Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

October 19, 2011 11:52 AM

Immune Boost

There is never time to get sick during the school year. When I first heard about the Mumps outbreak on campus I started thinking about how important it is to NOT get sick ever because there is absolutely no room in my schedule for it. Besides having to cancel plans with friends and catch up on a huge workload from school, I can’t exercise when I am sick. Once I stop working out, it is sooooo much harder to start up on a consistent schedule again. I am determined to not get sick – no mumps, no colds, no flus – nothing.

Here is my strategy to keep my immune system strong:

1. Sleep at least 8 hours every night. It is way harder than it should be to get a good night sleep, but if I do not procrastinate my homework and studying, it is defiantly possible. Sleep deprivation suppresses our immune system because our T-cells go down and inflammatory cytokines go up. This means that the more all-nighters you pull, the greater your chances are of getting a bacterial or viral infection. I am very proud to say that I have never pulled an all-nighter.

2. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. It is important to have a diet rich in antioxidants which are able to neutralize free radicals harmful to our body. I always think that the darker the leafy green, the healthier it is. Kale tastes so bitter and gross by itself, but it has the highest ANDI score (meaning it is the most nutrient dense). I make a berry smoothie every morning but add in a little bit of kale in it so that I can get those vitamins without actually tasting the kale. Other great fruits and vegetables with high ANDI scores include: spinach, arugula, broccoli, carrot, strawberry, tomato, blueberry, and orange. Also, fresh garlic supposedly has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Garlic is great for cooking – in salad dressing, marinades, sauces and so much more.

3. Exercise regularly. I try to work out five days a week, but even three days of 20 minute exercise is associated with a healthier immune system. This is because regular exercise increases the level of leukocytes, which an immune system cell that fights infection. Also, the endorphins boost your mood, well being, and quality of sleep – which ultimately lead to a healthier body.

4. Have fun with friends -and I don’t mean going out until 2am drinking. Hang out with friends that make you laugh! Laughing is so good for us that it decreases our levels of stress hormones and increases a white blood cell type that fights infection. Breaks from stress are always good.

Morgan Gooding | Permalink | Comment on this article | Comments (0)

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