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10 Ways You Weaken Your Immune System
Your immune system is constantly working, fighting, changing, and growing in order to keep you safe from dangerous bacteria, even allergens, so that you can stay alive. We really do take our immune systems for granted until they stop working.
Everyone knows that washing your hands, especially before eating or after using the bathroom, is a great way to help your immune system by killing off germs and bacteria before they enter your body. However, sometimes we do things that actually weaken our immune system and we don’t even know it.
Staying healthy involves a lot more than just using hand sanitizers and avoiding those who are obviously sick. Some of your favorite foods, simple things you don’t pay much attention to, and everyday habits are having a powerful effect on your immune system, more than you can imagine.
Keep reading and see if you are guilty of any of the following habits that are tying up your immune system.
1. Being a Hermit
Humans are social creatures, even if our internet habits are making us otherwise. Human interaction, face to face, not text to text, leads to a reduction in stress. One study shows that the more personal interactions we have, the better our chances of leading a long, healthy life. One study that involved 276 subjects between the ages of 18 and 55 found that those who had 6 or more personal connections were as much as four times better at fighting off cold viruses.
No one is saying that you have to be a party animal or join a bunch of online dating sites; you don’t even have to have your in-laws over for dinner every Sunday, but avoiding all human contact except for what is absolutely necessary so you can watch Dr. Who and The Walking Dead marathons uninterrupted is not doing your immune system any favors.
2. Being Overweight
Obesity leads to a low functioning immune system.
It inhibits the ability of your white blood cells to multiply in response to an infection and the slow production of antibodies. It also delays their response to a foreign invader, giving those bad germs time to take hold and make your body their home.
Diet is a four letter word, so don’t do it. Just make changes one at a time and try to focus on eating a mainly plant based diet, and then add a little bit of exercise every day.
3. Food Allergies
You might think that food allergies are only super annoying, but they can also lead to a depressed immune system. Because of some quirk in your genetics, some parts of your immune system think that something harmless, such as nuts or wheat, is suddenly a foreign invader and your body attacks. Before you consumed the offending food, the lining of your intestine was like a brick wall.
However, after numerous encounters, that wall is continually damaged, which allows real foreign invaders and toxic substances to enter your bloodstream via your damaged intestinal walls. This is called leaky gut syndrome.
4. Eating the Wrong Type of Fat
Let’s look at the type of fats you are eating but that you should be avoiding:
- French fries
- Potato chips
These unhealthy types of fat have little or no nutritional value and lead to high cholesterol, heart disease, weight gain, and an arrested immune system function. One thesis that comes out of the Sahlgrenska Academy showed that eating these bad types of fat seriously inhibits your immune system’s ability to fight bacteria. In this study, mice that were fed a lard-based diet over a long period of time became worse and worse at fighting off bacteria introduced to their blood.
Eat naturally healthy fats such as those in wild salmon, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, and avocados. These kinds of fats provide real nutrition for your brain, body, and immune system.
5. Ignoring Frequent Constipation
The majority of your immune system lies in your digestive system.
When waste becomes stuck in your colon, it prevents the absorption of nutrients. When you ignore the warning signs that frequent constipation is telling you, waste builds up inside your colon over time and it can cause seriously damage to your immune system. Frequent constipation is telling you that your digestive system is out of whack, which means that your immune system is also out of whack. You need a healthy balance of good bacteria in your digestive system in order to keep your immune system healthy.
For good digestion and the proper breakdown of food requires plenty of good bacteria in your gut.
6. Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Don’t pass this one over and think it doesn’t apply to you. It applies to a great many people who think that they don’t drink excessively. Excessive alcohol consumption doesn’t mean getting drunk every night.
Anything more than one drink for women and two drinks each day for men (which would be 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ounce of hard liquor, such as whiskey) is considered excessive and can damage your immune system. This means if you typically have two glasses of wine with dinner and three or four drinks on Saturday night, then you are drinking excessively.
Too much alcohol robs your body of nutrients and it inhibits your white blood cells from multiplying and killing bacteria. Damage to your immune system is in direct proportion to the amount of alcohol you drink. Read how alcohol affects your body.
You knew this one would be here, right? Everyone knows sugar is not good for you, but did you know that sugar decreases your immunity to illnesses? Just 100 grams of sugar (which is only about 2.5 cans of soda) can reduce the ability of your white blood cells to kill off bacteria by as much as 40 percent!
Like alcohol, the more sugar you eat, the more damage you are doing to your immune system.
The negative effects of sugar begin to suppress your immune system just 30 minutes after consumption and last about 5 hours, so think twice before you pop that jelly doughnut into your mouth tomorrow morning.
8. Not Getting Exercise
Although most people try to get some exercise each day, did you know that one out of every four Americans get no exercise at all? The more you sit, the more it impacts your health and your immune system’s ability to function.
Exercise helps your lymph system, which works along with the immune system to keep you healthy and remove those bad things from your body. Your blood is circulated by your heart, but your lymph system has no such pump so it needs you to get moving to help it move lymph fluid though your body.
Exercise can fight high blood pressure, decrease obesity, lower high cholesterol levels, and even fight cancer. Find out also invisible ways exercises improve your life.
9. Lack of Sleep
Lack of sleep seems to show up on more and more lists, doesn’t it? Scientists are only just beginning to find out just how important sleep is to our bodies.
Even you can see signs of it; have you ever pulled an extremely late night at work, or even several late nights, and then gotten sick the following week? Poor sleep is known to lower your immune system function and reduce the number of killer cells in your body that fight germs and viruses.
Be sure you get your 7 to 9 hours of beauty sleep each night.
10. You Have a Negative Outlook on Life
Numerous studies show that those who think that their glass is half empty don’t live as long as those who think their glass is half full. When pessimists try to look for the silver lining in that dark cloud, they have less stress and better overall health.
No one is saying that you shouldn’t be realistic. When things suck, it’s OK to say that. But also say that the bad times are temporary and look on the bright side as much as possible. Try writing down at least 5 good things that happened to you every night before you go to bed and be grateful when you wake up in the morning. This can help improve your T-cell count and pump up that immune system.