www.getfitwithjo.co.uk: Nutritional Advice
Maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet is vital in helping to sustain a healthy immune system, especially when you are undertaking regular exercise.
What constitutes a healthy diet?
Protein-rich meat, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, dairy products, pulse-vegetables, nuts, seeds and soya- based foods all nourish the epithelial cells and provide a barrier between you, fatigue and infection. Three average size servings per day of any of these will maintain the health of these cells. Bright green and orange fruits and vegetables such as spinach and cabbage and carrots, pumpkins, apricots and mangoes will also keep vitamin A levels high.
Although exercise stimulates and strengthens the immune system, after vigorous exercise, the body's immune system is temporarily suppressed for a number of hours. Vitamin C has strong anti-viral properties so, following exercise, make sure that you have fresh fruit or orange or apple juices available.
Zinc is also a vital mineral in restoring an impaired immune system and can be found in beef, eggs, seafood, especially crab and sardines, as well as wholegrain foods and seeds, although in the latter two food products it is less easily absorbed.
Women should watch out for anaemia
A shocking statistic is that 40% of women in the UK get less iron in their daily diets than is recommended. Iron deficiency can cause anaemia, but even without anaemia it can weaken the immune system. Iron can be found in many of the foods mentioned above as being good for zinc, but some women who have a well balanced diet still find it hard to absorb enough iron to ward off anaemia and it may be necessary to take a daily supplement (14.8mg) when iron stores are low. However, iron supplements should not be taken routinely. If you feel tired, weak or lethargic then you should consult your GP and have your iron levels checked. A simple blood test will tell you whether or not you are suffering from anaemia.
The main message is regular exercise, combined with a healthy and nutritious diet, will strengthen your immune system and keep those nasty colds and viruses at bay.
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