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How to boost your immune system with nutrition

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By Tara Tangney from Activate Fitness

The immune system is precisely that — a system. To function well, it requires stability.

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While there is no magic bullet for increasing immunity, there are ways to keep your immune system strong so that you are better prepared to fight off infections and heal quickly.

As long as your immune system is running smoothly, you don’t notice that it’s there, but if it stops working properly – because it’s weak or can't fight particularly aggressive germs – you get ill.

Without an immune system, we would have no way to fight harmful things that enter our body from the outside or harmful changes that occur inside our body. Here are five ways to ensure you support a good immune system coming into the wintery months:

1. Eat More Vegetables

While all vegetables have health benefits, some pack a more powerful immune-boosting punch than others. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, and other cruciferous vegetables are rich in fibre, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach and tomatoes are rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A), which helps regulate the immune system and protect against infections.

2. Eat Balanced Meals

Include all macronutrients in your meals. Protein is particularly important for healing and recovery. Protein sources include leaner sources of meat, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, milk, beans, soy, nuts and seeds. These foods are also good sources of zinc, a mineral that promotes healthy immune function and aids in wound healing. Healthy fats are also essential to support our immune health. Try to include a variety of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your daily diet. These are found in avocados, fatty fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. These foods provide good fats but are also rich in phytonutrients and fat-soluble vitamins. For example, a small handful of nuts such as almonds is a great source of vitamin E. Wild-caught salmon is one of the only foods naturally rich in vitamin D. Fatty fish are also rich in essential fats called omega-3s, which are known for their multiple health benefits.

3. Regular Exercise

Exercise is one of the main aspects that support a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise promotes cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and offers protection against a variety of diseases. And just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to a healthy immune system, improves blood circulation allowing immune system cells to move through the body more freely and do their job more effectively.

4. Good Quality Sleep

Getting enough sleep has many health benefits. The lack of sleep puts your body into ‘fight or flight' mode, releasing adrenaline and increased stress hormones into the body. Research shows that in general, adults need at least seven hours of sleep for optimal health and well-being. As we sleep our immune system works to heal and repair the body. A few tips for getting a good night’s sleep include avoiding caffeine in the evenings, turning off your screens (TV, laptop, phones, etc.) well before bedtime and sleeping in a cool, dark room.

5. Manage Your Stress

You may not often think about how stress affects your ability to fight off infection, but your state of mind can have a significant impact on your health. When you are experiencing more stress, your immunity is compromised, which puts you at a higher risk of getting sick. Managing stress may help you fight germs and infections. Stress management techniques include breath work, meditation, yoga, moderate exercise, walking etc. Having a support system of close friends and family can also help us feel connected and stay strong throughout stressful times.

Although there is no magical potion for immunity, you can take these five steps to boost your immune system which is very important as we enter the colder and darker mornings of winter. Don’t underestimate your lifestyle’s impact on your ability to help keep your immune system strong. Good nutrition, quality sleep, and managing stress can all have a significant impact on your health. If you need help with your nutrition, send us an email at nutrition@activate.ie and we will be happy to help you!

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The actor to play Michael Collins revealed

Killarney Musical Society has revealed that the renowned Keith Dwyer Greene will take the lead role in ‘Michael Collins A Musical Drama’. The society is in the final stages of […]

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Killarney Musical Society has revealed that the renowned Keith Dwyer Greene will take the lead role in ‘Michael Collins A Musical Drama’.

The society is in the final stages of preparation  for  its March 5 to 7 performances at the INEC.

Final rehearsals are in full flight at the Heights Hotel and earlier this week Keith Dwyer Greene arrived in full costume.

He had spent the day with the army’s The Band 1 Brigade of The Irish Defence Forces, where he is a full-time flautist.

He is also co-owner and founder of The Bellevue Academy of Performing Arts.

Keith trained in music and musical theatre in University College Cork and The Cork School Of Music.

“He has performed with many musical societies and had many great leading roles. He worked with the late Bryan Flynn who wrote the book, music and lyrics of ‘Michael Collins A Musical Drama’. He has great admiration for him and says what he did with this show is genius. Keith says he adores the role of Michael Collins,” explained PRO Linda O’Donoghue.

Flynn’s book, music and lyrics can only be secured by two musical society’s each year.
Michael Collins A Musical Drama is a moving, dynamic, resonant piece of musical theatre.

It is the dramatization of a changing period of Irelands history. It brings to life The 1916 Rising, The War Of Independence and The Civil War.

“At the same time it is telling an intimate, human love story and how love and politics inflamed the period. This musical drama has war, heroism, love, villainy, tragedy and triumph all wrapped up. It has a distinctly Irish voice. Such numbers as ‘Fly the flag of Freedom ‘ will have the hairs standing on the back of your neck and ‘Every Heart Awaken ‘ will bring tears to your eyes,” added Linda.

Tickets available at The INEC box office and from a pop-up box office at The Laurels Bar, Market Cross from 12 noon to 4pm on Friday and Saturday this week.

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Gleeson Dental now offering facial aesthetics

Gleeson Dental, located on St Anthony’s Place, is now offering facial aesthetics. It is the latest offering from the town centre practice. Dr Susan Gleeson graduated as a general dental […]

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Gleeson Dental, located on St Anthony’s Place, is now offering facial aesthetics.

It is the latest offering from the town centre practice.

Dr Susan Gleeson graduated as a general dental surgeon 27 years ago.

She previously worked in England and Cork before returning home to Killarney in 2009 to take over her father’s dental practice with her sister Katie.

“More recently, I decided to pursue my keen interest in facial aesthetics. Hence, I embarked on an intensive training course,” she told the Killareny Advertiser.
“This mentorship is under the guidance of Dr Sheila Li, a Harley Street based dentist with over 10 years’ experience in facial aesthetics. Every year following an interview process, Sheila takes on six trainees and I was lucky enough to get this amazing training opportunity.”
The course is a year-long process involving in-depth learning and hands-on clinical training days in Dr Sheila’s Harley Street clinic.
The course, also, extends to treatment planning cases with Dr Sheila, thus allowing access to her vast knowledge when planning treatments for Dr Gleeson’s patients.
“Therefore, I am now able to offer a vast array of facial aesthetic treatments at Gleeson Dental. These treatments include the use of Botox to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In addition to this, Botox has a wide range of additional applications, including the treatment of tooth grinding, headaches, gummy smiles, neck bands and excessive underarm sweating,” she added.
Dermal filler treatments are, also, available to treat issues related to volume loss while skin booster treatments such as Sunekos and Profhilo can be used to regenerate and rehydrate tired looking skin.
Facial aesthetics may conjure up images of over-filled expressionless people but Susan hopes to change people’s view of it.

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