Boost Your Immune System
As we head into the winter months, a time when the weather gets colder and wetter, the heating gets switched on and off and viruses spread around more than usual, there are a couple of basic things we can do to help build up our immune system.
Those of us who train hard should take extra care as this can sometimes put more stress on the body if it is already trying to fight off others stressors. Taking regular exercise is also an important factor in keeping your immune system in good working order.
We all know that certain foods contain a higher content of vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) than others but in order to take in the required amount would need us to eat piles and piles of the stuff!!!
So first things first, a good recommendation at this time of the year is to make sure you are taking a good daily multi vitamin and mineral which will start you off with a good amount of what we need.
To help the immune system we ideally want to take in good amounts of vitamins A, B1(thiamine) ,B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cyanocobalamin), C, E and folic acid plus minerals iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium.
Vitamins A, C and E are also great antioxidants which fight off free radicals. Free radicals fight against and lower the strength of our immune system and come from many sources such as pollution, radiation, fried and burnt food plus the environment around us.
Scitec Nutrition's Daily One Multivitamin and Mineral will set you up with a good amount of the above, two months supply from MuscleFactory is just £13.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin C, one of the most important factors in fighting off colds and helping to boost the immune system is just 40mg but studies have shown that taking 1,000mg daily proves more effective. You can get this in a tasty effervescent form from the supermarket and add to your water. If you struggle with indigestion/stomach acid then I would suggest purchasing the milder powder form called calcium ascorbate which can be found online or on Amazon.
In order to top up our vitamins and minerals we need to make sure that we are consuming a variety of vitamin/mineral rich foods. To make it easier, try to consume a range of vegetables/salads which are bright in colour plus some good dark green cruciferous vegetables like kale and tenderstem broccoli every day.
Eating good fats are important for a number of reasons... Heart health, vitamin absorption, brain health, joint health, skin and hair (plus more) so try to consume some sort of fatty fish - salmon, mackerel a or good cold pressed oil such as flaxseed 4-5 times a week or supplement with a daily Omega 3 capsule.
Vary other protein sources too as each one will provide a different mineral and amino acid profile, each beneficial in its own right.
Berries are extremely high in antioxidants and vitamins A, C, E, add a handful to a couple of meals each day.
If you are under the weather stay away from dairy as this can be mucous forming and can slow down the healing process. Echinacea is a well known immune system booster and great for when you have a cold.
Certain things such as alcohol, stress, processed foods, excess sugar, smoking (plus more) can rob us of the vital vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy so minimizing these is also an important factor.
So to conclude, here is a short list of what we can do to help our immiune system stay in tip top shape throughout winter:
+ Take a good daily multi vitamin and mineral. + Add in Vitamin C and other immune boosting nutrients. + Eat a varied range of colourful vegetables + Add in antioxidants from berries
+ Exercise regularly
+ Stay hydrated + Make sure you are taking in good essential fats. + Avoid things that will rob us of our essential vitamins and minerals.
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MuscleFactory Gymnasium William Street End Swinton South Yorkshire S64 8BP