It's hard to miss the countless of news headlines, social media posts, and World Health Organization updates on the new wide spreading pathogen COVID-19. With travel restrictions placed and many countries on lockdown, I think it's safe to say that we are all feeling a little uncertain, anxious, bored and restless at home.
Well, if you are one of those people who ever used the, "too busy to focus on your fitness and health" excuse, now is the perfect opportunity to protect yourself by boosting your immune system and getting healthy to fight off this new virus. There is no better time than now!
Everyone seems to have a theory on how to boost the immune system to ward off diseases, especially when it comes to cold and flu season. It’s difficult to know which vitamins you should be taking and understand how they can benefit you and your immune system. This is why we are going to walk you through the best ways to boost your immune system and give you the answers you need.
1. VITAMINS AND MINERALS
A healthy immune system counteracts sources of stress in your body, including viruses and bacteria. Getting enough of the right vitamins and minerals into your system is essential for a healthy immune system. These are the 5 most important on your list;
Vitamin A: Boosts immunity by lowering infection and supports wound healing.
Food sources: Orange foods, such as sweet potatoes, carrots and apricots; dark leafy greens, like spinach and kale; eggs; and bell peppers.
Vitamin B: All vitamin B's help in conjunction, which boosts immunity and repair of tissue.
Food Sources: Meat, such as grass-fed beef, turkey or chicken breast; fish, such as salmon and tuna; pistachios, sunflower or sesame seeds; pinto or garbanzo beans; avocados; grains, such as amaranth.
Vitamin C: Potent antioxidants which support immune response.
Food Sources: Citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits and tangerines; strawberries and papaya; vegetables, such as spinach, kale, Brussel sprouts and broccoli.
Vitamin D: This is one of the most important vitamins, as it plays a huge part in immune health. Specifically lung health and prevention of colds and flu.
Food Sources: Fatty fish, such as salmon, herrings and sardines; shellfish, such as oysters and shrimp; egg yolks; mushrooms; fortified milk, juice or cereal. Your body also synthesizes Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.
ZINC: Zinc helps create and activate your immune systems white blood cells.
Food sources: shellfish, such as cooked oysters, crab and lobster; meats, especially grass-fed beef and lamb; toasted wheat germ; spinach; cashews; pumpkin, squash and sesame seeds; dark chocolate.
2. AVOID SUGAR
Yes sugar! I know this specific one probably makes you sad to see, as the cravings and urge to eat sweets and junk food is especially bad at these times while we are stuck at home with nothing else to do, other than to binge on Netflix and constantly eat food. But sugar has been identified as a course of concern due to it's inflammatory effect. This compromises your immune system and weakens gut health, which is extremely important for a healthy running immune system.
3. PROPER SLEEP
It is very important to get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep, making sure you get enough Deep sleep and REM sleep.
Deep Sleep: is when all hormones are released and allows our bodies to repair.
REM Sleep: assists with your memory.
4. DRINKING ADEQUATE WATER
Water is essential to flush toxins out of your body. The recommended amount is 1Liter to every 20kg of your bodyweight.
5. OPTIMIZE GUT HEALTH
Gut health is one of the most important aspects to have for an overall healthy running body. One of the easiest ways to do it, is by eating fermented vegetables, eg. Sauerkraut and Miso
These reduce many diseases and conditions due to their effectiveness in protecting your immune system.
6. EATING A HIGH FIBER DIET
Eating a high fiber diet assists with your gut bacteria, creating a healthy microbiome fastering a strong immune system. Here are some food sources that are high in fiber;
FIBER RICH FRUITS
bananas, oranges, apples, mangoes, strawberries, raspberries.
Generally, the darker the color, the higher the fiber content. Fill up your shopping cart with: carrots, beets, broccoli, collard greens, swiss chard, spinach, artichokes, potatoes (russet, red, and sweet).
BEANS & LEGUMES
Beans and legumes are flavorful, fiber-filled additions to salads, soups, and chilis. Navy, white, garbanzo, kidney, peas, or lentils are all healthy choices.
BREADS & GRAINS
Whole grain breads: Select 7-grain, dark rye, cracked wheat, pumpernickel. Make sure “whole wheat” or another whole grain is listed as the first ingredient.
Grains: Try bulgur wheat, brown rice, wild rice, and barley instead of white rice.
Cereals: Look for those with 5 or more grams of fiber per serving.
Snack on almonds, pistachios, or pumpkin and sunflower seeds. But don’t go too nuts, as nuts can be high in calories.
7. AVOID PROCESSED FOOD AND EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
I think we all can admit, over the last week we have all added a few extra items to our shopping trolley that we wouldn’t usually buy – purely “for emergency”. I for one bought a weeks worth of alcohol and unhealthy snacks "for emergency" and landed up finishing them in 3 days!
As tempting as it is right now, I highly recommend you avoid stocking up on processed foods, refined sugar and alcohol. Because let’s be honest, we are likely not going to save these foods for an emergency, high chances are that we will eat them within a few days of buying them.
These 3 food groups cause an inflammatory response in the body which keeps the immune system busy, meaning other more important issues in your body that may occur, such as bacterial or viral invaders are unaddressed. To keep your immune system on top of it’s game, I recommend you avoid these foods as much as you can.
We have left the most important for last. Exercise!
The more time you spend sitting, the shorter your life expectancy. It is well documented in the scientific literature that, people who exercise regularly suffer fewer infections than those who don’t. Benefits include;
Cardiorespiratory fitness associated with longevity.
Better cognitive performance.
Increased insulin sensitivity, assisting with weight loss and decreasing your risk of chronic disease.
However, you need to find a happy medium, as too much exercise can be stressful on the body. Therefore doing EMS training with AKTIV20 is the ideal way to maintain your fitness levels. As EMS training is far less strenuous on the body and joints than regular exercise. With us, you do not have to go to a gym and share your space and equipment with countless of people who could be potentially sick, thus aiding in the strengthening and protection of your immune system.
But for now, as we have been made to close during the lockdown, we are providing some home workouts with no equipment for you to do until we can re-open. Follow us on Instagram and facebook to get your workout @aktiv20dk.
Stay Safe and Healthy!