Having a healthy immune system is important at the best of times, but with the colder coughs and sneezes season rearing its head, staying on top of your immunity is a must if you want to stay productive.
The U.K. Government notes that there is a marked increase in illness in the winter months, with peak levels of infection seen between December and February – certainly not the kind of festive gift you might be hoping for. It’s not all bad news though, as there are several things you can do to give your immunity a little lift and stay as safe as possible, no matter where you live.
Supporting Your System
When talking about fending off unwanted illness, it’s worth recognizing that there are two types of immunity – innate and adaptive. Adaptive immunity occurs when your body is exposed to pathogens, offering your thymus, lymph nodes, spleen and bone marrow the opportunity to investigate and identify the nature of the intruder, and create antibodies to fight it effectively.
Once created, these antibodies will attack harmful pathogens, eradicating them and lying in wait should the same pathogen decide to strike again at a later date – and this kind of immunity is not really something you can influence, other than ensuring you get any seasonal vaccinations that may be available to you.
Innate immunity, on the other hand, is something you really can have influence over. This refers to all the different defence mechanisms your body has access to that can stop pathogens in their tracks before they have the opportunity to infiltrate – including healthy skin that sweats effectively, tears (which lubricate the eyes), mucous, and a well-balanced digestive system.
Sweat, tears and mucous provide a barrier to pathogens, sanitizing and trapping unwanted substances before they can have an effect. Stomach acid, meanwhile, fights food-based pathogens, destroying them prior to any nefarious action. So how can you ensure your skin, body, and internal organs are all in the best condition possible to allow the most effective immune response?
Body Boosting Activities
First off, fatty, processed and fried foods can leave you feeling flabby and lethargic – and your immunity – and productivity – will suffer too. Eating a well-balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables (especially green veg), grains and lean proteins will help you maintain healthy, glowing skin that’ll provide a first line of defence against pathogens – and if you limit the number of sugary snacks and sweets you consume, you’ll reduce the risk of inflammation and poorer immune health.
It’s also important not to forget the benefits of good hydration – the brain is made up of 73% water, so remembering to drink water regularly throughout the day (with the added bonus of remembering to get up regularly too and take a short break) will not only boost your immune health but your productivity as well.
If your diet is leaving you feeling as refreshed as it can, then the next thing to consider is exercise – are you doing enough? Whether you opt of slower paced activity such as yoga, or a high impact session of tennis, your skin will see the benefit, becoming coated in an immunity-boosting sheen of sweat whilst your circulation is improved, raising your overall health responses both inside and out. Wearing yourself out during waking hours should also have a positive impact on sleep, too – something else that is important to leave your system feeling ready to get going with work.
Whether you’re feeling groggy and want to improve your wellbeing, or you’re already at the top of the healthy scale and want to stay that way, reviewing your lifestyle and making some small tweaks and changes can make a very big difference. If you eat better, exercise more, and cut down on unhealthy habits, you’ll most likely feel an improvement, both inside and out.