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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 May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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