One day in Gainesville it’s 30 degrees and the next it’s 70. This is not helping our immune systems… and it shows. It seems as if “something” is always going around, and we all know getting sick in college is anything but fun. It used to be easy to stay in bed, skip school and have our parents take care of everything for us. Lucky for you, we’ve created an easy guide to taking care of yourself at school, so you can beat that cold on your own.

The food we put in our bodies can either nourish us or bring us down. I get it -- on a normal day, it’s hard enough to remember to eat three meals, let alone have them be healthy. But allowing foods to nurse us back to health when we are sick is a must. Thanks to information from certified nutritionists and medical professionals, here are our top picks for tapping into the healing properties of foods and getting well fast.

Eat your vitamins

Katrina Lee

Vitamin C has become a healing staple for a reason. It has been proven to reduce the severity and duration of a cold. Yes, oranges are good sources of this essential vitamin, but it can also be found in countless other foods. Red peppers, broccoli and kiwi are all excellent sources of Vitamin C. Squeeze a little lemon juice in hot water for a soothing beverage loaded with Vitamin C.

Zinc is another amazing vitamin to incorporate, helping to boost immunity and shorten the length of a cold. Some plant-based options to up your zinc intake include nuts and seeds, legumes and whole grains.

Herbs & Spices

Katrina Lee

Herbs and spices contain wonderful healing properties. A ginger-cayenne pepper combination can increase circulation and boost immunity. Cinnamon and ginger have anti-inflammatory properties, and turmeric and garlic have those AND anti-viral ones. Not bad. Stop by the Union Street Farmers Market at Bo Diddley Plaza, pick up some fresh herbs and don’t be afraid to sprinkle a little spice on your meals when you aren’t feeling your best.


Katrina Lee

Antioxidants, found in foods like berries and dark chocolate, keep the immune system strong and fight disease. You read that right -- dark chocolate contains theobromine, an antioxidant found to effectively alleviate coughing. Now you don’t have to feel guilty about giving in to your chocolate cravings...just keep it dark. 

The Tea

Katrina Lee

Not only does the warmth from hot tea soothe a sore throat, teas are packed with antioxidants that boost immunity and reduce inflammation. Green tea, ginseng tea and ginger tea are our favorites. Putting honey in your tea is an amazing way to add sweetness while helping fight infection and relieve cold and cough symptoms.

Stay Hydrated

Katrina Lee

Hydration is key to getting rid of a cold fast. Drinking water will help reduce a fever, cleanse the organs and transport nutrients throughout the body. Always keep your water bottle filled when you aren't feeling your best. Think of it as an excuse to show off your Hydro Flask.

The Truth Behind Soup

Katrina Lee

All hot fluids are known to soothe a sore throat and alleviate congestion. Soup, however, has been found to be even more beneficial in doing so than hot water. Ingredients found in chicken soup, such as garlic, onions and ginger, contain powerful antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Soup helps you hydrate, packs in nutrients and is a great base for all your new herbs and spices. Looks like grandma may have been right after all.  

Another huge thank you to holistic wellness expert and nutritionist, Kimberly Snyder, for providing us with the foundation for our findings in her article, "How to Get Rid of a Cold Fast! 5 Natural Remedies & 3 Cold Prevention Tips."