TIPS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Improving your immune system will not only help reduce the severity and number of colds and flus you get each year, it’s also been linked to staving off more serious issues like coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes writes Jo Formosa.
Improving your immune system will not only help reduce the severity and number of colds and flus you get each year, it’s also been linked to staving off more serious issues like coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
When it comes to treating health issues, the biggest commodity for high-end executives is time – that’s the resource they have the least amount of.
The key is being organised and having systems in place that work.
That might be having things set up in a way that there are people to take care of you – this might be knowing where you can find healthy foods when you travel, getting a bone broth soup delivered to the office, having a receptionist make ginger tea and pre-organising sessions with a personal trainer in the evenings.
Once onboard executives are really good at taking care of their health as they are highly driven. The biggest hurdle is understanding what changes need to be made and the early implementation process.
Here are some of the key areas which need to be addressed when looking to get your body working to peak performance:
It’s commonly known that stress wreaks havoc on mind and body – but until recently it wasn’t clear exactly how the stress influenced disease and health. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in the US found that chronic psychological stress is associated with the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response.
These findings are not surprising, and if the body isn’t regulating inflammation it can promote the development and progression of all sorts of diseases such as auto-immune, cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, sinusitis and asthma.
The first thing to do when stress levels rise, is find a way to downgrade that stress. I recommend incorporating activities into your weekly routine that take you out of the office, away from the airports and out into nature.
Yoga is really great and so is mediation. The key thing is doing something which makes your breathing rhythmical and brings your heart rate down. This reduces pressure on your heart and solves other problems like anxiety, panic attack, foggy head and confusion; it also improves all immune responses so it increases your ability to combat disease.
ADOPT A HEALTHY DIET
A new study published in the
Journal of Immunology, has shown that a junk food diet, high in saturated fat begins to harm our immune system even before the weight gain starts to show.
Scientists from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging found that the overconsumption of saturated fats may actually be a form of malnutrition that triggers the immune system to start attacking healthy parts of the body.
A western-style high fat diet is going to impact your body’s ability to fight off attacking sickness – it’s not going to be working well if not fueled with the right foods.
In Ayurveda there are six tastes – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, astringent. A good diet incorporates a good combination of the tastes, however some more than others.
Bitter, pungent and astringent tastes work to detoxify the body – so eat a lot of natural spices and herbs, vegetables, leafy greens and bone broth. These naturally detoxify the body and have you craving more of the nutrients that help your digestion work at its peak.
The sweet, sour and salty tastes, while you can get them in good food, often tend to be what you get from takeaway stores and canned and packet foods. These are convenient, but not what your body needs.
When the body doesn’t get enough sleep, cortisol levels are high and zinc gets depleted – you need zinc for your immune system to help you heal your body.
While for many executives, like PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey sleep, is famously sacrificed in order to excel at work and still manage to have a personal life, this is not recommended in the long run.
There never seems to be enough hours in the day, but not all hours count the same when it comes to sleep.
The sleep between 10pm and 2am is the most important – this is when the body will detox the liver. So if you’re having late nights and not letting your body have a chance to do its natural detox process you’re stopping the machine from doing its job.
Between 2am and 6am is when
the by-products of elimination starts happening. If you wake up at 3am with your mind ticking, this is because cortisol levels are peaking in the early hours of the morning. To turn this around I recommend a neuro-tonic and doing some breathing exercises to reduce cortisol.
WORK ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP
The old adage, ‘happy wife, happy life’ is really fundamentally true. Happiness, or being at peace and feeling good about our environment at home makes a huge difference to health and immunity.
I’m not talking about always being over-the-moon ecstatic, but at least content and peaceful.
The quality of relationships around you – mainly with your significant other or children – can drive stress into your life, which if ignored, will come out in other parts of your body.
As we’re told to continually lean in to work, push harder and achieve more it’s easy to chase the things that ultimately won’t keep us happy – or healthy – in the long run.
The Harvard Study of Adult Development, quite possibly the longest study of adult life that’s ever been done – it has tracked the lives of 724 men for some 75 years – has some really interesting findings.
According to Robert Waldinger, the fourth director of the study, the biggest lessons aren’t about wealth or fame or working harder and harder. In his words: “The clearest image that they could get from the study are that good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”
EXERCISE EVERY DAY
It doesn’t matter what you do, but just move. If you’re in a sedentary desk job, aim for one hour of exercise every day; do something that makes you sweat.
Your body’s immune system is more powerful than many imagine – with a clear goal and dedicated action plan it’s possible to have it functioning at peak performance.