How can you improve your immune system?
We hope you enjoyed Part 1of Building Your Immunity For Winter.
Your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms. The idea of building immunity is enticing, but the ability to do so has proved elusive for several reasons. The immune system is a system, not a single entity.
Below we have included some general healthy-living strategies that are a good way to start giving your immune system the upper hand.
Building immunity through diet
When you think of colds or flu, I bet Vitamin C comes to mind. But as much as an optimal intake of vitamin C is important for immune function, so is Zinc.
Few people have a really low intake of vitamin C, but many people have a low intake of zinc, particularly women and children. Zinc is found predominantly in lean red meat and seafood; however, wholegrain bread, nuts and fortified breakfast cereals have small amounts too.
Zinc is involved in the development and functioning of the body’s infection-fighting white blood cells. Adults need 8 to 12 milligrams per day to help immunity. Once your zinc levels are taken care of you can add high concentrations of fruit and vegetable, which are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants that help prevent the body’s cells fight damage and infection.
Building immunity through exercise
There are several factors which influence or affect the daily functioning of the immune system such as age, gender, eating habits (as described above), medical status, training and fitness level. Research has shown that moderated forms of exercise are more beneficial to immunity than an inactive or overactive individual. An inactive individual who starts being active showed a stronger immune system and became less susceptible to infections. Intensive endurance of training that lasts an hour or more stimulates the immune system sharply in the beginning, but a few hours after exercise, results in a weakened immune system.
This means that the immune system in the hours after hard exercise has a weakened ability to fight against bacteria and viruses and the susceptibility to infection is temporarily increased. Putting it into context, approximately 1 hour of cardio or gym exercise 3 to 4 times a week, is a good amount.
Building immunity through self-care
Our skin is the largest organ of absorption and elimination. Many people exfoliate the skin on their faces regularly, but the truth is that your whole body could do with thorough and regular exfoliation. Skin that is clogged with toxins and dead cells cannot function properly because the toxins are not being eliminated. Since it is estimated that the skin eliminates over one pound of waste per day, skin brushing would be an excellent routine to add to your day. Dry skin brushing daily can provide numerous benefits, such as:
Increasing the circulation to the skin, encouraging your body to discharge metabolic waste.
Stimulate the lymphatic system, (the housing of the immune system) helps to eliminate toxins from the body.
Helps your skin to breathe by removing dead skin cells and opening clogged pores.
(see our: Dry Skin Brushing, blog for further details)
In summary, a healthy diet rich in vitamin C, D, Zinc and antioxidants, is a good starting point in building immunity, before and during the winter. Probiotics added to your diet daily are beneficial, as these good bacteria are not found in food. Finally, every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as:
· Eat a diet containing fruits, nuts and vegetables.
· Exercise regularly.
· Maintain a healthy weight.
· If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
· Get adequate sleep. (7-8hrs)
· Avoid infection, washing your hands frequently & cooking meats thoroughly.
· Try to minimize stress.
If you would like to order a good value Vitamin D or any other supplements for your winter health have a look at Cytoplan's website:
Please go to: www.cytoplan