Sun, 10 February 2019
Maintaining good health usually means doing many things and not just one. For instance, if you want to lose weight, gaining muscle can help, but focusing on that alone is not the best or most efficient way to make your weight goals. Today, we’re focusing on immunity and how to naturally raise the bar and stay healthy.
A multi-faceted approach is even more important in boosting the strength of your immune system. The right foods and herbs combined with the right daily habits can support your immunity to pathogens (a bug, a virus)…
Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol as much as you can (of course).
Getting enough sleep. Sleep performs many regulatory functions for the immune system. One that is especially important is helping to create a “memory” within the immune system so antibodies can “remember” unwelcome organisms that have previously invaded the body.
Also, something all Spartans do is to follow a moderate and regular exercise regimen that boosts immunity. One caveat: athletes performing at peak levels have reported some increased susceptibility to respiratory illness, so if you’re going to push yourself to high competitive levels of performance, your preparing for a big race take some extra precautions. And I’ll mention those now...
The immune system – like any system in the body – needs a variety of nutrients to keep it running well. A lot of those nutrients (like vitamins and minerals) are often best supplied by fruits and vegetables … and some spices and herbs as well.
Citrus fruits: These are easy to access and rich in vitamin C, which is thought to increase the body’s production of white blood cells. (Papaya, kiwis and spinach also have a lot of Vitamin C.)
Turmeric: It’s part of many spicy curry recipes, but it can also have a restorative effect on the body by reducing inflammation and repairing muscle damage that come with exercise.
Oregano: this popular herb is full of antioxidants. Research has also shown that essential oils from oregano can combat bacteria, as well.
Cayenne pepper packs multiple punches. In addition to vitamin C, it has beta carotene and antioxidants which help to maintain mucus membrane tissue that fends off bacteria and viruses.
The right food intake combined with the good daily habits can support your immunity to pathogens. This multi-faceted approach just takes a little bit of planning and is easy to do and really effective!
KEY TERMS AND IDEAS
Pathogens. A microorganism (like a virus or bacteria) that can cause disease.
White blood cells. “A type of blood cell that is made in the bone marrow and found in the blood and lymph tissue. White blood cells are part of the body’s immune system. They help the body fight infection and other diseases.” (NCI Dictionary).
LINKS & RESOURCES:
David C. Nieman, et al. "Upper respiratory tract infection is reduced in physically fit and active adults." British Journal of Sports Medicine 45.12 (2011): 987-992, https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/bc18/dca045fdece0fc7b9b4c30f6c7ec887f1869.pdf,
“How to boost your immune system,” Harvard Health Publishing, July 16, 2018, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system, accessed January 2019.
“Immune System,” Kidshealth, https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/immune.html, accessed January 2019.
Luciana Besedovksy, Tanja Lange, and Jan Born, "Sleep and immune function," European Journal of Physiology 463.1 (2012): 121-137, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00424-011-1044-0, accessed January 2019.
“Protect Your Health with Immune-Boosting Nutrition,” eatright.org
NCI Dictionary, “White blood cells", https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/white-blood-cell, accessed January 2019.
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