5 ways to boost your immunity during the VCE

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It is important to maintain high immunity throughout the VCE because by being prone to illnesses such as colds, viruses and flu as well as many other more severe health problems. What are some good ways in which you can boost your immune system during the VCE? Why is it important to increase your immune system during VCE? In this article will be focusing on helping you improve your immunity, and as a consequence improve your experience of the VCE.

Why should you increase your immunity during VCE?

During VCE is important that you are working maximum capacity. VCE can be seen as a race, not a sprint but a marathon, and is not a simple marathon but a one-year long marathon! This can be a tiring and exhausting event – the worst that you can do for yourself as a VCE student is to be sick while racing. It will not be hard for other people to beat you if you are more prone to colds and flu or other viruses and illnesses. So in order to give yourself the best opportunity to succeed, it is advisable to ensure that your immunity remains high throughout the year.

Is it possible to increase your immune system quickly?

To affect your immune system – you will need to keep regular and consistently looking after your body. There is no quick fix to improving your immune system – if you want long-term effects throughout the whole VCE year it is best that you prepare in year 11. As with any worthwhile goal excellent results will not simply happen overnight – so be prepared to put in the work, keep consistent and disciplined. If you do this, your immune system will increase itself.

It is still possible to improve your immune system if you realise that you are getting ill often. By eliminating certain foods, taking supplements and getting enough rest – your immune system should still be able to cope more efficiently.

Top 5 ways to boost your immune system during the VCE

(1) Eat more colourful foods;

By colourful foods we are not referring to M&Ms and jelly beans. Rather we are referring to fruits and vegetables – try to mix the variety so that you are eating each colour regularly. You may recall the acronym ROYGBIV (Red – Orange – Yellow – Green – Blue – Indigo – Violet)… Well, rather than using this for your chemistry or physics knowledge – apply for your VCE diet!

Red foods; tomatoes, capsicum, strawberries, cherries, watermelon, apples, beetroot, red potatoes, cranberries, rhubarb, red cabbage, raspberries, blood oranges, pink/red grapefruit, red grapes, radishes, red onions.

Orange/Yellow foods; sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, mandarins, mango, oranges, papaya, peaches, nectarines, rockmelon, lemons, pineapple, corn, yellow peppers. Some Orange/yellow foods can include lentils, beans as well as nuts.

Green foods ; this type of foods have become popular throughout the years – however be sure not to neglect other food colours! Balance is the key!

Granny Smith apples, green grapes, avocado, limes, celery, cucumber, green beans, broad beans, green pears, kiwi, asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, artichokes, honeydew melon, cabbage, kale, peas, lettuce, wheatgrass, spinach, zucchini, green peppers, snow peas.

Blue, Indigo and Violet foods; there’s not too many of these around, but prunes, plums and blueberries are great foods!

(2) Eat immunity “super-foods”
There are many foods that are excellent in giving your immune system a boost! Don’t start believing that your immune system will improve if you eat a diet full of fried, sugary and processed foods – because it is not likely that they will improve your immunity in VCE.

Some immunity “super-foods” that should help during the VCE include;

Probiotics: These are great for digestive healthy including keeping the colon happy!
Some examples include kefir, Yakult, yogurts.

You can get probiotics in capsules too however after studying 2 years of Pharmacology during Biomedical Science, I have personally formed mistrust and scepticism towards pharmaceutical companies. This of course is a personal view and I do not expect anyone to follow this point of view.

Omega-3 foods: The best source of getting Omega-3 is to eat fish. Fatty fish have the highest Omega-3 content available. The fish with highest Omega-3 include mackerel, trout (lake), herring, tuna, salmon and sardines.

However what if you are vegetarian, don’t like fish or are concerned about mercury poisoning?
That’s fine! There are vegetarian sources of Omega-3. Unfortunately, your body may absorb Omega-3 from these sources more poorly as opposed to eating fish. These sources include but are not limited to algae, flaxseed oil, wheat germ, leafy greens, walnuts.

It is important to ensure that you have the correct levels of Omega-3 in your body. A lack of Omega-3 can cause low immunity as well as depression.

Vitamin B foods: Vitamin B helps to increase immunity as well as mood. Many people have low levels of Vitamin B and don’t even know about it! Vitamin B12 is particularly important to regulate because a lack in this vitamin can cause severe anaemia and depression. Vitamin B12 is found exclusively in meat – particularly red meat. So if you happen to be vegetarian, please ensure that you have enough of this important vitamin!

(3) Avoid coffee, sugar, processed and high GI foods!

Although coffee is good to give you some mental stimulation – it does dehydrate your body as well. Be sure to limit your coffee to about 1 cup a day.

Remember drinks such as Coke, Pepsi, V, Mother, Red Bull all have high caffeine levels!
So don’t cheat!

Keep caffeine to a minimum – that way when November exams approach you don’t have to drink three coffees a day to focus. Besides, there are more natural ways to increase focus and energy that do not require caffeine. Please check out other VCE articles about health and wellbeing.

High levels of sugar and processed foods are tempting to eat during the VCE, but these foods having shocking effects on our energy levels, mood and concentration. Try to eat natural sugars found in fruits and honey. Avoid foods with high sugar – these cause “sugar-highs”, in other words when your blood glucose levels spike to high levels and then fall down quickly as your body responds to the imbalance. As a consequence your energy levels drop significantly – which is not helpful for your VCE.

Processed foods use cheap flour, sugar, corn-syrup and artificial flavourings. Processed foods are not natural – you cannot grow Pringles or Doritos in your veggie patch. So a general rule of thumb is if it cannot be derived from nature, don’t eat it.

High GI foods can cause the same blood-glucose spike as sugar. These foods cannot sustain normal, stable blood-glucose levels for a long time. Therefore aim to increase energy through eating low GI foods.

(4) Sleep and rest enough during VCE!

Be sure to relax and sleep enough! Stress is one of the main causes of low immunity. Stress levels can increase when you are tired, sleep deprived and unhappy. Make sure that you have enough study breaks – and fill these breaks with what makes you happy! Really enjoy and value your free time so that you have quality time to yourself!

Sleep for about 7-8 hours a night and again keep it consistent! Don’t sleep 4 hours on Thursday night, 12 hours on Friday night, 9 hours on Saturday night. Rather keep it consistent – even on weekends. Your body will become accustomed to the number of hours you are sleeping and will have a proper REM cycle. This is important for improving energy levels and keeping refreshed.

(5) Make sure that you exercise and meditate

Be sure to exercise at least 30 mins a day. It is beneficial if this exercise is high-cardio because at the end of the session your body will naturally secrete endorphins. Endorphins are great in improving your mood promoting happiness and positivity.

Meditation is beneficial in order to improve your focus, stress levels and to clear your mind. A 15-20 minute session of meditation can really help you cope with the demands of VCE. Click here for more information about medition.

There are many other effective ways to improve immunity. Academy Plus will be posting more articles about health during the VCE. If you enjoy our article please Like us on Facebook (on side page) for regular updates and tips about VCE!

Academy Plus is holding a Student Success Seminar, this is a life-changing even for students that want to succeed in their VCE studies and cope with future challenges and obstacles of their lives. We hope to see you at this great event!

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