Strengthen The Immune System

Dan Young
September 22, 2022
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A well-balanced diet that is nutrient rich can help boost your immune system. Including the following foods in your daily diet will keep your body’s defenses primed to fight off incoming viruses.

Carbohydrates
Athletes who don’t consume sufficient carbohydrates may decrease their ability to fight off infections following intense or prolonged exercise. According to some studies, ingesting carbohydrates during and immediately after exercise can help prevent sickness by reducing cortisol levels and maintaining lymphocyte production. This is another good reason to consume a naturally nutrient-dense Recovery Shake within 30 minutes of your workout.

Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain natural compounds like phytochemicals, antioxidants, and vitamins, which enhance your immune system. Here are some examples:

1. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are especially good sources of protective substances. For example, foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and other dark greens contain beta-carotene, which can increase the number of infection- fighting cells, white blood cells (sometimes called “natural killer cells”), and helper T-cells. Your body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, which also helps your immune system by enhancing white blood cell function. Tomato products are especially rich in lycopene, a carotenoid that enhances the production of white blood cells to help destroy many types of viruses.

2. Garlic and onions – Recent research adds credibility to the folklore claiming that onion juice or garlic cloves ward off colds and flu. The sulfur-containing substances in these flavorful foods play an important role in stimulating the immune system by boosting the killing ability of natural killer cells.

Protein
Your immune system produces antibodies when viruses invade the body. Antibodies, which are proteins made up of certain amino acids, bind to the invading substances to try to destroy them. A healthy diet should contain high quality protein with the 8 essential amino acids.

Whey Protein Supplements
There are many whey products on the market today. However, many are inferior forms of whey concentrate and are less bio- available; these inferior supplements are usually formulated with artificial and synthetic ingredients. Buyers beware!

1. Bio Whey – Formulated with only minimally cold-processed whole food ingredients and no artificial or synthetic ingredients, Bio-Whey is one of the most bio-available proteins on the market today.

2. Yogurt, Kefir, Kombucha – Preliminary research suggests that eating a cup of low-fat yogurt or other fermented and cultured products daily can reduce your susceptibility to colds. The beneficial bacteria (called probiotics) in some yogurts is thought to boost the immune system.

Supplements
There is no convincing evidence to suggest that supplements boost immunity in healthy individuals, though they may help those who are malnourished or those individuals who are deficient in critical nutrients (e.g., vitamin C, certain B vitamins, and zinc). Also, it’s important to consider research showing that megadoses of certain vitamins can actually suppress the immune system. For example, zinc is important for immune function, but high dose supplements may actually suppress immune response.

Zinc – Zinc is a trace mineral that is important for proper immune functioning. Studies have shown that it can help weaken the cold virus and minimize the duration and severity of cold and flu symptoms. Good food sources of zinc include oysters, beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, and crab.

Recovery
By drinking a high Glycemic based drink immediately following a workout, preferably a 3 to 1 ratio of Carbs vs Protein respectively, all calories are shunted directly to your muscle fibers, not to your hips or those pesky love handles.

Remember, glycogen is stored in your muscles not in fat. Once glycogen is in your muscle cells, recovery can begin and you can begin to rebuild a stronger, leaner you.

Even if you are just trying to burn fat, replacing the sugars that you just burned enables your body to keep your metabolism humming
by keeping your hard earned muscle.

Eat well!

Dan Young

Dan Young is the founder and president of Simple Again, representing Performance Food Centers and the swiig brand of nutritional products. Certified in personal training and sports nutrition, Dan also gives inspirational talks at Penn State University. He is a lifelong athlete as well as a devotee to clean nutrition when competing in body building and or endurance Ironman events.

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