provides us with this vitamin, so try spending five to 10 minutes outside, maybe in the Peace Quad, three times a week.
Relieving stress
When you don't release stress, you risk keeping your body in a state called distress, where stress accumulates in your body and may have negative effects on your health. This accumulation may not only affect your immune system but may lead to more serious complications such as high blood pressure. Try yoga, meditation or listening to your favorite song while taking a walk in Audubon Park.


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