Keeping your immunity at its best

11Mar

From constant colds, to gastro bugs, mouth ulcers and ear infections, you probably know someone who seems to get sick all the time. Maybe that person is you! If you stop and think about just how many germs and disease-causing microorganisms you come into contact with every single day, you’d be surprised that anyone is ever able to enjoy good health. Luckily, we have an immune system which is generally effective at protecting the body from these potential invaders. However, when someone has a weakened immune system, their body’s ability to fight disease is compromised and they are more likely to get sick more often.

So what can you do to make sure your immunity is strong and functions at its best? There are four key areas which you need to prioritise in order to keep illness at a distance. These are nutrition, exercise, stress management and rest.

Eating a well-balanced diet is the best way to help your body’s natural ability to defend itself against infection. Making sure to include fruit, vegetables and whole grains and to reduce saturated fats and excessive sugar, will provide your body with crucial vitamins and minerals. Among the best foods to improve your immunity are citrus fruits, garlic, ginger, turmeric, broccoli, spinach, almonds, red capsicums, mushrooms, chicken, yoghurt with live and active cultures and green tea.

Physical activity is vital in maintaining good health and to ensure all systems are functioning efficiently. Exercise helps with the circulation of blood and the transmission of nutrients and cells to where they are needed most. Make sure that you participate in activity which is suitable for your age, fitness level and stage of life, as too much strenuous activity can have a negative impact on your immunity. Talk to your doctor about what types of exercise are most suitable for you.

Too much stress can negatively impact your health by suppressing the immune system and the production of white blood cells. Tension, high blood pressure and increased heart rate, all associated with elevated levels of stress, mean the body has to work harder to perform basic functions, taking important energy away from disease-fighting work. Always make sure you have healthy methods of managing stress in your daily life.

Adequate rest and recovery is vital for your body to perform at its best. During sleep, your body is busy repairing cells and restoring hormone levels in order to keep infection at bay. Sleep deprivation undermines these basic processes.

Some other steps you can take to prevent infection include:

  • Taking dietary supplements
  • Keeping up to date with vaccinations
  • Limiting exposure to infections by avoiding contact with people who are infected
  • Washing your hands regularly (after using the toilet, before meals, etc)
  • Practicing good dental hygiene
  • Avoid cigarette smoke
  • Spend some time in the sun to stimulate production of vitamin D (10-15 minutes in summer is enough)

A poor or weakened immune system is not to be confused with other more serious conditions like immunodeficiency or autoimmune disease. If you have severe and recurring infections which do not respond to treatment, visit your doctor. Early diagnosis is always helpful in treating such conditions effectively and minimizing the risk of long-term issues.

For assistance in identifying the best products to boost your immunity, speak to one of our friendly staff at Chemistworks.