Diet, Exercise & Your Immune System
In current times, it is more important than ever to be eating ‘correctly’ and exercising so that your immune system stays at the strongest/ healthiest it can be.
What can you do?
How do you give your body the best fighting chance to build up the good bacteria?
What should you eat?
How much exercise should we do?
I hope to explain all of the above so that by the end of this blog, you will understand how the crucial things we choose to do, can influence our immune system in a positive way…. or sometimes not.
The food we eat gives our body the “information” and materials it needs to function properly. If we don’t get the right information, our metabolic processes suffer and our health declines. If we get too much food (or food that gives our bodies the wrong instructions) we can become overweight, undernourished, and at risk of the development of diseases and conditions such as: arthritis; diabetes; mental & emotional health; microbiome conditions and heart disease.
In short, think of the human body as a car. A car needs fuel (petrol or diesel), oil for the engine, and brake fluid. Without these in the right balance, the car wouldn’t work to its optimum performance. A human body needs the same ingredients in the form of Carbs, Fats and Proteins-underpinned by vitamins and minerals.
Eat a balanced diet of Carbs, Fats and Proteins to ensure a healthy immune system. An immune system that is strong. Failing to have the right amount of these components in your diet will potentially diminish the strength of your immunity and therefore your ability to fight off infection.
Your body is full of trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi. They are collectively known as the microbiome. While some bacteria are associated with disease, others are extremely important for your immune system, heart, weight and many other aspects of health. The gut microbiome even benefits brain-health in several ways. Firstly, certain types of bacteria in the microbiome produce chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters (e.g. serotonin). Physical activity can also stimulate the release
of serotonin and dopamine- both antidepressant neurotransmitters- but these are primarily made in the gut. This means that diet and exercise are equally important as each other when it comes to your immune system, brain health, organ function and repair of muscles. Secondly, the gut is physically connected to the brain through millions of nerves. Therefore, the gut microbiome affects brain health by helping to control the messages that are sent to the brain through these nerves. It is often be said that exercise is good for your mindset. In my opinion, what you eat and drink is extremely important as it is crucial in supporting a strong body, mind and immune system. A number of studies have also shown that certain probiotics can improve symptoms of depression and other mental health disorders.
• Eat fermented foods: Fermented foods such as yogurt can reduce the amount of disease-causing species in the gut
• Limit your intake of artificial sweeteners: Some evidence has shown that artificial sweeteners can increase blood sugar.
• Eat whole grains: Whole grains contain lots of fibre and beneficial carbs, which are digested by gut bacteria to benefit weight, cancer risk, diabetes and other disorders.
• Eat foods rich in polyphenols: Polyphenols are plant compounds found in red wine, green tea, dark chocolate, olive oil and whole grains. They are broken down by the microbiome to stimulate healthy bacterial growth.
So what are the benefits of exercising for the immune system?
• Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness.
• Exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells. White blood cells are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease. These antibodies (or white blood cells) circulate more rapidly, so they can detect illnesses earlier than they might have before.
• The brief rise in body temperature during (and immediately after) exercise prevent bacteria from growing. This temperature rise can help the body to fight infection more effectively. This is similar to what happens when you have a fever.
• Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones. Some stress increases the chance of illness and therefore reduced stress hormones protect against illness. Furthermore, exercise also speeds up cell reproduction due to the added stress on muscle groups that need repairing afterwards.
In times of a global pandemic, we need to defend our own bodies to the best of our ability.
This means DAILY exercise- not Monday to Friday. Everyday, move more, raise the heart rate, increase core temperature and add stress to muscles groups. Basics, press ups, sit ups and squats.
In addition to this, have a balanced diet. Don’t just stock up on sugars, don’t just overindulge in fatty foods. A balanced diet will support your microbiome, which in turn, helps brain function and health. This gives you the ‘motivation’ and therefore the energy to exercise.
Rage Fitness Company Social media will be posting daily workouts/ monthly challenges to boost your immune system, to help give YOUR body the fighting chance to defend itself against any infectious diseases.
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