Boost your immunity

HEALTH:

There is no avoiding exposure to germs and viruses, but some people seem more susceptible to them than others. A strong, well-functioning immune system is the cornerstone of good health, fighting off disease and infections and allowing you to recover more quickly if you do get sick.

EXERCISE:

Research supports a link between regular, moderate exercise and a healthy immune system due to its effect on the production of white blood cells.

under-the-weather1Physical activity sends these immune cells through the body at a faster rate, enabling them to detect and fight bacteria and viruses more effectively. It can also slow down the release of stress-related hormones, which increase the chance of illness.

NUTRITION:

One of the best ways to boost your immunity is through the consumption of a healthy diet including plenty of whole grains, nuts, seeds and brightly coloured fruit and vegetables.

Fresh, unprocessed foods contain numerous immune-boosting antioxidants which help protect and repair our cells from damage on a daily basis.

© Sarah West Nutrition

In the genes

HEALTH:

Ageing is a complex biological process, driven by the build up of damage in our cells, tissues and organs. This damage is accumulated by a mixture of how we live our lives and the genetic mechanisms that repair that damage, making nutrition and lifestyle an irrefutable factor in the ageing and disease process.

EXERCISE:

detoxification-camtreatments.jpgNew research has discovered that just 20 minutes of activity can alter the DNA in your muscle cells, making them work better for further exercise. It has also been found that certain genes are boosted in their ability to metabolise sugar and fat, as well as regulate glucose (blood sugar) levels. These positive DNA effects increase as the intensity of the exercise does.

NUTRITION:

You can greatly improve your health outlook by simply changing certain environmental factors to which you expose your body – specifically, by avoiding harmful compounds (such as harmful trans fats and large amounts of sugar and salt) and including more protective polyphenols (powerful antioxidants found in colourful fruits and vegetables). Every little helps!

© Sarah West Nutrition

Break the habit

HEALTH:

Despite the wide variety of foods available in the UK, research shows that the majority of British people eat the same foods at breakfast and lunch every day.

Cereal, toast and tea were voted the most popular breakfast options, while sandwiches make up over half of all British lunches. For dinner, 48% of participants consumed pasta at least once a week, followed by chips (38%) and pizza (32%).

EXERCISE:

Always doing the same old exercises at the gym? Scared to try something new? Sometimes you need to take yourself out of our comfort zone in order to avoid overtraining and injuring yourself.

45Remember that your current safe boundaries were once unknown frontiers, so don’t be afraid to try a new machine or routine. You will work different muscles and keep your body guessing each week.

NUTRITION:

Eating the same type of food every day is not only boring, but could also lead to deficiencies in certain nutrients. A good way of addressing this is by looking at the colour of your food.

If you’re eating mainly colourless carbohydrates such as breads, cereals, pastas, rice and potatoes you’re ignoring other nutrient-packed foods that are essential for health. For a full complement of antioxidants, up your fruit and vegetables and try to eat something red, purple, orange, yellow and green each day.

© Sarah West Nutrition

Boost your immunity

HEALTH:

There is no avoiding exposure to germs and viruses, but some people seem more susceptible to them than others. A strong, well-functioning immune system is the cornerstone of good health; fighting off disease and infections and allowing you to recover more quickly if you do get sick.

EXERCISE:

Research supports a link between regular, moderate exercise and a healthy immune system due to its effect on the production of white blood cells.

Physical activity sends these immune cells through the body at a faster rate, enabling them to detect and fight bacteria and viruses more effectively. It can also slow down the release of stress-related hormones, which increase the chance of illness.

NUTRITION:

One of the best ways to boost your immunity is through the consumption of a healthy diet including brightly coloured fruit and vegetables (either fresh or from frozen).

Natural, unprocessed foods contain numerous immune-boosting antioxidants which help protect and repair our cells from damage on a daily basis.

© Sarah West Nutrition

Eat your greens

HEALTH:

Dark green leafy vegetables are highly nutritious, providing a wide variety of important essential vitamins and minerals (such as folic acid, potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium) plus a source of carotenoids and anti-oxidants (including vitamins A, C and E).

However, despite their nutritional advantages they are one of the most under-consumed foods in the average person’s diet.

EXERCISE:

Spinach has long been known as the food that gave Popeye his bulging muscles. And it seems he had the right idea; research has indicated that eating 200g of green leafy vegetables can make your muscles more efficient, reducing the amount of oxygen needed to power muscles during exercise by as much as 5% (resulting in both improved muscle gains and better overall health).

So why not follow Popeye’s example for an improved workout?

NUTRITION:

Try some of these suggestions to increase your intake of leafy greens:

  • Wrap it up: Try preparing a tortilla wrap with chicken or turkey and adding romaine leafy greens for some extra nutrients and flavour.
  • Wilt It: Wilted green leafy vegetables will hugely reduce in size, providing the same nutritious goodness in a far more manageable form. Try lightly steaming spinach over a pan of boiling water then mixing with crushed garlic and stirring into hot pasta.
  • Curried: Spinach is an old favourite in curry houses. Make your own Saag Aloo by mixing shredded spinach with chopped new potatoes and adding turmeric, cumin and grated ginger.

© Sarah West Nutrition