Keeping a healthy immune system

By Noelle Westfall
January 28, 2010

Maintaining a healthy immune system is more important than ever while at school. There are many ways to keep oneself free from sniffles and sore throats and most don’t require a shot or pill. Proper nutrition everyday is key for keeping in tip-top shape as well as getting enough sleep every night.

“I think it’s really important that everyone gets a lot of sleep,” Mary Jo Rose, associate health nurse at Cabrini College, said. “Drinking a lot of fluids, taking a daily vitamin and exercising always help. It’s easy not to exercise this time of year because it’s cold out, but get out and make yourself take a 30-minute walk every day.”

Vitamin C is extremely important in boosting an immune system, so be sure to stock up on oranges, grapefruits, guava and kiwis.

“If you’re eating five to six fruits a day then you don’t need to take a vitamin C supplement,” Julie Detwiler, a registered nurse, said, “but if you’re only eating one per day then take 250 milligrams a day of vitamin C.”

To fight off cancer and heart disease, antioxidant-rich tomatoes, broccoli and garlic are musts for staying healthy. This doesn’t mean you need to eat a clove or garlic raw, but putting some fresh bits into pasta or a salad are enough to give your body an extra kick where it counts.

“Try to get the fruits and vegetables in your body by having a fruit at breakfast and a fruit and vegetable at lunch and dinner,” Rose said. “A big, healthy salad every day is helpful to eat before the rest of your meal.”

All of the berries, such as cranberries and blueberries, are very rich in antioxidants. Red wine and dark chocolate are also strong sources of antioxidants, so be sure to ask your sweetie for a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day.

Besides eating the right foods, there are lots of natural products to help ward off getting sick. Emergen-C is a powder that has 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C plus additional vitamins to aid the immune system. Green tea is a great source of antioxidants as well as a way to naturally unwind.

Another holistic way to keep germs at bay is to use a saline nasal spray daily. Additionally it is always important to keep hands clean with a pocket hand sanitizer and to not touch the eyes, mouth or nose unless hands are disinfected.

If you do get sick, make sure to stay home for at least 24 hours so the virus doesn’t spread. In that time it is very important to get lots of sleep, stock up on vitamins and stay hydrated. To drink the proper amount of water every day, divide your weight in half and add “ounces” after that. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should be drinking 70 ounces of water daily.

Following these tips to keep your body healthy will help to ensure a semester free of sneezes and sore throats. For more helpful information, stop by Cabrini’s Health Services, located in room 89 of Founder’s Hall.

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Noelle Westfall

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