Give Your Immune System a Fighting Chance
By Patricia Chuey, Senior Nutrition Consultant, SportMedBC
Now on nutrition step #10, heading to Sun Run victory. Getting knocked out by a cold or flu would be a real setback. Strenuous bouts of prolonged exercise stress the body physically and mentally. To recharge and fight off getting sick, load up on foods rich in antioxidant nutrients – vitamins and minerals that help prevent disease.
Antioxidants are ideally obtained from a wholesome diet based largely on vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes, whole grains, lean meats, dairy foods and healthy oils rather than supplements. Snack on purple grapes, cantaloupe chunks, kiwi fruit, mango, oranges, strawberries and other deeply-coloured choices
When Rocky said “cold night, it’s a good night to catch pneumonia,” he was talking about people who weren’t prepared to put up a good fight. In addition to eating well every day, keep your immunity strong by:
- Frequently washing your hands – This remains the single best way to prevent spreading germs. If a sink is not around, pack 60% or higher alcohol-based sanitizer and avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes.
- Getting plenty of rest – Sleep deprivation increases susceptibility to colds and other illnesses.
- Avoiding germs at the gym – With all the people, sweat, and warmth, gyms can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Wash your hands before and after workouts and wipe down all machines before and after use.
- Staying hydrated – Good hydration will help protect your first-line defense against infection, namely your snot and spit since saliva contains several substances with antimicrobial properties.
- Avoiding overly processed and sugary foods – These non-nutritive foods tax the body and displace appetite for better quality fuel.
- Staying positive and trying to stress less – Long-term stress produces hormones that lower immunity.
If you’re feeling like you need a nutrition intervention, reach out. Let me know. You can also always hire a registered dietitian who can assess your unique nutrition needs. Check out the Directory of Practitioners at SportMedBC.com to find an expert.