Food = Medicine
Training really hard and often not only breaks down muscles it also impacts our immune system. If you push too hard too often your immune system can become supressed which makes your body susceptible to foreign bacteria and viruses. When the immune system is up and running it can easily fight off these foreigners although, when you immune system is run down it doesn’t have the same defence and you can become sick. If you want to avoid getting sick keep your immune system healthy and strong, however this is easier said than done.
It starts with your gut
A strong immune system starts with a healthy digestive system, 70 % of your immune system is housed in your digestive tract. You have many different enzymes and chemicals that run through your digestive tract that help fight off those foreign objects and infections. If your digestive system is damaged from inflammation, poor diet, stress, alcohol etc., your immune system has to work over time to repair the damage which means it becomes compromised and can’t fight off viruses and bacterial infections. These viruses and infections can lead cold and flu symptoms. You can improve your gut health to make it stronger and more resilient to these inavders through good nutrition, reducing stress and building good gut bacteria with pre and probiotics. Prebiotics are found in fruits (bananas, apples, berries, citrus), vegetables (asparagus, garlic, artichokes, leeks, onions), starchy carbs (quinoa, oats, beans, rye wheat, potatoes), fats (flax seeds, chia seeds) and supplements (2-4g/day). Probiotics are found in fermented products (pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, soy sauce), dairy (yogurt, cheese, kefir) and supplements (3-5 billion “live organisms”/day or 10 billion when your sick).
Immune boosting food
If you are getting hungry when your sick, you need to eat, your body is telling you to feed your immune system via good nutrition. However, if you’re not hungry don’t eat, your body is telling you for a reason not to eat, instead focus on keeping your fluids up, resting and giving your body a chance to recover. There are certain foods that can help speed up recovery, these include: honey, garlic, green tea, chicken soup and elderberry. You can also take supplements such as, vitamin C, zinc, ginseng, quercetin, stevia, selenium and beta-glucan. These supplements can help boost your immune system back up. Sometimes supplementation can be real handy.
Quick tips to help improve your immune system
Prevent getting sick:
- Avoid over or under exercising.
- Avoid over or under eating.
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Get enough sleep and manage stress.
- Eat nutrient dense foods.
- Feed your healthy bacteria with the pre and probiotics.
If your feeling sick:
- Drink lots of fluids, in particular water.
- Rest and recover, try to get adequate sleep at least eight hours.
- Eat if you’re hungry, feed the body nutrients.
- Don’t eat if you’re not hungry, let it starve the virus.
- Focus on immune boosting foods.
- Supplement with pre and probiotics.
- Use immune boosting supplements.