How you can really boost your immune system?

Our immune system is a strong army fighting against a battalion of disease-causing micro-organisms. But sometimes the warriors slip up and an invader gets through. Is it possible to try to help and make our warriors stronger? What factors will assist? Read Rochez O’ Grady’s Nutrition Column to find out how to boost your immune system.

Prevention is better than cure

We would all love to boost our immune system, but in reality it has been proven difficult since the body’s army is a system, and the warriors do not act on their own. To fight at their best, it requires balance and harmony.

Your first line of defence is a healthy lifestyle; this is the best step in keeping your immune system strong.

Get into healthy habits like:

    • Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fat.
    • Don’t smoke.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Make sure you drink enough water, at least 8 glasses a day.
    • Cut out refined sugar, and refined starch.
    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • Control your blood pressure.
    • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
    • Get adequate sleep.
    • Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
    • Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.

Eating right

And what about what we put into our mouths? Like all armies, our fighting warriors need healthy nourishment. This requires a balanced micronutrient intake.

How do we know if we are getting this balance? There is no concrete answer to this question, which means we need to ensure we are doing everything we can to reach our optimum micronutrient intake.

Firstly, get enough micronutrients from your diet. The old recommendation of five servings a day of fruit and vegetables is no longer good enough. We need to start aiming for at least 10 portions of vegetables a day, and one to two servings of fruit per day. Increasing to this amount could reduce your risk of premature death by up to 42%. Try to fill at least half of your plate at lunch and dinner with salad and/or vegetables, and to include one to two servings as a snack between main meals.

 

Once you have increased your micronutrient intake by eating more greens, yellows, reds and purples, you can also take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement, rather than mega doses of single vitamins. Your urine may become more yellow in colour as your body gets rid of any excess, but at least you will know you are meeting your optimal nutrition requirements. This means that you are ensuring all you can to promote prevention rather than cure. Remember a multivitamin needs to be taken daily, after a main meal, preferably in the morning.

Next, make sure the environment of your body stays healthy. A great way to do this is to put back the ‘good’ bacteria, probiotics, into our stomachs. It is now known that certain bacteria in the gut influence the strength of our army. It can help correct deficiencies and increase certain front line soldiers. Taking a probiotic daily helps to create a peaceful environment for your army.

In the end the benefit of doing these simple things will make a great impact not only on your warriors protecting you against disease, but it will also make you feel energised and help all systems of the body function at their best.

 

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