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10 Magic Nutrients for Building a Strong Immune System

10 Magic Nutrients for Building a Strong Immune System

What you eat is important for maintaining a healthy body. In this world of processed foods, would you know that you are getting all the right nutrients from the foods you eat? Here are my top 10 magic nutrients you need for a healthy body and mind by building a strong foundation from the foods you eat.

1. Protein

Never underestimate the power of protein. This nutrient deserves to be at the top of the list. It assists in building a strong immune system in the body. It is often referred to as the “building block of life” because the body needs it to repair and maintain itself every day. Sources include meat, chicken, fish, eggs, legumes, milk, cheese and yoghurt.

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2. Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids

Do not ditch the fats, these are super important. Omega-3s are especially needed by the body (as opposed to the Omega-6 that is plentiful in most people’s diets). ALA, DHA and EPA are the most common omega-3 fatty acids and they help the body create cells, regulate the nervous system, strengthen the circulatory system, build immunity and assist with absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A,D, E and K.

Food sources include oily fish such as salmon and fresh tuna (not canned), nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds (also referred to as linseeds) and, wait for it, leafy green vegetables!

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3. Water

Yes, this is one of the most important nutrients that is often overlooked. It is required for digestion, absorption and transportation of nutrients, elimination of waste products and hormonal harmony. Water accounts for 50-80% of your body weight, depending on the amount of muscle mass.

4. Fibre

When we think of fibre we think of bowel motions. Fibre is most defiantly needed for proper functioning of the gut and is associated with reducing the risk of chronic ailments such as heart disease and Type II diabetes. Excellent sources of fibre include oat bran, psyllium husks, nuts, seeds, lentils, fruits such as papaya and apples, and vegetables such as carrots and broccoli. Insoluble fibre is found in wheat bran, cabbage, leafy green vegetables and whole grains.

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5. Carbohydrates

The carbohydrates I am referring to are not the processed variety but your basic fruits and vegetables in the form nature provided them. Try and eat more vegetables in their raw form or slightly steam to retain their nutrients. There are some exceptions such as tomatoes where the lycopene is more readily available to the body once it is heated.

6. Complex B-Vitamins

The main role of B vitamins is to help the body utilise the energy provided by fat, carbohydrate and protein. B vitamins are found abundant in leafy vegetables and dairy foods.

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7. Vitamin C

This water-soluble antioxidant is required for growth and repair of tissues and is vital in the making of collagen which is the base for cartilage, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. Vitamin C enhances the absorption of non-haem iron (found in plant proteins) and helps heal wounds. Best sources are citrus fruits such as lemons and limes, ginger, tomatoes, and berries.

8. B12

I know, I have already discussed the B vitamins, but B12 needs a heading of its own. This vitamin is vital for producing healthy red blood cells and formation of DNA. Some people may be deficient in the intrinsic factor which helps with absorption of B12 from the gut. Sources include red meats, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy.

9. Iron

Iron and blood production go hand in hand. Around 70% of the body’s iron is found in the red blood cells (haemoglobin) and muscle cells (myoglobin). If you are tired and exhausted, you may be deficient in iron as it is the haemoglobin that is responsible for the movement of oxygen from the lungs to all cells of the body. Great sources of iron include red meat, tuna, eggs, poultry, salmon and legumes.

10. Calcium

Absolutely crucial for healthy teeth and bones as well as nerves and muscles. Sources include dairy, leafy green vegetables, sardines, mussels, salmon and figs.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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