There’s a worrying tickle at the back of your throat, but it's Friday afternoon -- all you can think about is that the weekend is less than 24 hours away! You begin to daydream about this weekend’s lineup: a getaway to Bali, an all-you-can-eat buffet...
Until reality hits you the very next day.
A congested nose and aching muscles tell you that you won't be going anywhere anytime soon. Feverish, you sink back into bed, bemoaning why you always seem to be next on the office’s hit list every time a flu bug comes to visit. This article will tell you why, and how you can keep your immune system healthy so you'll never waste a perfectly good weekend again!
1. Not Enough Sunlight
The modern day vampire just might be a regular office worker. Not only do we spend the day cooped up in the office, once work ends (if it ever does), we retreat into the confines of our home.
Unlike vampires of lore, we actually need sunlight to give us Vitamin D. Vitamin D strengthens our bones and teeth, and promotes resistance against illnesses. Getting sufficient Vitamin D is important for your immune system's health.1
Solution: We’re all hard pressed for time, and lounging in the sun sounds improbable when you have assignments to complete. So here’s an easier alternative: vitamin supplements. A complete multivitamin should contain your daily dose of Vitamin D and more.
2. Lack of Sleep
A study found that how much you sleep can determine whether you fall sick or not. Your immune system releases proteins called Cytokines when you're sleeping to help you combat inflammation and infection. The lack of sleep decreases Cytokine production, leading to a weaker immune system.
Solution: For adults, 7-8 hours of sleep is recommended. For some, this means no more K-drama binge-watching before bed.
For others, poor sleep quality indicates a nutritional deficiency. For instance, you might find it difficult to stay asleep when your magnesium levels are too low. If so, try a handful of magnesium-rich almonds a day for a good night’s rest.
Being under constant stress causes the excess production of stress hormones, disrupting your body’s natural processes. For example, the release of the adrenaline hormone under stress elevates your blood pressure, and your heart works harder. This dulls your immune system, making you more susceptible to illnesses.
Solution: To keep stress at bay, stay away from processed foods. Most contain high levels of sugar that cause your blood sugar level to fluctuate, triggering your body’s stress response.
Take some time to prepare yourself a nutritious meal. Complement this with a multivitamin to ensure your body performs at its optimum.
4. Poor Dietary Habits
Most of us eat out almost every day, and the food choices available are high in fat, sugar and salt. In excess, this causes your immune system to malfunction, and you'll fall sick easily. To illustrate, consuming too much sugar inhibits a biological process called phagocytosis. Phagocytosis protects the body from diseases -- it involves bacteria and viruses being engulfed and ingested by our white blood cells, which are the cells of the immune system.iii
Solution: Once in awhile, pick healthier options like century egg porridge, which is relatively lower in saturated fat and sodium as compared to hawker centre favourites such as Mee Pok and Prawn Mee. Also, consider re-balancing your nutrient intake with a multivitamin supplement, which is formulated especially for busy young adults to fill the nutritional gaps in their diets.
It’s no mystery - you fall sick easily due to poor lifestyle habits or vitamin deficiencies that compromise your immune system's health. Now that you've been enlightened, it's time to kick your illness-inducing ways, take multivitamins daily to fill your nutritional gaps, and keep your body in tip-top shape.
iiPrather AA, Janicki-Deverts D, Hall MH, Cohen S, Behaviorally Assessed Sleep and Susceptibility to the Common Cold, 2015;38:1353-9
iiiAlbert Sanchez, J. L. Reeser, H. S. Lau, P.Y. Yahiku, R.E. Willard, P. J. McMillan, S. Y. Cho, A. R. Magie, and U. D. Register, Role of Sugar in Human Neutrophilic Phagocytosis, 1973
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