Tune Up Your Immune System

December 4, 2011 0 Comments

  • Go nuts for vitamin E
Immune cells can’t function without proper nutrition, says Simin Meydani, director of the USDA Human Nutrition Research Centre at Boston’s Tufts University. “In an outbreak, a deficiency of nutrients can be as dangerous as not washing your hands,” she says. You need at least 15mg of vitamin E daily, she says-that’s a generous handful of almonds.
  • Don’t skimp on selenium
This trace mineral builds immune system enzymes, says Dr Patricia Sheridan. She recommends about 55mcg, the amount in a tuna sandwich.
  • Remember the “sunshine vitamin”
Vitamin D is needed to produce germ-killing proteins. Experts recommend a few minutes of sun most days, outside the peak periods of UV.
  • Work out (but don’t burn out)

Even a little exercise can wake up the immune system, says Thomas Lowder at the University of Houston. In a 2006 study, women either exercised moderately five times a week or stretched once a week. Exercisers were two-thirds less likely as the stretchers to be sneezing. “Nobody can say for sure how much exercise it takes to improve the immune system, “Lowder says. “But it’s not much, and it happens very quickly.”

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