It seems that in college, no matter what temperature it is outside, in a silent classroom you will always hear coughs and sniffles. It may be warming up outside, but the stress of midterms and finals coming up it can really take a toll on our bodies. Being the busy human that I try to be most days, being sick is just not something that is on my agenda. I have found a few secrets to boost your immune system during these trying times and also a few remedies for when sickness gets the best of you.
First and foremost, getting plenty of sleep will help out your body more than anything! This can be a hard one to do when you’re a busy college student studying at the library until midnight or going on late night pizza runs, but trust me – this will keep you so much healthier in the end. There are some things our body can only do when we are asleep. One of these things is creating disease fighting proteins called cytokines. So, take this as an excuse to close your laptop, pause your homework assignment, and get some Z’s.
The second thing you can do for your health is stay hydrated. Your body is 70 percent water, so don’t deprive yourself of one of the most basic things that you need. Also, staying hydrated keeps your body circulating properly to keep you healthy and keep the bad stuff out.
The next thing you can do for yourself is keep your gut happy. A happy gut equals a happy body. Eat a balanced diet full of all the macro and micro nutrients you need to keep your body healthy and able to perform all the natural processes it needs to. Also, make sure you are getting plenty of probiotics. If you get sick a lot like me, you’ve probably been prescribed antibiotic after antibiotic. The problem with antibiotics is not only do they kill of the bad bacteria in your system, but they also kill off the good bacteria. Our gut needs good bacteria to do its job properly. So, make sure you’re taking in some of the good from sources like kombucha, yogurt, and fermented foods often to keep your body running smoothly!
Along with eating a well balanced diet, try to cut out added sugars in as many places as you can. Too much sugar in your diet can suppress certain immune cells that are supposed to fight bad bacteria. This is something that can be also hard to do when you want to take a break and go get a treat with friends. Sugar is fine in moderation, but try to limit it as much as you can. Especially try and limit it when you are starting to feel sick to not suppress those immune cells that you need.
The next thing has become my absolute secret weapon when it comes to being sick — garlic! Garlic is an insane superfood that is so incredibly good for you. It is antibacterial and a natural immune booster. You can eat actual garlic or go to your local grocery store and hit up the vitamin aisle and get it in supplement form. If you decide to eat real garlic, try not to cook it too much because you can actually cook out the properties that make it extra special.
Green tea with honey can also do wonders for you — or just honey on its own. I know we all constantly see super fit instagrammers posting about green tea on their stories or feed, but is it really worth the hype? Yes! It contains Epigallocatechin Gallate which fights bacteria and also has awesome vitamins that stimulate the production of immune cells. Adding honey to your green tea adds sweetness and natural antioxidants. Honey is also antibacterial. If you wake up with a sore throat in the morning, eat a spoonful of honey for a natural way to soothe an irritated throat.
Last but not least, relax. So many of us tend to have crazy busy schedules full of classes, studying, work, tutoring sessions, and somehow trying to fit in a social life. Take time though to breathe and relax. Prolonged stress can increase your cortisol production which can harm your immune cells. So, take a few minutes to unwind so you aren’t out from sickness for a few days.
All in all , remember to listen to your body and do what’s best for you. You only get one body, so take care of it the best you can.