A Boxer’s Guide To A Strong Immune System

A BOXER’S GUIDE TO A STRONG IMMUNE SYSTEM

A registered dietitian explains how boxers can support their immune system through nutrition and regular physical activity--PLUS the best foods for immunity!

Published: December 9, 2021

Topics: Nutrition, Wellness

Author: Carolina Schneider, MS, RD

With the unfortunate rise in infectious diseases and current public health concerns, there has been an increased interest in how to maximize the immune system. The immune system is one of the most extraordinary systems in the body. It is so highly intricate, yet it functions mostly on its own, as our inner military defense, protecting us from the harms of the external world—bacteria, viruses, chemicals, etc.—also known as pathogens. For all individuals, including the health-conscious ones in our FightCamp family, the immune system is pretty darn important. Here’s what you need to know.

NUTRIENTS FOR THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, play a special role in keeping a healthy immune system. Vitamins, such as vitamins A, C, D and E, along with minerals, such as zinc and selenium, have crucial functions in different parts of the immune system to ensure it operates properly. Research shows that the body requires a constant intake of vitamin A through food in order to support immunity. Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium, protect and strengthen cells of the immune system by neutralizing reactive oxygen species—molecules that may cause severe damage to our cells (Source 1, 2, 3). Vitamin C also plays a role in stimulating the production of white blood cells, a.k.a. soldiers who fight intruders in the body (Source), while zinc aids in the growth and development of immune cells (Source 1, 2). Lastly, there is a clear link between vitamin D deficiency and adverse health outcomes due to the significant role of vitamin D on immunity (Source 1, 2).

BEST FOODS FOR IMMUNITY

FRUITS

Fruit For a Boxer's Immune System
  • Citrus fruits: oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruits, tangerines

  • Berries: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries

  • Orange-yellow fruits: mangos, pineapples, papayas, guavas, bananas, peaches

  • Other fruits: kiwis, cherries

VEGETABLES

Vegetables For a Boxer's Immune System
  • Red-orange vegetables: carrots, sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, tomatoes, pumpkin

  • Green vegetables: spinach, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, turnip greens

  • Other vegetables: mushrooms, potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower

GRAINS AND LEGUMES

Grains & Legumes For a Boxer's Immune System
  • Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, oats, fortified whole grain products

  • Legumes: beans, chickpeas, soybeans, lentils

NUTS AND SEEDS

Nuts For a Boxer's Immune System
  • Nuts: almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, cashews

  • Seeds: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds

SPICES

Spices & Fresh Herbs For a Boxer's Immune System
  • Roots: ginger, onion, garlic, turmeric

  • Fresh herbs: thyme, parsley, cilantro

  • Other spices: cinnamon

OTHERS

Green Tea & Honey For a Boxer's Immune System
  • Fish and shellfish

  • Eggs

  • Manuka honey

  • Green tea

  • Cacao powder

DO I NEED TO TAKE SUPPLEMENTS?

Vitamin C Supplements For Supporting Your Immune System

Are you one of those who pop the vitamin C pills when you feel that cold coming? You’re not alone. Contrary to popular belief, research indicates that supplements such as vitamin C and zinc do not reduce the chances of getting a cold. However, these supplements can be helpful in reducing the duration and severity after the onset of cold symptoms (Source 1, 2, 3). It’s important to know that vitamins and minerals are more bioavailable (better absorbed) when consumed through foods versus supplements. In addition, foods provide other important nutrients and health benefits that supplements lack.

THE ROLE OF EXERCISE

Boxing Workout For Improving Immune System

Several studies have looked at the link between physical activity and the immune system. One study found an inverse relationship between moderate exercise training and risk for illness. Similarly, the study found that habitual exercise may have an anti-inflammatory effect, improving defense activity and metabolic health, which in turn also reduces illness risk. Another study suggested that long-term physical activity improves the immune system and may prevent infections, while a meta-analysis indicated that regular exercise may reduce the severity of respiratory tract infections.

Boxers, we now know that regular physical activity and a nutritious diet—one rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins—work synergistically in supporting the immune system and improving health status (Source). So, make yourself a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries, get your FightCamp boxing gloves on, and get ready to help your body knockout unwanted visitors.

Carolina Schneider, MS, RD

Carolina Schneider, MS, RD is a registered dietitian specializing in plant-based nutrition and wellness. She is passionate about evidence-based nutrition and educating individuals on how to eat well for good health.

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