As the cold and flu season is arriving more and more people and getting sick due to a combination of poor lifestyle factors. Fortunately boosting your immune system is something you can take control of and improve by following a few simple tips that will keep your immune system running on full charge throughout the year….
Mushrooms – These are often overlooked in the vegetable isle as people don’t know what to do with them. They are a beautiful vegetable that contain a host of immune boosting benefits from their “Cytokines” which are a hormone like protein that is seen to be an Elixir for the immune system. They also absorb a lot of Vitamin D while growing so they provide a good Vitamin D hit which is an essential factor the a strong and healthy immune system.
Beware how you cook them though; Steaming or lightly sautéing is always best as you keep the nutrients thanks to the low heat. I have started steaming a big batch of mushrooms for dinner a few times a week and they are delicious with just a drizzle of olive oil and some salt/pepper. Plus they keep their size when steamed…..
Pro-Biotics- You don’t need t be taking supplements to get a good dose of pro-biotics as they can be found in many everyday foods such as; Saurkraut, Yoghurt, and Kefir.There is a great post on pro-biotics over here at Free the Animal. Immunity stems from a healthy gut that is why pro-biotics are so helpful and they are something we should all include in our diets year round. Make sure you go for good quality products though, in terms of yoghurt Greek is always they best as it is lowest in sugar and the highest in muscle building protein. Kefir is another great choice if you can get hold of it….
Herbal Tea- Drinking a couple cups of both Chamomile and Green Tea has been shown to cleanse the gut thanks to their anti-bacterial phenols which are abundant in both tea’s. I like to drink green tea throughout the day and have a chamomile tea before bed thanks to its ability to calm the mind. Always go fro quality when buying herbal tea’s as some brands use poor quality and dried out herbs, Celestial seasonings carry good tea in the US and Teapigs have some awesome tea if you live in the UK.
Nuts – They are an amazing source of anti-oxidants and minerals but amazingly the Brazil Nut contains your RDA of Selenium in just 3 nuts. Selenium is incredibly theraputic and essential to have a healthy functioning immune system as it boosts the power of other anti-oxidants like Vitamin C and E. So basically it is the tool that goes around allowing your body to make the most of all the good food you eat. Other good sources are Mushrooms and Seafood especially Cod and Tuna. Nuts also contain high levels of Zinc which helps clean out the gut and fight off any viruses in your body.
Intense Exercise- Intermittent and brief exercise is something your body needs. You don’t really want to be exercising regularly for over 30-40 minutes. Ever wonder why people get sick after marathons or why joggers are always coughing, its becuase of the strain it puts on your immune system. Stick to brief and intense exercise a few times a week.
- 30 Minutes of Weights
- 20-40 Minute Jog
- 10-20 minutes of Sprints
- A Simple Bodyweight Circuit
All these simple workouts are all you need to issue enough of a stressor to boost your health rather than wear it down. Couple that with a lot of walking and your body will stay in top shape and health throughout the cold season.
Sunlight- Their is only one place to get a real dose of the all important Vitamin D which not only keeps immunity up but works to help absorb Calcium and keep bones healthy. If your lucky enough to live in a sunny climate year round get outside when you can and expose your arms, neck and shoulders for at least 20 minutes per day. If your in a more cloudy/cold climate its worth looking into supplementing vitamin D with 1000-2000iu per day which should keep your levels healthy. This is probably one of the most important factors to staying well in the coming months. Plus sunlight just makes you feel good…..
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