Despite what we throw at them, our immune systems do a remarkable job of defending us against the disease-causing microorganisms that are so prevalent in an office environment. But there are some times of the year when our immune systems need a little help.
In the winter or when we’re sleep-deprived or stressed, our immune systems can take a hit and that’s when we’re most likely to be sick. However, it is possible to intervene in this process and give our immune systems a much-needed boost. The effects of lifestyle on the immune system have been studied in depth, with researchers finding a number of factors, such as diet, exercise and psychological stress, which have a marked effect.
So, if you want to enhance your immune function and protect yourself from a stressful working environment, what can you do?
Improve your diet
Like any battle-hardened fighting force, your immune system marches on its stomach. A healthy immune system needs regular nourishment with micronutrients like iron, copper, folic acid, zinc, selenium and vitamin A, B6, C and E, all essential to creating a strong biological defense. Although a good daily vitamin will help to provide you with a number of these nutrients, there’s no substitute for a regular supply of fresh fruit and veg. It’s not always easy to maintain a healthy diet at work, but there is an increasing number of office fruit providers that will deliver a supply to your workplace on a daily or weekly basis.
Listen to music
Believe it or not, the simple act of listening to music can have a positive impact on your immune system. The trick is to find music that you have a positive response to and which stimulates the feel-good part of your brain. By slipping on your headphones at work and listening to your favorite album, you could greatly enhance your natural killer-cell activity.
Keep your body moving
Regular, moderate exercise can give a number of different aspects of your body’s self-defense system a boost. While it’s not easy to keep moving in the workplace when you’re tied to a desk, simply going for a brisk walk on your lunch break or even standing rather than sitting can help to strengthen your cardiovascular system, improve your mood and reduce stress.
Turn off the night light
Your body only produces melatonin, a hormone that prevents certain diseases, when it’s really dark. That means if you’re exposed to light during the night, even if it’s just a bedside clock or a night light, that could switch off your melatonin production and inadvertently increase your risk of conditions as serious as breast cancer. So, after a busy day at work, get quality sleep by turning off your lights, closing the curtains and making sure your bedroom is as dark as it can be.
What do you do to try and keep your immune system at its best? Please share your tips with our readers in the comments below.