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How to boost your immune system

How to boost your immune system

Fall is approaching, bringing with it the sight of colorful falling leaves, the scent of roasted chestnuts, delicious pumpkin dishes, and autumn walks with the rustling leaves underfoot. As beautiful as autumn is, it also marks the beginning of the cold and flu season. But not for you this year! Discover in our article how you can boost your immune system, what you need to know about strength training during the cold and flu season, and how to stay fit throughout autumn and winter.

Overview of the immune system

The immune system's role is to protect the body from pathogens. This requires a sophisticated system capable of responding to various invaders such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. The so-called innate immune system includes our skin and mucous membranes, serving as a physical barrier to invaders. Certain defense cells and signaling molecules that react nonspecifically also belong to this part of the immune system. While the adaptive immune system is somewhat slower, it is specific and can remember pathogens. This is why we don't get chickenpox twice.

Both parts of the immune system are influenced by lifestyle and can be strengthened to keep you free from colds and flu during autumn and winter. We have prepared 5 tips for you.

1. Regular exercise to strengthen the immune system

Krafttraining stärkt das Immunystem

If you already have the flu or a cold, your body needs rest. In this case, exercising strains the body and can even be harmful. However, as a preventive measure, nearly any form of exercise is ideal. Strength training like AURUM Training helps strengthen the immune system by releasing new muscles that reduce the risk of illness. In addition, we recommend gentle cardio sessions outdoors. This could be a fall walk through the forest, where we breathe in terpenes, compounds released by trees and plants that can be beneficial during cold and flu season. Also, indoor air is usually too dry, which weakens mucous membranes. Regular outdoor activities are therefore an ideal countermeasure.

Strength training at AURUM during cold and flu season

As soon as you notice that you have a cold or your immune system is weak, it's better to reschedule your appointment at AURUM for a few days because the additional stress from HIT weakens the immune system. However, if you're training while healthy, the AURUM training strengthens your immune system.

My personal strategy against infections is AURUM Training combined with tennis. AURUM gives me the strength for outdoor tennis training.

2. Tips for a healthy diet with vitamin C and more

Like all processes in the body, the immune system requires energy, vitamins, and minerals to function optimally. Therefore, a healthy diet doesn't directly strengthen the immune system but is a requirement for a well-functioning system. Many people immediately think of dietary supplements with individual vitamins, but this only helps to a certain extent if your energy balance is off. Crash dieting, for example, repeatedly puts your body in a situation where it needs to conserve energy. The immune system is high on the list of things to cut back on. If you're looking to lose weight healthily, Julian explains it in the video.

What nutrients are necessary for immune defense?

  • Vitamin D: We can produce this vitamin through our skin in summer, but the sun's rays are too weak in autumn and winter. Vitamin D is attributed to have an immunomodulating effect. Various studies show that a deficiency contributes to increased susceptibility to infections. If you start the cold season with low vitamin D levels, consider vitamin D supplements for your immune system and also muscle health.
  • Vitamin A: It is essential for defending against viruses and bacteria through the skin and mucous membranes in the body. The precursor of vitamin A can be found in many pumpkins, fitting for the fall season.
  • Vitamin C: Hot lemon is probably the most famous home remedy for colds, but unfortunately, there's not much to it because vitamin C is heat-sensitive. Those who regularly eat fresh raw fruits and vegetables don't need to worry about their vitamin C intake.
  • B Vitamins: Especially vitamin B6 and B12, along with iron, are necessary for antibody production. Vitamin B12 is found only in animal products, so it must be taken as a supplement for a vegan diet. You can find vitamin B6 in salmon, walnuts, avocados, and potatoes.
  • Zinc: This mineral supports the immune defense and is said to shorten the duration of a cold. Zinc-rich foods include legumes, oats, Brazil nuts, and beef.
  • Selenium: It is found in some protein compounds involved in the regulation of certain immune cells. You get selenium from fish, meat, cabbage, and nuts.
  • Water: Proper hydration keeps your mucous membranes moist and active. When the nasal and throat mucous membranes dry out due to heating, pathogens have an easier time. Therefore, drink at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water, tea, or diluted juice throughout the day.
Immunsystem stärken durch viel Wasser trinken
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: They are the starting material for the formation of some hormone derivatives that are involved in regulating the immune system.
  • Protein: Not only vitamins and minerals from your diet affect the immune system, but also proteins. We usually associate this macronutrient with muscle building, but a specific amino acid, glutamine, is essential for a strong defense. It can be found in soybeans, oats, spirulina, and tuna.

What role does gut flora play in the immune system, and how can you strengthen it?

Although the immune system is distributed throughout the body, researchers now believe that about 70 percent of immune cells are located in our gut. Amazing, right? The microbiome or gut flora trains the immune defenses and actively assists in fighting pathogens. You can strengthen your gut bacteria by consuming fermented foods (sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, or kimchi) and fiber (whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables).

By the way, I always have a jar of delicious kimchi in the fridge and nibble on it while cooking for my health. It's a simple hack that I can highly recommend.

3. Adequate sleep can strengthen the immune system

Lack of sleep doesn't directly cause infections but makes it easier for pathogens. This is because the immune system is weakened with insufficient sleep. In an American study, the risk of a viral infection was about four times higher with less than 6 hours of sleep than with over 7 hours of sleep. This is good news for you: you can sleep 7–8 hours without guilt and improve your health.

4. Cold and heat therapy against viruses

If you've been following us for a while, you already know about the positive effects of cold on the immune system. You can read all about it in our article on cold showers. One thing to note: deliberate exposure to cold can be a real booster for your immune defenses.

On the opposite end, heat can also strengthen the immune system. Sauna enthusiasts, take note: a visit to the sauna is not only relaxing but also strengthens the immune system and the cardiovascular system. You'll learn more about this in the coming weeks if you subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

5. Good mood as immune defense

Gute Laune stärkt die Abwehrkräfte

The most delightful tip for a better immune defense is good mood, as it's indeed connected to our immune system. Researchers have even demonstrated this in a study. People with a positive disposition exhibited a better response to a flu vaccine. Furthermore, it's well-established that stress weakens the immune system. This is where AURUM Training comes into play. We don't want you to spend a lot of time in our studio, making your day stressful. Train with us once a week for 6 minutes and leave the studio in 20-30 minutes. This way, you have the time and energy to live life on your terms. And, as a bonus, our personal trainers provide a mood boost :)

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