College is a petri dish for disease. Combine this that with a college student's infamous unhealthy living habits, and you have a large number of sick people on your hands. In a recent brush with the flu, I decided to find ways to avoid getting sick during the semester. But, instead of searching for these methods through talking to a medical doctor, I decided to take a natural approach and find a nutritionist willing to inform us college kids about how to maintain a healthy immune system, and how to avoid getting sick during one of the most important stages of our lives. Kenneth Bell, a nutritionist working in Brighton, England, has ample experience with helping university students to get over those annoying colds and the flu that we experience throughout the year. I recently interviewed him about ways of defending against these ailments. (Don't worry, I've put in parentheses the Anglo-American translation for certain words.)
1) What advice would you give to students at college/university to help them defend against getting the flu/cold?
As university (college) students are usually living away from home for the first time in their lives, which means that they will not eat or sleep the same as they are used to and will be eating university food, I would recommend that they try to eat at least 2 pieces of fresh fruit daily, minimise high fructose corn sweetened food and drinks such as soft drinks (soda), power drinks, and chocolate bars (candy bars). I would also advise they take a good quality multi vitamin along with an Omega 3 supplement that will help off set the high cholesterol found in fast food and school food.
2) How important is exercise in maintaining a healthy immune system?
Exercise is very important in maintaining a healthy immune system. It helps to improve concentration and mental focus necessary to a successful university (college) career. It also improves digestion and absorption of nutrients from the foods we eat.
3) Do you think that the food schools provide for their students is detrimental to keeping students healthy?
Most university (college) food is now administrated and produced by outside companies that the university contracts to provide student meals. While not as nutritionally poor as other institutional food programs, such as one would find in prisons and hospitals, university food can be pretty wanting. With exceptions, a great deal of university food is made with inexpensive ingredients and is often over cooked, destroying many of the essential nutrients necessary for a healthy diet.
4) What are the top 3 natural supplements that students can buy to keep their immune system healthy?
Vitamin C, a vitamin B complex, and an Omega 3 capsule, which has been molecularly distilled to remove all dioxins. There is ample scientific evidence that these along with vitamin D, probably the most researched vitamin in the past ten years, will go a long way to improving and maintaining a healthy immune system.
5) During final exam time, our school offers parents the chance to buy a "care package" for their children in college. But the "care packages" are filled with chocolate, coffee drinks and chips. Should parents buy these for their kids?
The “care package” you showed me which is recommended to parents in order to help students during exam times is really very inappropriate. Any nutritionist or biochemist knows that a “care package” full of chocolate bars containing lots of saturated fats and sugar means that students will have high spikes in their blood sugar levels lasting perhaps a half hour followed by long dips leading to poor concentration, fatigue and irritability. And needless to say, the high content of fat will add to clogged arteries and weight gain.
I don't know about you guys, but I'm sure going to be taking a lot of this advice and eating those vegetables!