Staying On Track with a Healthy Immune System

With The Not So Usual Suspects

Eating well and exercising regularly is all part of staying healthy and feeling good.   Cold and flu seasons as well as overtraining can knock us out of commission for days weakening our immune system; making it hard to get back on track. 
Immune enhancing nutrients vitamins A, C, E and beta carotene have been well established in science and in our daily nutrition plans.  However, there may be more that your diet needs to help you stay healthy and active.  Vitamins D and B12, zinc and protein plus carbohydrates are essential dietary components to a healthy functioning immune system.  

Vitamin D is well known for helping the body absorb calcium to build and maintain healthy, strong bones.  But did you know that this super vitamin has also been shown to help your immune system? Getting enough of this vitamin can protect you from prolonged colds or upper respiratory infections as well as decrease inflammation that can occur in high intensity workouts.  Men and women 19-50 years of age should aim for 600-4000 IU/day.   Some good food sources include white fish, salmon, tuna, milk, chocolate milk, and orange juice fortified with vitamin D.  Just one cup of white or chocolate milk provides ~105 IU of vitamin D.

Vitamin B12 may not be on your radar when you think of your immune system.  A deficiency can lead to a lack of motivation, low mood and energy, and a lack of mental alertness. Even a small deficiency can result in reduced exercise performance and prolonged recovery time for high intensity workouts.  Men and women 19 years of age and over should aim for 2.4 micrograms (mcg) a day of vitamin B12.   Best sources of this vitamin include eggs, milk, meat, fish, shellfish, poultry and fortified cereals.  Just one cup of milk provides 1.0-1.4 mcg!  

Zinc helps fight infection and inflammation by preventing the immune system from spinning out of control.  A deficiency can lead to low energy, chronic fatigue, poor memory and compromised immunity. Most of us can easily meet our daily needs through food alone. Men and women 19 years of age and older should aim for 11 to 8 mg/day, respectively.  Best food sources include seafood, meat, beans, peas and lentils.  1 cup of milk will add 1.0 mg to help add to your immune enhancing meal plan!  When it comes to food and your immune system, it all adds up! 

Protein + Carbohydrate are the dynamic duo when it comes to high energy performance, speedy recovery and optimal immune health. The body uses the amino acids that make up protein to carry out repairs and enhance immune functions.  Athletes who fail to include enough carbohydrate in their diet suffer from an increase in stress hormones such as cortisol, weakening the immune system.  Rich protein food sources come from meat and alternatives and milk and alternatives food groups.  Carbohydrate food sources come from vegetables and fruit, grains, and milk and alternatives. 
Chocolate milk boasts many immune enhancing nutrients to keep you on track and can be used to fuel your post-workout recovery. Just one cup (250 ml) provides 18% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D, almost 50% of the RDA for the vitamin B12, and 9% of the RDA for zinc, along with 9g of quality protein and 28g of energizing carbohydrate. 

For enhanced performance, make chocolate milk part of your regular workout routine. Bookmark to get updates, event details and all the latest news from the original recovery drink.