Stay healthy and keep training
Good nutrition plays a key role in both reducing frequency of getting sick as well as the duration of an illness. The immune system requires nutrients for energy, to protect cells and to maintain proper function of tissues. Frequent training can place stress on body tissues and create inflammation. What you eat can either promote inflammation or work to reduce inflammation to aid your recovery.
For improved immunity and better training follow these nutritional tips:
- Look after your gut: Keeping your gut healthy is perhaps the most important step in maintaining overall good health. Include probiotics to encourage a healthy gut microbiome as well as plenty of fiber (provides fuel for the gut bacteria) Why not try natural yogurt, Wyldsson Pro7 Muesli and mixed berries to keep your gut healthy.
- Eat the rainbow: A colourful plate is likely to be packed with a variety of nutrients, which will work to reduce levels of inflammation and are critical components for maintaining immune health. Consume fresh, whole, real foods and limit consumption of processed foods, sugars and highly refined carbs. Try our chilli & smoked paprika nut butter on veggie batons. Yum.
- Energy: Eat up! Total energy intake is important for maintaining the immune system. For those looking to lose weight/fat, you still need to eat enough to adequately fuel your workout and support your immune system so that you can continue to train regularly. Weight loss needs to be a long term approach.
- Don’t ditch the carbs: Carbohydrates are the bodies most preferred energy source. Very low carbohydrate diets may not be friendly for training and staying healthy. Get plenty of carbs in the form of fruits, vegetables and whole grains but skip the refined foods and sugars as these only serve to increases inflammation and boost your chances of getting sick or injured. A bowl of oats with our Porridge Topper is a great way to fuel up for the day ahead.
- Pay attention to protein: Inadequate protein supply is closely linked with a poor immune system. Include some quality protein at each meal. After long or hard workouts, it is very important your recovery meal or snack is rich in protein coupled with some carbs. Try our Fruit & Nut butter on sliced apple as a quick snack and great protein source.
- Eat plenty of fats: Fats are so important to stay healthy and happy. Any natural sources of fat are great – think nuts, seeds, fish, avocado, egg yolks, olive oil, and even fats from pastured animals which contain surprising amounts of Omega 3 fats. Avoid refined oils and the fats found in most processed foods like palm oil. Our ProMix tubes are an easy source of healthy fats and they taste great too.
- Get spicy in the kitchen: Many foods have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Great examples including ginger, garlic and chili are also highly concentrated sources of micronutrients. Our chilli picante ProMix is ideal for sprinkling on salads, soups or as a handy snack.
- Stay hydrated: A well-functioning immune system needs plenty of fluid to keep working optimally.
What else can you do to stay healthy?
- Get to bed: Sleep deprivation is one of the most closely linked factors when it comes to illness. Both short term sickness as well as risk of chronic disease skyrockets in those who don’t get enough shut-eye.
- Recovery time: Overtraining increases risk of illness, infection and injury. Many people jump into tough physical training too fast and run themselves into the ground. Longer recovery is needed when starting a new training regime after some time off.
- Soak up the sun: Daily Vitamin D is essential for the immune system. Enjoy some sun exposure but do be careful about getting burned. Nutritional sources of Vitamin D include fatty fish, egg yolks, beef liver and dairy foods.
This article was adapted from an article by sports nutritionist Pip Taylor. Pip is an accredited dietitian, professional triathlete, author and mother of two.