As shift workers we are prone to getting sick. Our immune systems are notorious for being run down, and if we are exposed to any bug that is remotely infectious – bam! We usually fall down in a heap with an almighty thud!
But is there another way to fight off infection instead of having to march off to the doctors to get another prescription for antibiotics?
Definitely. And it starts with eating right and taking better care of yourself.
Now for most people, according to Nutritionist Cyndi O’Meara, author of ‘Changing Habits Changing Lives’ – good health doesn’t require antibiotics and medications. Whenever you fall sick with a small ailment, you need to look at your lifestyle rather than running to your GP for another pill to pop.
You see I’ve never been a fan of popping pills. In fact I’ve actually never been a fan of doctors – period. Nothing personal of course but just getting within a 10km radius of a hospital sends me into cold sweats and nausea, and I would even go so far as ‘diagnosing’ myself as someone who has a phobia of hospitals.
But what certainly amazes me is the number of people who head for the doctors when they get a common cold, only to be prescribed a bottle or two of antibiotics. Because the common cold and other small ailments are just the body’s way of saying – “Stop! Give me a break! Please start to look after my body by eating more fruit and vegies, and give me a chance to fight this bug naturally.”
As shift workers I personally believe that we depend too heavily on drugs to get us well, rather than in the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle which has an emphasis on nutrition.
Did you know that there are foods that can boost your immune system, and others that can drain your immunity?
Some fantastic immunity boosters include fresh fruit and vegetables and cooked grains such as rice or barley. Try making yourself a good old-fashioned barley and vegetable soup with lots of garlic because this is one of the best ways to combat a cold. (Now you might want to ensure that you have a bottle of mouth freshener packed in your bag … particularly if you’re on early shift the next day!!)
And on the other hand, immunity draining foods include all processed foods – particularly anything that is packaged in a box or in a bottle. From cereals to breads, as well as fats and all dairy foods.
So when you’re starting to feel a bit unwell, begin by having fruit for breakfast, rice salad for lunch, and barley and vegetable soup for dinner. Plus make sure that you’re drinking plenty of pure fresh water throughout the day. This is really important – you’ve got to help flush out all of those toxins in your body.
And give your body a chance to fight its own battles without having to rely on outside help from antibiotics or other medications.
The old saying – “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it”, certainly also applies to your immune system. If you constantly allow antibiotics to fight your infections, then one day your immune system will just pack it in because it will not know what to do.
So start taking responsibility for your own health and if you’re starting to feel a little unwell, then change your diet and stock up on immunity boosting foods! Your body will certainly thank you for it 🙂