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Cold and flu season is upon us and I’m sure you all know someone right now who is suffering or even this may actually be you. Unfortunately you can use all the immune boosters possible and still get sick even if you have had the flu job, very shocking I know – but true. Many things impact on how well your immune system functions from hygiene, diet, supplements to training choices.

It is vital all year round to keep your immune system strong however in the colder shorter winter days it is paramount you take action to keep your body’s immune system at its strongest. When your suffering from infection this makes you miserable, ache more, make worse food choices, not exercise all of which are will contribute big time to NOT achieving your health and fitness goals! Below is what we believe you should be adding to your diet to boost your immune system.

The most valuable players for immune support

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is required for tissue growth and repair, adrenal gland function, and also helps fight off infectious diseases to name a few, this alone shows that Vitamin C is essential for optimal health and maximising your progress in the gym.

Research from the University of California showed that people who consumed at least 300 mg of vitamin C through their diet or with supplementation, compared to those who consume 50 mg of vitamin C which is what is in the average UK/US diet, could reduce their heart disease risk by up to 50% for men and 40% for women. The study was done on 11,000 Americans over a 10 year period.

Vitamin C is not produced by the body so it is important to supplement or eat foods that are rich in Vitamin C, foods that will help are:

•Berries
•Citrus fruits
•Parsley
•Peppers
•Broccoli
•Cabbage
Zinc

At Cre8 Fitness we test clients regularly for zinc deficiency because we know zinc deficiency is one of the most common and most serious of mineral deficiencies there is. So why is Zinc so important? A mild deficiency can result in decreased lean body mass and low testosterone – not good news hey. Deficiency in zinc can make you crave foods that are saltier and sweeter due to an altered sense of taste – again not good! Regarding the immune system research has show deficiencies can lead to higher sensitivity of infection by bringing your immune barriers down. However good levels zinc will have a positive effect on growth, breathing, the endocrine system, immunity, inflammation, scarring and reproduction.

Get one of the team to test your zinc levels today, the supplement Uber Zinc will help restore you Zinc levels and also good foods that contain zinc are:

•Oysters
•Meat (particularly beef)
•Vegetables
•Lentils

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D is processed in the skin when we are exposed to sun light, and is a common deficiency in adults, particularly in the UK where we have limited sunshine!

Scientists at the University of Copenhagen have discovered that Vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defences and that without sufficient intake of the vitamin; the killer cells of the immune system – T cells – will not be able to react to and fight off serious infections in the body. For T cells to detect and kill foreign pathogens such as clumps of bacteria or viruses, the cells must first be ‘triggered’ into action and “transform” from inactive and harmless immune cells into killer cells that are primed to seek out and destroy all traces of invaders.

Click here to read a previous article on why Vitamin D is so important.

Speak to one of the team to find out how to restore your levels of Vitamin D. Foods to consume:

•Eggs
•Herring
•Mackerel
•Salmon
Glutamine

Glutamine is normally considered to be a nonessential amino acid (not synthesized by the body). However, recent studies have provided evidence that glutamine may become “conditionally essential” during inflammatory conditions such as infection and injury. Now for the science part – glutamine is essential for cell proliferation, that it can act as a respiratory fuel and that it can enhance the function of stimulated immune cells. This is basically cell growth or cell repair which is important to maintain a healthy immune system. Research has shown that many cells of the immune system utilise glutamine at high rates and supplementing with glutamine has shown to have clear benefits on not only your immune system but also stopping the body from becoming catabolic. Catabolism is where the body is burning/losing muscle and gaining fat.

Probiotics

Probiotics are tiny bacteria that naturally occur in the gastrointestinal tract and are commonly found in dairy products such as yogurt. But research shows that yogurt and dairy-based foods alone may not be effective at providing the numerous legitimate health benefits of good gut bacteria, meaning you should take a probiotic that has its potency guaranteed through the expiration date.

Probiotics increase the number of flora in the gut and can enhance intestinal immune and liver function. Taking them is an effective treatment to bowel problems from antibiotic use, and they also help protect against liver injury after food poisoning

Keep in mind, 80% of your immune system actually lives in your gut, so gut health is vitally important to your whole immune system.

Conclusion

Add all of these in some shape or form to your diet and you will have more energy, build muscle easier, have a leaner physique and more importantly not be suffering from virus/flu symptoms when many people around us will be over these winter months. Also one thing to bear in mind when buying supplements, not all supplements are created equal so make sure you always go for quality when it comes to your health.