We all require many different nutrients each and every day to remain optimally healthy. The difficult part can be working out how many of them you personally need. Also we differ greatly in our ability to absorb these nutrients due to genetic background, current health problems and training regimes. The healing of injuries, whether caused through training or by other means, demands a different balance of nutrients yet again. Assessment on an individual basis is necessary, taking into account one's personal biochemistry. What most people do not realise is how difficult it is to obtain these vitally important factors, which amplify our immune systems in a positive manner, from everyday foods.

Nowadays most of what is eaten, if not all, is purchased in supermarkets where you are at the mercy of the food industry. The practices modern farming employs, methods used for storing, processing and cooking and the formulations used for convenience packaged and canned food are seriously to blame for foodstuffs which are both deficient and produce out-of-balance distorted nutrients. These are heavily contaminated with additives and toxins that further compromise the immune system.

So, in view of this, what measures can you take to ensure that your on-going health and strength prevail in these conditions? By far the best idea is to look to strengthening your immune system so that you are better protected from toxins in your food and the many and varied environmental toxins affecting us all detrimentally every day of our lives. To achieve this requires a two step approach: (1) the use of foods which add to the already overburdened system need to be removed, or drastically reduced and (2) a period of detoxification, during which the food chosen will be very nutrient-dense, minimising both exogenous and endogenous toxins. These foods should be replete in essential micro-nutrients. You can improve your health, and your lifting through systemic detoxification.

To be fit, healthy and with unlimited energy for training - and a strong immune system, it is necessary to embrace the following criteria:-

A great priority is the ingestion of pure water. Optimal intake depends upon a person's bodyweight, exercise/energy expenditure and the type of food one eats. As a generality, four pints of water should be consumed on a daily basis, over and above any other liquid taken. This water is to be non-fizzy, uncontaminated by stimulants, sugars, flavourings or heavy minerals, as in some bottled waters - and absolutely not unfiltered tap water! Reverse osmosis/distilled are superlative means of water preparation.

Eat fresh, whole foods, ensuring a wide variety. Whenever possible, eschew processed and packaged foods, those that are 'enriched' and refined., and otherwise interfered with.

Especially abstain from hydrogenated, or partially-hydrogenated products, such as margarine, and everything that contains them. These will seriously upset the way your body handles its essential fatty acids, culminating in impaired mineral placement and usage. The very best foods have no labels!

Discontinue usage of pasteurised, homogenised, fortified, vitamin-added milk and its products. Cows are fed low-nutritive dry foods, laced with genetically-engineered BST and other hormones to boost milk production. These foods will hinder testosterone production and insulin function.

Consume a diet high in essential fatty acids - absolutely vital to your immune system. The balance between Omega 3's (linseeds/hemp) and Omega 6's (blackcurrant seed oil/evening primrose/sesame, etc) is crucial for optimum uptake. These fats are anti-catabolic, are part of protein metabolism and prevent muscle breakdown. Without EFA's, protein can become toxic (a warning for those who eat lots of protein to 'build muscles' and avoid fats because of mis-information by rampant fat phobia). EFA's improve performance by improving calmness under pressure, are required for testosterone production and insulin function, both of which are important for muscular development. They have anti-inflammatory properties, minimise joint, tendon and ligament strain, and help heal those after performance.

Cut down, or better out, sugar and refined carbohydrates. Anything made with white flour or white rice and all commercially-prepared biscuits, cakes, jams, ice-cream and soft drinks adversely disturb the metabolism of essential fatty acids, and therefore your hormone profile, cause massive magnesium losses and worsen copper deficiencies.

Most of all, listen to your body, it is well-equipped with an efficient immune system able to resist disease and heal injury if we give it what it needs to do so. True wealth is what we are, not what we have - and we each have control over the type of person we become. Good luck with your endeavours to self-strengthen!

Pat Reeves, DN.DthD,
Practitioner of Nutritional and Functional Medicine

Common Therapy

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