If you are always coming down with the latest cold/flu or cough at this time of year, there are many things you can do to bolster your bodies naturals defences. Our top 5 are :
1. Be sensible with your exercise program- don't train if you feel really lousy, reduce the intensity and volume if you are under the weather- Brief Resistance training sessions at moderate intensity have been shown to improve your immune response. Whereas an intense endurance sessions has been shown to significantly raise stress hormones, further depleting your body and decreasing your ability to resist infection.
2. Take a good Probiotic- Taking a probiotic can improve gut health, helping you to adsorb more key nutrients from your food. Probiotics have also been shown to boost T cell function and some enzymes associated with healthy immune function. T cells elevate the body’s immune system when viruses, bacteria attack. Look for products that guarantee the CFU's at time of expiry, and look for reasearch supported strains, as many high street products with not survive the stomach and make it to the gut.
3. Ensure you have adequate serum levels of Vitamin D- We keep mentioning Vitamin D but we can't emphasise the importance of it especially for immune function. If you have low levels of vitamin d then you'll be more susceptible to infection. Its helps to decrease inflammation- a factor in making you more susceptible to infection. Low blood levels of vitamin d have also been associated with reduced T cell function and macrophage activity.
4. Ensure you adequate zinc- Zinc plays an important role in health immune function. Even a small Zinc deficiency has been shown to effect the immune system- low zinc levels go hand in hand with a rapid decline in T cell function.
5. Get enough Sleep- 7 hours or more is ideal. Studies have shown those getting less than 7 hours could be up to 3 times more likely to get a cold.