An impenetrable immune system is vital for making long-term exercise progress. Before you succumb to ills here’s what to eat to reinforce your defenses and stay in good health.
Exercise isn’t always the health kick it’s cracked up to be, especially if you’re shooting for personal bests in endurance exercise. As many as one in seven distance runners come down with regular upper respiratory tract infections, found a study in Research Digest. This happens because your body devotes resources to repair your worn out muscles rather send them to the disease fighting front lines. “Fortunately, you can shore up your defense by eating powerful immune boosting foods,” says sports nutritionists Gavin Allinson. Use this select group of sickness fighting eats to get stronger from inside and out.
ROCK SOLID DEFENCES
The success of fish and chips makes it pretty obvious that you’re hardwired to enjoy the odd sprinkle of salt but eating more than 5g a day can raise blood pressure and create water retention, making you look chunkier than jar of peanut butter. Fortunately, you can still satisfy your salt tooth and make yourself healthier by switching to Himalayan rock salt (available at any health food store). This salt is mined from the earth making it rich in the 84 minerals you need to keep your immune system strong. People who drank water containing with this salt mixed daily improved their respiratory conditions, organ functions and connective tissues, found a study conducted at the University of Graz, Austria. They also slept better, had more energy and could concentrate better.
If you’re a fan of a sarnie, taco or salad then chances are you’ve already ministered one of the longest standing nutritional marriages: avos and tomatoes. When the fat in the avocado combines with the tomato, or any other brightly colored vegetable, you absorb 15 times more of its’ beta-carotene, found research in the Journal of Nutrition. This antioxidant minimizes the free radical damage, limiting the damage to cell membranes, DNA and protein structures in your body. Make guacamole a regular on your dip menu.
BECOME A GREEN MACHINE
If you’re after a nutrient with form and function look no further because research in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found spirulina improves immunity and bumps up your exercise endurance by almost 10%. It might have a pinch-your-nose-and-drink flavor but adding it to a shake with sweet ingredients like egg whites and coconut milk will disguise it’s bitterness so you can bathe your innards in its defensive properties.
THEY WERE ALL YELLOW
A healthy curry might be all the culinary protection you need to fend of the sniffs. Research in at the American Chemical Society found turmeric acts like a biochemical disciplinarian that inserts into cell membranes, making the membranes more stable thereby increasing cells’ resistance to infection by disease-causing microbes. Doesn’t taste half bad either.
A CALF BAKED IDEA
The colostrum protein shakes do more than just build muscle, they can keep you strong inside too. A study at the New Zealand’s Institute of Food Nutrition and Human Health found taking colostrum protein increases the immunity in your respiratory tract, an area that’s often infected in athletes, by as much as 79%. The protein is made from the milk a cow create for the first two days after it’s given birth, don’t worry she makes enough for two. It’s rich in protein and growth factor that’ll help you add muscle while sparing extra ink on your doc’s prescription.
A TO Z OF COLD FIGHTING
Vitamin C might have been the buzz nutrient for fighting colds back in your dad’s day but there’s a stronger option you can use: zinc. Taking zinc supplements within 24 hours of feeling a cold coming on reduced the duration and severity of ailment, found a study in The Cochrane Library. You don’t have to supplement and can get your supplies the natural way by eating foods such as pumpkin seeds, beef, spinach, cashews and mushrooms.
BLEND YOURSELF STRONGER
Shore up your immunity against germs and bacteria with this powerful immune boosting shake you can drink anytime
2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds
3 pitted dates
50g ice cubes
100g plain full-fat yogurt
1 tsp of manuka honey
30g whey protein
1 whole egg
HOW IT WORKS
Bananas are rich in vitamin B6 – essential for making red and white blood cells.
Pumpkin seeds are packed with cold killing zinc.
Eggs are high in vitamin D, the sunshine nutrient that also a powerful cold fighting weapon, found research in Archives of Internal Medicine.
Flax seeds are high in the essential fatty acids vital for immune support.
Protein packed yogurt is also an excellent glutamine source, which jacks up the power of your immune system, found research in the American Journal of Physiology.
Honey gives you a sweet taste of victory over antibiotic causing bacteria, found research in the FASEB journal.
Whey not only builds your prized muscles but its amino acids enhance your entire immune system, found a study in Anticancer Research.
Vitamin C: the most unsubstantiated cold remedy
Source: Centre for Advancement of Health