Get happy

HEALTH:

Studies have found that feeling positive helps boost the immune system, making happy people less likely to suffer from physical illness. In contrast, stress and negative thoughts can exert a negative on effects on your health through the same biological pathways.

Try these natural mood-boosters to help avoid stress and give yourself a lift.

EXERCISE:

44050902574705617xtH0qrFGcPhysical activity is vital for health, fitness and happiness. Those who exercise frequently not only feel better but benefit from the added sense of accomplishment that comes from meeting personal fitness goals and improving their physical appearance.

By making a commitment to exercise, you will reap the psychological and physical rewards on a regular basis.

NUTRITION:

When trying to get healthy, don’t think in terms of sacrificing the foods you enjoy: concentrate on all the delicious things you can add to your diet that will make you look and feel better.

Chicken or chickpea curry served with cashew nuts, brown rice and live yogurt makes a delicious meal that is also packed full of tryptophan, the feel-good amino acid.

© Sarah West Nutrition

Winter wellbeing

HEALTH:

Had enough of grey skies and cold weather? Lack of sunlight lowers the feel-good brain chemical serotonin, meaning your enthusiasm to get fit can seem lower than ever at this time of year.

But don’t be tempted to hibernate; it is particularly important to keep active if you want to stay feeling your best and help fend off those winter germs and viruses.

EXERCISE:

Exercise is an essential part of any healthy lifestyle and you should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week, whatever the weather.

492649930158102_do6Vso4s_cWinter is a great time to try out something new that you can do indoors, so why not give badminton or squash a go? A burst of activity will make you feel far better (and warmer!) than just sitting around at home.

NUTRITION:

The secret to fighting off infections is to keep the immune system strong. To enhance your immune function this winter try eating plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables and increasing your intake of foods containing zinc (such sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, beans, poultry, yogurt and wholegrains).

Try to avoid too much refined sugar, as this has been shown to reduce energy levels and suppress immune function.

© Sarah West Nutrition

Under the weather

HEALTH:

As winter draws nearer and temperatures drop, colds and ‘flu-like symptoms are rife. Whilst it may seem tempting to push on through it, exercising when you feel unwell will only set you back in terms of recovery, causing you even more time away from your fitness programme.

If you want to make real progress, take a few days off and get back to it once you’re feeling 100%.

EXERCISE:

Exercise prompts a temporary rise in immune system cells that attack foreign invaders within the body, meaning that those who are physically active five or more days a week are a third less likely to catch a respiratory infection (such as the common cold).

Although these levels return to normal within a few hours, each session is likely to provide an additional immune boost to fight off infection. So when you’re feeling well, keep your training regular!

NUTRITION:

Maintaining adequate vitamin stores in the body is essential for an effective immune response: well-nourished individuals are far better prepared to both fight and recover from infections.

Be sure to include varied and nutritious foods such as lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes and nuts and seeds in your diet, all of which will provide you with vital nutrients and help boost your protection against germs.

© 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