Associate Features Editor
Sneezing, sniffling, fever, chills. With the changing of the seasons, many people are subject to Mother Nature’s cruel joke. Even worse, these symptoms seem to hit just when you are in the midst of a brutal week of projects, presentations, papers, and exams. The last thing you can afford is a day or two huddled up on the couch with a bowl of Campbell’s.
To ward off these unwelcome signs of a cold, it is crucial to boost your immune system to the best of your ability. Many will take their daily vitamins, hydrate, and get plenty of rest. Others will chug their body weight in orange juice to try to feel better, getting in nearly 200 percent of their daily value of vitamin C.
Senior Tyriq Clark stated, “Honestly, the best way to keep yourself from catching a cold is to make your body immune. I shower twice a day so my body can fight germs twice as much. I also drink loads of water instead of sugars to help. And the most important is that I pray for good health.”
Senior Liz Shaw, on the other hand, keeps germs away differently. She claims, “I always have hand sanitizer on me. That’s my number one thing.”
Although everyone has their own tricks to staying healthy, surgeon and television host Dr. Oz lists five foods which can assist in keeping your immune system in the best shape possible, some of which may shock you.
The first is fresh garlic. Although this delicious spice has gotten a bad rap for causing lingering stinky breath, it works wonders for boosting your immune system. It contains allicin, which is an antibacterial containing sulfur, which fights infection by getting rid of toxins and germs. Garlic also increases your activity of white blood cells and T-helper cells. Dr. Oz also suggests egg yolks, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and onions, which also contain the sulfur present in garlic.
Another trick is to add papaya-carrot juice to your diet. It is an excellent source of betacarotene, a form of vitamin A, which is important for the normal function of many immune cells.
Other sources of this vitamin include butternut squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, collard greens, kale, spinach, and tomatoes . Papaya-carrot juice also maintains the integrity of mucosal cells in the eyes and the respiratory system, as well as the gastrointestinal tract, which provides a natural barrier against infections.
The third super food is miso soup, which comes from Japan. It is made by cooking vegetables in dashi, a stock made from dried kelp and sardines, and adding tofu and softened miso, a fermented soybean paste. It increases antibodies in the bloodstream and has antibacterial properties.
If you were paying attention, you have noticed the mention of “sardines” in the ingredients for making miso soup. Who knew that little fish in a can could keep a cold away? However, they are rich in vitamin D.
According to the Linus Pauling Institute, “Vitamin D is involved in gene expression of several types of immune cells, including monocytes, macrophages and T-cells. It helps protect against infections by stimulating cytokine production and regulating an antimicrobial protein. With adequate sun exposure, your body can make its own vitamin D”. Other foods such as salmon, tuna, and fortified milk and cereals will provide you with vitamin D as well.
The last trick is to add elderberry juice to your grocery store list. According to Dr. Oz, “Elderberry juice has antiviral properties that block the flu virus.” They contain anthocyanins, which are bioflavonoids that supposedly boost your immune function by increasing cytokine production. Cytokines are proteins that help regulate immune response.
Elderberries are also rich in quercetin, which stops replication of viruses and bacteria. Other ways to get quercetin are by eating apples, onions, blueberries and other berries.
The addition of these foods to your diet, especially during the changing of seasons, will help your body fight off unwanted colds. Keeping this in mind while practicing a healthy lifestyle including a balanced diet, drinking lots of water, exercising, and taking a daily vitamin will allow you to feel your best every day, all year round.