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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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How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

Sight – Visual Stimulation

The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

1. Maximize your exposure to light.

Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

3. Take note of your environment.

Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

4. Engage in conversation.

Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

5. Listen to upbeat music.

Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

6. Work your nose.

Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

7. Have a good breakfast.

Start off with the most important meal of the day.

Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

8. Drink lots of water.

Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

Touch – Tactile Stimulation

Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

10. Splash cold water on your face.

Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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11. Use acupressure.

Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

12. Get moving.

Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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