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.

Business First - - HEALTH -

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 pre­or­gan­is­ing 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:

RE­DUCE STRESS

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.

MAX­IMISE SLEEP

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.

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