Body & Soul: Dynamic Duo
by Agnes Ramsay
Exercise + Nutrition = Active Immune Booster
Staying healthy throughout the winter months can be a challenge. Even if you take care to wash your hands, use an antibacterial sanitizer and get the flu shot, your immune system can always use an extra boost.
Keeping your body strong with proper nutrition and exercise helps to avoid illness at anytime of the year, but it is especially important during the fluctuation of weather patterns over the next few months when we’re most vulnerable to colds and flus.
EXERCISE WITH CAUTION
Exercise increases the number of white blood cells in your body, which are the body’s natural defence in fighting illness. I’m by no means suggesting strenuous exercises or that you become a marathon runner, but simply by taking a brisk 20- to 30-minute walk each day, can dramatically cut down your risk of catching a cold.
To mix it up (or if the weather isn’t conducive), alternate with going to the gym – but don’t overdo it. If you exercise to the point of exhaustion, without letting your body recover, then it becomes a negative stressor, which can compromise your health.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, is actually quite fitting. Proper nutrition helps to keep your immune system strong. If you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, you are fuelling your body with disease-fighting vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, C, B6, D, Folate Acid, Iron, Selenium and Zinc – all of which are widely considered to help lower the risk of a host of ailments. When you eat a variety of foods throughout the day, you have more energy to engage in physical activity, plus it keeps you in that immune boosting zone.
The down side of using supplements, is that you’re not getting the added benefit of fibre. The fibre content found in whole foods not only helps to keep you ‘regular’, but it also strengthens your immune system.
Insoluble fibres tend to have more-bulky traits (for staying regular), like those found in whole grains and flax, as well as vegetables like celery and tomatoes.
Soluble fibres are found in many fruits, nuts, beans and oats. They not only help to control your blood sugar and serum cholesterol, but they also help to reduce inflammation throughout your body, which helps to support your immune system.
|Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach specializing in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.|