Monday, October 21, 2013

Boost Your Immunity

A benefit of exercising is improved strength, endurance, health and wellness.  But did you know that exercising can make you susceptible to colds and other illnesses? You are most vulnerable during the height of cold and flu season or during times of high exercise volume and intensity.
The reason is when we exercise we tear down or weaken the body from activity.  The workload is a form of stress. Once the exercise session is completed, the body is in a weakened state and immediately begins to repair itself to a stronger state to handle future exercise.   It’s during this weakened state our bodies are prone to illness.
In addition to good hygiene, drinking plenty of fluid and getting plenty of sleep, its critical that we feed our bodies with quality foods to promote growth and build immunity. Donuts, sodas, cheese burgers and potato chips may taste good, but do nothing to enhance our immunity.
We were taught as children that eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but when exercising its wise to add the following foods to your diet to keep you healthy.
Probiotics, or the active cultures found in yogurt are healthy bacteria that keep the stomach and intestinal tract relatively free from disease-causing germs. Strive for two 6-ounce servings per day.
Oats and Barley
What I consider super grains; oats and barley are excellent forms of complex carbohydrates and contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber with antimicrobial and antioxidant qualities.
Besides keeping vampires at bay and making spaghetti sauce amazing, Garlic contains the active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria. According to British research, individuals that consumed garlic extract for 12 weeks were two-thirds less like to catch a cold than those given a placebo.
Shellfish such as oysters, crabs, lobster and clams are rich in Selenium which helps white blood cells produce proteins that help rid the body of flu viruses.  Salmon and Mackerel are rich in Omega-3 fats which reduce inflammation, increase airflow and protecting lungs from colds and respiratory infections.
Sweet Potatoes
Rich in Vitamin A, Sweet Potatoes can help maintain the connective tissues in your skin. Rich in beta-carotene sweet potatoes, carrots, quash and canned pumpkin are excellent foods your body can turn into Vitamin A.
Mushrooms have been used for medicinal means for centuries.  Research shows that mushrooms increase the production and activity of white blood cells, making them more successful in fighting infections.
Vitamin C
Foods rich in Vitamin C include citrus, berries, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes and kale. 90 mg a day for men and 75 mg a day for women will help boost immunity.
Antioxidants work by reducing damage to your cells from free radicals and the oxidation process.  Foods rich in antioxidants include Broccoli, carrots, nuts, red peppers, spinach, apples, raisins, all berries and beans.  If you can’t get enough antioxidants in your diet by eating fresh produce, some experts recommend taking a multivitamin that contains minerals.
Here is being FIT FOR LIFE!

Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer and exercise and endurance enthusiast.  He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events. 

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