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HENDERSON, Nev., August 24, 2021 – With school back in session and summer fading fast into fall, there’s no time like the present to take all the necessary precautions to bolster a healthy immune system. Here to help are a handful of experienced professionals associated with NUTRISHOP®, a national retail wellness, weight loss, and sports nutrition franchise that’s helped countless individuals reach their health and fitness goals since its inception in 2003. These are their tips for helping to prime the body’s immune system and keep it thriving.
1. Adapt healthy lifestyle changes.
Research showed that many individuals across the United States actually gained weight during the pandemic, and alcohol consumption increased across the population. Rather than turn to unhealthy habits, Bryon McLendon, founder and CEO of Nutrishop, encourages people to make their health and immune systems their top priority by adapting permanent healthy lifestyle changes.
“If you’re not sleeping the recommended eight hours a night, then start practicing positive sleep hygiene habits like shutting your phone or television off one hour before bedtime. If you’re over-exercising all the time, slow down and allow your body to rest and recover. If your stress levels are through the roof, then start managing stress effectively. If you’re dealing with extra weight gain, consider losing it,” McLendon said. “If the pandemic isn’t the biggest wake-up call for all of us to get in shape and practice healthy lifestyle choices, I don’t know what is. We at Nutrishop are here to help!”
2. Eat this, not that.
Many institutions and health and nutrition experts tout the benefits of eating foods high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to keep the immune system functioning properly. But there are also foods that should be limited or avoided altogether.
“People who are looking to support their immune system should try to reduce or eliminate their consumption of overly processed foods – think fried, fatty or fast – and replace them with more nutrient-dense, antioxidant-filled options,” said Amy Jo Palmquest, a Nutrishop franchisee and an ACE-certified personal trainer with a degree in exercise science and nutrition. “Food options with specific vitamins should also be a high priority.”
These high-priority, vitamin-rich foods include the following:
- Vitamin D and Magnesium: Dark leafy greens such as spinach, beans, whole grains, dark chocolate, fatty fish (salmon, for example), nuts, bananas, and avocados.
- Vitamin B6: Potatoes with skin, chicken, salmon, and tuna.
- Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, including oranges and strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach.
- Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, peanut butter, and spinach.
While these foods are commonly associated with immune-support function, perhaps a little lesser-known immune-system primer is the macronutrient protein. “Protein is critical for immune health,” Palmquest said. “Amino acids help create and maintain the cells that are responsible for immune function, so missing out on this macronutrient can lower your body’s ability to stay healthy.”
3. Exercise often, but don’t overdo it.
Exercise provides positive effects on health, including boosting immune function, reducing inflammation, and decreasing fat stores. Still, more is not always better, according to Dr. Meredith Butulis, a sports medicine physical therapist and NSCA certified strength and conditioning coach who is also a Nutrishop ambassador and writes regularly for Nutrishop’s Learning Center.
“Over-training actually lowers the body’s immune defenses and can lead to an increased frequency of illnesses,” Butulis said. “Listen to your body. Stop pushing through lack of sleep, fatigue, and chronic soreness just to get one more workout in. Instead, take time to re-work your sleep schedule and replace some of those hard workouts with walking, stretching and fun, enjoyable activities.”
4. Pay attention to gut health.
The gut is composed of billions of cells that directly influence immunity. These cells regenerate every five to seven days. With such a fast turnover rate, everything people ingest can create an environment that either promotes or detracts from the gut’s immune response. For example, plant-based foods high in fiber and nutrients signal the body for immune health. But, eating the same foods every day, foods that the body is sensitive to, or empty-calorie foods, can potentially reduce the body’s effective gut-mediated immune response, explained Butulis.
“I recommend regularly consuming foods that contain zinc, folate, and vitamins A, B, C, and D. These nutrients are essential for supporting gut cells and their ability to support a healthy immune system,” said Butulis, a certified nutrition coach since 2002. “If individuals have specific nutrient deficits due to their nutrition intake or even where they live, then supplementation may play a role.”
5. Consider supplementing those nutrition gaps.
Research shows that many Americans turned to supplementation during the pandemic. Nutrishop corporate, as well as franchised stores across the United States, witnessed an influx of customers seeking immune-support products.
“We definitely noticed a spike in demand for immune-boosting ingredients and supplementation here at Nutrishop Mt. Juliet (TN),” said Nutrishop franchisee Jay Vicino, who opened his store in 2015. “Also, there’s no denying the nutritional gaps our society experiences daily, whether it’s a busy work schedule, parenthood, or just the food industry that’s lacking a lot of micronutrients that can be found sufficiently in nutritional products today.”
Nutrishop is proud to fill the need of those looking for quality immune support products and carries many exclusive ones like Nature’s Fuel™, Nature’s Superfruits™, Nature’s Supergreens™, Fruit & Vegetable Superfoods™, Immūn™, Quercetin, Elderberry, and more. Nutrishop franchisees like Vicino not only recommend these products to their customers, but they take them regularly, too.
Earlier this year, McLendon began supplying a monthly regimen of Vitamins D3, Zinc, Quercetin, and Vitamin C to all corporate employees at no expense to them. He did this because he believes supporting immune function in every possible way is imperative today, into the fall season, and beyond.
“Unfortunately, too many people take a reactive approach when it comes to their immune system and overall health. If this is you, STOP!” McLendon said. “You must be proactive. You might be reading this today and feel fine and thus, it’s not a priority. But, remember, you only feel good ... until you don’t!”
Since 2003, NUTRISHOP® has helped countless individuals live a fit, healthy, happy lifestyle. Nutrishop stores offer customers a low-price guarantee on a wide array of cutting-edge dietary supplements along with exceptional, individualized customer service, easy-to-follow meal plans, body composition assessment tools, and sound nutritional guidance. The Nutrishop business model focuses primarily on franchisee-owned and operated stores that provide consumers with the tools required to achieve their health and fitness goals. For more information, visit NutrishopUSA.com and follow on Instagram @NutrishopUSA.
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*Top Photo – From left: Bryon McLendon, Amy Jo Palmquest, Meredith Butulis, and Jay Vicino