The flu season is still ongoing and with Australians getting out during spring outings enjoying a wine on warmer evenings, they run the risk of picking up a nasty bug.
Although eating well and lowering stress can help your general immunity, few are aware of the enormous impact that things like sugar, excessive exercise and alcohol can have on your immune system.
So what should you do to prevent disease and stay healthy this spring?
Although eating well and lowering stress can help your general immunity, few are aware of the enormous impact that things like sugar can have on your immune system
How does sugar affect your immune system?
Simple sugars, including glucose, table sugar, fructose and honey, cause a fifty percent decrease in the ability of white blood cells to soften bacteria.
Eating or drinking 100 grams of sugar, the equivalent of two and a half cans of soft drinks, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria by 40 percent.
The immunosuppressive effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and can last five hours.
In contrast, the intake of complex carbohydrates or starches has no effect on the immune system.
Source: Dr. Sears
Cut out sweet snacks
It's time to rethink that sweet sugar on the plane or the tempting afternoon treat.
Nutrition Matters nutritionist Angela Emmerton said that sugar is a major obstacle to building your immune system – and it hides in common snacks.
& # 39; Sugar suppresses the immune system and excess sugar causes intestinal bacteria and balance to be disturbed & # 39 ;, she told FEMAIL.
Excess sugar is classified as just over six teaspoons in a day that many consume quite easily.
& # 39; Breakfast cereals are large and everything with a low fat content usually has a lot of sugar.
& # 39; Everything that is in a package, or if it is processed, will contain added sugar. & # 39;
& # 39; When we sleep, the body repairs itself, and if we don't, your body essentially breaks itself down & # 39 ;, said naturopath Emma Sutherland.
Get more sleep
According to Studio You naturopath Emma Sutherland, sleep is crucial for your body to build a strong immune system.
& # 39; Sleep is completely underestimated, if people do not sleep enough in quantity or quality, they are more prone to getting sick & # 39 ;, she told FEMAIL.
& # 39; When we sleep, the body repairs itself, and if we don't, your body essentially breaks itself down, & # 39;
& # 39; You can take all the pills in the world, but if you don't sleep, just hit a patch, & # 39; she said.
In addition to getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep time, she recommends people have a & # 39; nanna night & # 39; to keep.
Try to relax yourself this night, perhaps in a warm bath, and sleep a little longer.
Getting the right amount of exercise is important for immunity – but Ms. Sutherland also warns against exaggeration
Do some exercise – but not too much
Getting the right amount of exercise is important for immunity – but Ms. Sutherland also warns against exaggeration.
& # 39; It is interesting because a high intensity of exercise can mildly suppress immunity & # 39 ;, Sutherland said.
& # 39; Especially for women who do cardio, they are better off withdrawing it a bit and being careful. & # 39;
She advised women to hold no more than five cardio sessions a week, otherwise they risked making themselves sick.
Stay hydrated and increase your electrolytes
& # 39; You want to make sure your cells are not only hydrated, but also full of electrolytes & # 39 ;, said Sutherland.
She said that electrolytes mainly come from water-heavy vegetable foods such as celery.
It is also important to view the intake of coffee and alcohol, as they can actively remove electrolytes from the system.
What are electrolytes and how do you get more?
Electrolytes, electrically charged minerals, help regulate everything from hydration (the amount of water in your body) to your nervous system to muscle function – including the most important muscle of all: the heart.
Electrolytes ensure that the electrical impulses are normally generated in the heart, so that your heart can contract and relax at a normal speed.
Make these electrolyte-rich foods part of your daily diet:
Calcium – Milk and milk products (including plain, low-fat yogurt), meat, fish with bones (eg Sardines), eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, beans, certain fruits and vegetables (eg Asparagus, kale, dried apricots and figs)
Chloride – Olives, seaweed, rye, tomatoes, lettuce and celery
Magnesium – Leafy vegetables (eg spinach, turnip greens, kale, kale), whole grains, nuts, peanut butter, dried beans and lentils
Potassium – Boiled spinach, sweet potato, plain low-fat yogurt, bananas, avocado, peas, beans, tomatoes, oranges, melons, plums and raisins
By staying hydrated and eating foods full of electrolytes, the body remains strong and ready to fight
Nutritionist Angela Emmerton (photo) said that the right amount of hydration and vitamins in your body is crucial for building your body
Review your diet and consider supplements
Mrs. Emmerton said that many foods and supplements can be introduced into your system that make it dramatically stronger.
& # 39; You need a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially yellow, red and orange (in color) because they are rich in antioxidants, & # 39; she said.
She also recommended a consistent intake of vitamin C and dietary zinc, because the body recognizes it more effectively.
Other super foods are onion, garlic, and turmeric, which she stressed is much more important to have a little constant instead of cramming them while you're sick, as this will have a significantly reduced impact.
Enjoy a massage
An effective way to stimulate your system is to reserve a massage.
Mrs. Sutherland said that while it is not the highest priority on the list, it can be effective.
& # 39; There is a massage called a lymphatic drainage massage. It will mainly relax you, which will also reduce your stress, which can also help, & she said.
Although Mrs. Emmerton said that a small glass of wine is fine, about 120 ml, something more than that can affect immunity
Keep an eye on your alcohol intake
Although Mrs. Emmerton said that a small glass of wine is fine, about 120 ml, something more than that can affect immunity.
& # 39; It is a bit like a liver loader, so the body must process the alcohol before it can do anything else, & # 39; she said.
& # 39; You can prevent your body from continuing its work and it can interrupt your sleep, which is another problem. & # 39;
According to Dr. Mike Roussell, alcohol inhibits macrophages – immune cells – from the bloodstream and attacks pathogens.
& # 39; It also reduces your body's ability to produce inflammatory compounds that invade bad bacteria before the macrophages can break them down, & # 39; he said.
He added: Although researchers don't quite know why, alcohol reduces the number of T cells in your body that are responsible for this protection (against pathogens), along with B cells. This leads to a reduced response to infections. & # 39;
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