As college students swamped with academics, extracurriculars, and hopefully some sort of a social life, there's no time to be sick. Especially with the cooling weather, it's important to remember to take care of yourself so you don't fall sick. Try these 7 foods to give your immune system a boost and get through flu season unscathed.

1. Garlic

garlic, vegetable, onion, condiment, pasture, elephant garlic, shallot
Clara Park

Besides adding an extra zing to all your dishes, garlic also contains allicin, which produces antioxidants when it breaks down. Antioxidants protect your immune system by preventing radical damage to cellular structure.

2. Yogurt

yogurt, milk, dairy product, cream, dairy
Clara Park

Yogurt with live cultures can serve as a natural alternative to probiotics and replenish beneficial strains of bacteria in your gut. A diverse gut microbiota is important for complete digestion of all the foods that go through your gastrointestinal tract. 

3. Tea

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Clara Park

There is a wide variety of benefits associated with drinking tea. In particular, tea contains catechins, which are very potent antioxidants to help bolster your immune system. 

4. Dark chocolate

chocolate, coffee
Clara Park

Antioxidants in dark chocolate, known as polyphenols, can provide additional protection to the immune system. Chocolate with higher cocoa percentages are better; they contain more antioxidants and less sugar.

5. Red bell peppers

Red Bell Peppers

FastLizard4 on Flickr

It is a little known fact that red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits do. So instead of downing Emergen-C packets after you get sick, load up on red bell peppers instead.

6. Nuts

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Kristine Mahan

Nuts have a lot of vitamin E, which functions as an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory effects while enhancing the immune system. 

7. Salmon

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Clara Park

Salmon is known to be a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, the type of fat you want more of. Not only do they lower risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions, they also reduce inflammatory response and aid the immune system. 

Bonus: Water

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Jonathan Hsu

Never forget your liquids. Water is especially important in fighting off sicknesses. Your nose, lungs, mouth, and other body parts need to stay hydrated to maintain the watery protective surface that catches germs.

As you can see, healthy lifestyle choices will naturally lower your chances of getting sick. In particular, make sure to maintain a balanced diet rich with colorful fruits and veggies to ensure comprehensive nutrition uptake. But, of course, feel free to treat yourself every so often while you're not sick.