6 Top Tips to Boost your Immune System this Winter
With winter well and truly upon us and many people in my gym out with coughs, colds and bugs, here are some tips to keep that immune system topped up and ready to battle against the darkest of impeding winters!
My Top 6 Tips:
1. Make sure you get enough sleep: 5/6 hours just wont cut it when your trying to battle viruses. Make sure you plan your day so that you can get to bed in good time for your 8 hours.
2. Supplement with Vitamin D3: It’s a well known fact that we don’t get enough sun in the UK to provide enough Vitamin D. It’s even harder to get the Vitamin D we need at this moment in time and will remain that way until well into next year. Get your vitamin D down you to combat this and look to take around 2500-5000IU’s every day!
3. Up the Fruit and Veg: The old 5 a day really doesn’t apply for anyone who has anything over a sedentary lifestyle. Aim for at least 10 portions, and ideally 14-15 every day! A good way of introducing more F&V into your diet is through smoothies. Buy frozen fruit to keep the cost down, throw in some ice and an orange juice for a base and you have a refreshing drink that will really help fight off illness. You can even use protein powders and superfoods like Goji berries to add even more nutritional value to it too. Your ‘real food’ intake (non-supplements) should be a high priority at all times. Planning is key, make sure you have the foods in the house that you need otherwise you will end up not refuelling properly after tough sessions.
4. Good quality Fish Oil: Everyone knows about fish oils these days but there’s still a lot of people that don’t regularly use it. It is an excellent supplement for general health. It does everything you can possibly imagine from increasing the fat burning capacity of the cells to helping with hormone production, and even reducing inflammation throughout the body! To put it bluntly if your not taking this supplement you need to start…..now! Different doses are recommended and some are very high indeed. If you buy a QUALITY fish oil you don’t need to take it every 5 minutes. MyProtein do a decent version called Super Omega 3 which I believe is very good. Science in Sport have released a sachet from of it which is excellent although it tastes awful! Both are available from their respective websites.
5. Don’t stay in the gym too long: Adding even more stress to your body is a sure fire way to lower that immune system right down and give yourself a cold. Over-reaching and/or overtraining is a good way to make yourself ill irrespective of the time of year let alone in colder temperatures through the winter. Keep your training sessions short and sharp and get the work done as fast as you can.
6. Supplement with Echinacea: This is one of those supplements that until a year or so ago I had never had first hand experience with. However people had been recommending it to me more and more and eventually I gave it a try. There’s not a lot of research to support its use at this point which I’m usually dubious about, but it actually seems to work. It is suggested that it boosts white blood cell production which has the effect of improving the body’s ability to fight infection. Combining Echinacea with Vitamin C is a good strategy. I would recommend around 2 grams a day of Echinacea and 2 grams a day of Vitamin C or possibly even more if you are involved in strenuous activities on a regular basis. Other supplements that are worth considering are glutamine and colostrum which both have been shown to help in the recovery process.
So there you have it, some sure fire ways to keep you fighting fit through the winter and making gains in your training and your life!
What about you, which methods do you find work best? What do you do to ward off the colds through the winter?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.