It’s safe to say Winter is here now and along with it, coughs, colds and stomach bugs. If you have children, you’re even more likely to come into contact with Winter bugs as children are great at spreading germs. Running can also put a greater stress on the immune system and the importance of good nutrition is often under estimated. Yes you ran 10 miles but re-fuelling with beer and a takeaway will not help you improve performance or reach any goal you may have for your running.
Nutrition is vital for a good immune system but can we build immunity without taking supplements? I’m not a lover of supplements and I only prescribe them if really necessary however, the nutritional quality of most of our food is so poor now that for a lot of people, I think the answer is yes you do need them. This is particularly so if you are doing hard training and under additional stress from external factors such as work, family etc. If you are going to take a supplement, make sure you buy a quality product. Cheap prices from the supermarket means cheap ingredients making them harder for the body to digest and use.
Building immunity is partly down to good hygiene for example washing hands regularly and preparing food safely however, some is also down to the food you eat. A diet high in fruit and vegetables and healthy sources of protein will give your body the best chance at fighting illnesses of all kinds including more serious lifestyle diseases. Eating a colourful range of fruit and vegetables will provide a wide variety of vitamins and minerals which gives you the best chance of fighting germs. It’s also worth buying organic and local fruit and vegetables were possible as they have a better nutritional profile.
Here are some other top tips:
- Banana and full fat yoghurt makes a great snack and may prevent stomach bugs
- Lemon, ginger and local honey can help relieve the symptoms of a cold
- Sleep gives your body a chance to rest and repair itself so get enough!
Want to know how healthy your diet is? Email Hannah on firstname.lastname@example.org