Studies show that lactoferrin, zinc and vitamin C pack a powerful punch against pathogens – that’s why you’ll find them all in our formula. But at Leapfrog, we believe encouraging your body’s immune system to be strong is a key factor in staying healthy. What we do every day makes a difference. We’ve got six free habits to include as part of your routine toward better immune health – simple hacks that can help you bolster your natural defences.
1. Dry Body Brushing
Skin is your largest organ and it’s in the elimination business. Give it a hand by dry brushing your body to stimulate the lymphatic system and support your immune health. Bacteria, toxins and waste from our blood filter through the lymph nodes and are cleaned, but sometimes the process can be sluggish. As many of the lymph vessels run below the skin, brushing can help the body with its detoxification process. So, when we brush our skin – 10 smooth strokes on each section of skin with a firm, natural brush – then we’re directly assisting in removing pathogens and giving our immune system a helping hand.
2. Brave A Cold Shower
No, your boiler isn’t broken, but yes, we are suggesting you take a cold shower. A study has shown that those who had a 30-90 second burst of cold water during their shower reported fewer sick days than those who took warm showers. Cold water – anything below 21 degrees C – helps to boost your white blood cell count (because the body is forced to react to changing conditions) and these blood cells protect your body against diseases. So, have a warm shower and finish with cold – it will accelerate your functions, and, over time, your body will become better at activating its defences.
3. Get Lots of Shuteye
Studies have shown that sleeping less than 7 hours per night means you are nearly three times more likely to develop a cold than those sleeping more. Science says you should be squeezing in 7-8 hours of shuteye per night for optimal immune health. It’s not just that you will think and feel better, you will be protecting yourself from viruses and bacteria. Natural killer (NK) cells are critical to the innate immune system and certain protective proteins called cytokines need to increase if you have an infection, inflammation or if you’re stressed. Sleep deprivation – and we’re talking just one night – can significantly reduce the number of those NK cells and protective cytokines.
4. Keep Moving
Gyms might be shut for now, but we can still sweat a little every day (keeping our two-metre distance from others, of course). Those who engage in moderate exercise five times per week or more are 27% less likely to get a cold than those who don’t exercise – and they recover quicker too if they do get ill. Exercise increased blood and lymph flow and the circulation of immune cells, helping the body to detect and evade viruses and bacteria. The golden time to dedicate is 2.5 hours per week, whether its speed walking, running, cycling or swimming.
5. Get in Nutrients
This goes beyond the well-known 5-a-day fruit and veg/balanced diet of carbs, fats and protein. The good bacteria in our bodies help keep us healthy in many different ways – including training our immune system and deactivating toxins – so nourishing our microbes is vital. To cater to the needs of the 40 trillion bacteria in our gut we should be aiming to eat and drink 30 different plant foods each week: legumes, wholegrains, seeds, nuts plus fruit and veg. Change up your diet daily and keep things varied to better support your immune health over time. Head over to our Instagram for recipes from nutritionists in-the-know.
6. Find Time to Floss
Brushing your teeth only reaches around 60% of each tooth, leaving 40% ‘dirty’. That means the 6 million hungry bacteria that live in your mouth have a buffet between your teeth to thrive on! Bacteria particularly like feasting on carbohydrates like pasta, bread, cereal or sweet treats. Then they reproduce, build up plaque to thrive on and can drop acid onto gums and teeth causing bleeding and infection. If your body is trying to fight bacterial infection in your mouth, then your immune system is compromised. So, to give your immune system the healing resources it needs to fight other infections in the body, keep your teeth clean. Consistent flossing and brushing (in that order) create a food and housing shortage for bacteria in your mouth, so your immune system is primed and ready to fight other battles.