In my forth blog post as a Thought Leader for Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts LinkedIn, I take a look at the importance of looking after your immune system when travelling.
The life of a worker who travels can be a never ending cycle of planes, hotel rooms, long hours and stress. Frequent colds and flus and just feeling blah can be a part of the package.
The immune system is a really complex army. There are multiple tank battalions, flotillas of subs and infantry working together in a complex dance to protect you from the would-be invading hordes of germ armies that have their eye on your body for their next colony! Have you ever gone to bed feeling like you’re coming down with something? A sore throat and a headache maybe? But you wake the next day feeling fine…. Most likely the virus army came pounding at the gates and your immune system warriors routed the invaders before they got a toehold.
Who’s NOT interested in boosting the immune system’s power? Given the enticing labels on the myriad products lining the shelves of the shelves of the supplement aisles of your local pharmacy, it is a matter of popping the right pill and carrying on virus free. Oh if only it were that simple. Sadly there’s NO evidence to support any of them. No friends, the path to healthy immunity is a tad stickier.
- Get enough sleep
When it comes to immune system boosting, getting enough sleep is tip 1 through 10. The effects of sleep deprivation on your immune system are instant and measurable. Ditto the powerful effects of a good night’s sleep on your immune warriors. For travellers, can I urge you to choose a hotel with a great bed and pillows, good curtains and hit the sack at a decent hour!?
- Head into the sunshine
Frequent travellers can go days without seeing the light of day. But sunshine is your major source of vitamin D. And low vitamin D levels in the blood have been linked in studies to a lower functioning immune system. While there is some evidence in a petrie dish that vitamin D supplements might help, we don’t know for sure. So my tip; step outside into the sunshine for at least 10 minutes a day for a break and top up your D levels.
- Go easy on the alcohol
We have known for years that heavy drinkers have a never ending list of health issues with lower immune system functioning almost being the least of their problems. But those of us who just get smashed once or twice a week can excuse ourselves on the grounds that our drinking is not daily. WRONG. A study published in the journal, Alcohol found that within just two hours of drinking up to five shots of vodka, the immune system became less active than when sober. Hmm. Another reason to go easy!
- The boring stuff
A good diet (as in reasonable amounts of fruit and veg, dairy etc without the processed junk food) and regular exercise work as immune system boosters. If you want the best out of your body, you need to give it premium fuel. That’s not leading a life of misery and deprivation but simply being as good as you can most of the time.
To your health!!