Written by Gary Sethi, bodybuilder.
With flu season just around the corner, your immune system will be putting up a fight every day. It’s not an easy battle either — dealing with all the coughs, sniffles and sneezes around your workplace, at your house or just walking down the street. So why not help your body by giving your immune system a little boost?
Increase your vitamin C intake
Your diet plays a vital role in strengthening your immune system. Try enhancing it with foods that are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, like citrus fruits, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. If you’ve already caught a cold, simple fluids like chicken soup can help flush out bacteria and get the mucus out of your system.
Find ways to exercise
Diet and exercise, as always, go hand in hand. Good fitness will help reduce stress levels and keep your immune system active. Don’t let the cold weather keep you from your regular exercise routine. There are plenty of other ways to stay active this winter. Head out for a refreshing cardio workout by putting on your winter jacket and going for an energetic walk through your favourite park.
Many health-and-wellness professionals believe that your immune system is the key to good health and long life. When it’s in good shape, you’re better protected against illness; when it’s not, you’re more likely to get sick. While a healthy lifestyle in general is important, studies have shown that diet plays a special role in keeping the immune system strong.
For a healthy immune system, be sure to regularly include these star defense players in your diet.
- Citrus fruits, tomatoes and sweet potatoes are rich in the antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C.
- Chicken soup helps flush out cold and flu viruses (by getting the mucus moving out of your system) so you feel better faster. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why but suggest that it’s the heat or a special unidentified compound in the broth.
- Garlic scores big for its medicinal properties and ability to boost the production of illness-fighting antibodies. It has antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties.
- Fluids help flush out bad bugs, such as bacteria. Normally, eight glasses of fluid a day is recommended for good health. When you’re sick, try to get double that.
- Cranberries are rich in antioxidants and are a natural guard against bladder infections. They may also protect against ulcers, heart disease and cancer.
- Healthy fats in olive oil, fatty fish, avocados and nuts help the immune system work optimally.
- You can count on wheat germ to deliver vitamin E and a little zinc for healthy skin, healing and resistance to infection.
- Brazil nuts are tops in selenium, but tuna, halibut and cod are also winners. Selenium keeps your defenses in great shape.
- Honey has been a natural healer for thousands of years. It provides antioxidants; kills bacteria that cause coughs, sore throats and ear infections; helps heal wounds; keeps skin healthy; and aids digestion.
- Grains provide carbohydrates, which provide energy and calories to fuel your body.