• Written by Maggie Cain

Build Your Immunity This Winter

Updated: Jan 22


Back to school might mean back to all the germs, but this doesn’t mean you have to get sick. We're sharing a few simple and effective ways to give your immune system the boost it needs to fight this cold and flu season!


Vitamin C

Of course, eating healthy is one of the best things you can do for yourself (year-round) but vitamin C is the star today! Vitamin C is an antioxidant that plays a role in the body’s healing process and can help to fight illness or limit time spent sick with the common cold. Vitamin C is found in foods such as:

  • Bell peppers

  • Broccoli

  • Spinach

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Tomatoes

  • Oranges

  • Strawberries

  • Pineapple


Good news!

You will always be able to find vitamin C-packed fruits and vegetables on campus at locations such as the Osprey Cafe and Jamba Juice. Citrus and berries are packed with immune fighting nutrients and are more bioavailable to the body when consumed raw or barely cooked.



Sleep

Having a sleep schedule is another key factor in building your immunity. Sleep helps to reset your body and provide the strength to protect against disease. Without adequate sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a protein that targets infection and inflammation. It can be challenging to find time to get enough sleep while meeting the demands and requirements of school but do your best to aim for 7-8 hours each night. A good night’s sleep can do wonders!

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Stress
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You’ve heard it a million times that stress is not your friend, and we are here to tell you again! Stress has a negative effect on the immune system. It can allow inflammation and illness to invade, as well as other issues such as depression, anxiety, and even cardiovascular disease.


Here are some great ways to reduce stress while also combating potential sickness include:

  • Drinking hot tea instead of coffee- add lemon for a vitamin C boost!

  • Yoga- check UNF’s group fitness schedule here.

  • Take time to meditate and relax in whatever way best suits you! You can even meditate in the library, or in between classes by just taking a few moments to yourself and connect with your breathing. Don’t forget to check out UNF’s awesome nature trails and other resources offered on campus.


Now go crush those germs (and exams)!!


As always stay healthy, Ospreys!

References:

1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-c/art-20363932

2. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity

3. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-happens-when-your-immune-system-gets-stresse d-out/


Blog post was written by Maggie Cain and Su-Nui Escobar, MS, LDN.

Edited by Savannah Fahey.

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UNF Dining Services' Dietitian

Email Yemila: y.lowry@unf.edu

Bldg 8/1210-J

1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32224