11.18.2020 – Building and Maintaining a Strong Immune System
Building and Maintaining a Strong Immune System
by Traveling Trainers Nutrition Coach Anthony Giordono
November 18, 2020 – If your immune system is not top of your mind these days I’m going to ask you to STOP whatever it is you are doing, and give me 6-10min of your time. Cold and Flu season is here, and it’s not going anywhere for a few months. Throw the COVID-19 pandemic into the mix, and it’s no wonder you are probably bombarded by DOOM and GLOOM foreshadowing. Thankfully you can start right this second implementing steps to build, and maintain, a stronger immune system this winter.
What is your Immune System?
We’ve all heard about our immune system, and probably many have a decent, or at least elementary, understanding of it. But let’s go over it real quickly.
Our immune system is one of 12 Organ Systems humans all have. It is our barrier to the onslaught of the outside world. Protecting us against pathogens, tumor cells, and foreign invaders. It includes your thymus, lymph nodes, spleen, tonsils, and other organs. Plus special white blood cells called leukocytes.
How does nutrition affect your Immune System and vice versa?
Like everything in your body, focus must be understood at the foundation. The cellular level. This is where metabolism happens. Old cells die, and new, hopefully stronger cells rebuild. For our bodies to produce healthy, strong cells we must provide it with adequate healthy building material.
This building material I speak of is the nutrients and minerals we ingest. The food we eat today truly defines whether your body will be stronger or more vulnerable to attacks tomorrow.
The nutrients our bodies, and specifically cells, need come primarily from whole food sources. This is why almost all diets stress the importance of Vegetables and Fruits in the diet. Along with other natural foods like seeds, nuts, and whole grains. Eating foods in their most natural form will give your body the most bang for its buck when you think of it from the standpoint of NUTRIENT VALUE.
What I mean is how many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are readily and more easily digestible and that the body can recognize for use. The more processed the foods are, the lower nutrient value they have. I.e. They lose vitamins and minerals through the process. Food manufactures often try to replenish these lost minerals, but it’s just not the same quality. Think Fortified wheat.
When we follow a dietary practice that relies on a higher percentage of processed foods it is not only your weight that suffers. All body systems do. In regards to your Immune System, that means less protection from viruses, bacteria, and the outside elements we are all susceptible to.
So what kind of diet should you follow? Should you go Vegan?
There is plenty of research that shows the benefits of a plant based diet in terms of healthy aging. Individuals who consume a primarily plant based diet often recover from illness more quickly and effectively. Experiencing less aches, pains, and missed days from sickness. That being said you do not have to give up animal products completely. Animal products provide their own benefit of nutrients, and each individual’s personal needs and goals must be addressed when making a dietary change. Did you know you can schedule a Nutrition Consultation with one of our Certified Coaches who help you identify your individual needs, and guide you in making those changes?
Top 5 FOODS to start eating everyday
1) Citrus Fruits: Lemons, Limes, Grapefruit, Oranges (Get your Vitamin C)
2) Garlic, Ginger & Turmeric: All have properties to reduce cellular inflammation
3) Almonds, Sunflower seeds: Vitamin E, the oft overlooked immune boosting vitamin
4) Broccoli: Vitamin (A,C,E), antioxidant, and Fiber powerhouse!
5) Green Tea: 1 word…Antioxidants
What to do next?
Remember that diet and nutrition is an ever evolving process. Food cannot make us invincible, but it is our body’s strongest defense. Don’t try to change your food spectrum and choices at once. Instead keep it simple and add more whole foods to your diet. Take 1 bag of chips from your grocery cart and replace it with a bag of oranges. It doesn’t have to be drastic, but small changes like this will add up as you shift to making healthier choices more consistently.
Shifting your food choices can be a challenging process. That is why there are more stories of failed diet attempts then successful ones. Without a solid nutrition plan, your body will always fall short of it’s true potential. Schedule a consultation with one of our nutrition coaches today to get your eating on the right track!