Now that we’re in the winter months and our training programs are being carried out during varying weather conditions, it’s important to take advantage of any healthy methods possible to increase our immune systems and stay strong.
With that in mind we wanted to bring you the benefits from a good article we read recently written by our friends at NSWIS.
In the article, they listed their top 5 tips for keeping your immune system strong during varied training conditions:
1. Balanced, nutrient dense, healthy diet
Good nutrition and an adequate carbohydrate intake to support training demands is paramount to support the immune system. Eating a diet which has a wide range of colourful fruit and vegetables will provide the body with valuable micronutrients and antioxidants for your body. In addition to this, include onion, garlic and ginger for their natural antimicrobial ability.
2. Gut health
The gut is the gateway between the food you eat and what is eventually absorbed into the blood stream and body to make it function.
80 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive tract. A healthy varied diet as outlined above, is essential for optimal functioning of your gut to turn over, and support immune function.
Foods high in sugar, highly processed foods and high saturated fats all have a damaging effect on the environment of the gut, which can directly impair immune function.
Probiotics may be beneficial if experiencing loose or irregular bowel movements, as well as help reduce gastrointestinal symptoms of bloating or discomfort.
Having a multi-strand probiotic daily from either a capsule, natural yoghurt or fermented food, can help to increase good bacteria and improve the integrity of the gut by fermenting and breaking down the food you eat.
L-Glutamine. High level training can cause low levels of circulating glutamine, an amino acid produced by the body. L-Glutamine also helps to improve gut health and the lining of the gut so its absorbing nutrients as it should. Regular high level training means there is less time for the body to re synthesize more protective glutamine.
Including L-glutamine as a supplement or part of a protein shake may be important to help improve the gut lining to further enhance immune support.
Anti-oxidants, zinc, and vitamin C. These nutrients can help alleviate symptoms of cold and flu as part of a balanced diet, not just in isolation. ‘Super foods’ such as aloe vera water, acai and goji berries all have nutrients that stimulate the immune system as well as provide powerful anti-oxidants to protect against oxidative damage.
If you found this NSWIS article helpful and would like to read it in full, please click here.
(Image curtesy of the Huffington Post)