Do you get sick often, frequently feel “under the weather” take more sick days off from work than most, or just know you could be doing a better job prioritizing your health?
Chances are you may have a weakened immune system.
Your immune system is a complex process of checks and balances that helps fight and protect the body from disease, viruses, and illness. It’s also the body’s most important system when it comes to preventing disease. (“Dis-ease”)
The great thing about our immune systems is when practicing a healthy, vibrant lifestyle, we have the ability to influence it in a positive way, which promotes strong immunity, significantly reducing instances of getting sick as well as profoundly lowering the risk of disease.
Unfortunately, this can also work against us and our immune systems can quickly become compromised if we are not mindful of the lifestyle choices we make on a consistent basis.
If you’re someone with a weakened immune system, anytime you’re exposed to germs, viruses, bacteria or stress, etc., you’re more likely to get sick. Infants, the elderly, anyone on immunosuppressive therapy, such as cancer patients and those with chronic medical conditions, like diabetes, COPD and obesity, are at far greater risk for their immune systems not functioning properly.
It’s imperative to understand that if one were to get cancer, diabetes, become medically classified as obese, etc., it’s not a random, unexplainable occurrence. The overwhelming majority of health issues do not simply show up in our lives for no particular rhyme or reason. In fact, most illness and disease are commonly the direct consequences of the actions we take, or neglect to take in our lives – to really drive this important point home, it’s important to note that most diseases are actually clinically categorized as “preventable illnesses”.
Today I want to share with you “7 Things That Are Potentially Harming Your Immune System.”
Prolonged and excessive consumption of refined sugars, highly processed foods, chemical additives and simply eating in excess to what your body actually needs, weakens the immune system and makes you vulnerable to developing chronic illness of some kind.
As my great friend and Nutrition Solutions CEO Chris Cavallini always says, “the quality of your life is heavily determined by the quality of the foods you put into your body.”
And he’s not wrong –
What we eat determines how we look and feel. It also heavily influences our levels of energy, confidence, self-esteem, mood, mental acuity and of course, our immune health.
A good diet is, of course, one that is consistent and sustainable. It emphasizes proper portion control, lots of water, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains.
Lack of Exercise and Physical Activity
During moderate exercising, blood flow increases, which promotes the process of expelling toxic waste out of your body.
This improved circulation of blood also promotes the circulation of antibodies and white blood cells – cells that are crucial for warding off infections.
Work out hard and work out often. Now, everyone’s “hard” is different, so focus getting a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise, 4 days of the week in which your heart rate is significantly elevated during the workout.
You should also make it a habit to take the stairs whenever possible in your normal life, work from a standing position when you can and if confined to a desk for extended periods of time, get up to stretch, move around or like the Logistics Team at NS does…knock out some push-ups, squats or burpees every hour to get some blood flowing!
This is advantageous not just for boosted immunity, but the health of your heart, brain and energy levels as well!
Obesity can in itself impair our immune system. It can affect the ability of white blood cells to multiply, produce antibodies and prevent inflammation. It is also an inhibitor for other immune destroying elements, such as stress and poor sleeping habits, both of which are very common among obese individuals..
People like to conveniently ignore it and believe it to be “just part of normal life”, but stress has a major influence on your immune system. Chronic stress, stress over the long term, raise cortisol levels of the body which decreases the production of ‘good’ prostaglandins.
‘Good’ prostaglandins are localized hormones that support immune function, dilate blood vessels, inhibit ‘thick’ blood and are anti-inflammatory in nature.
Chronic stress can make you more susceptible to colds and the flu, as well as more serious health problems like heart disease, diabetes and other obesity-related illness.
By practicing stress-reducing activities like daily exercise, yoga, meditation, breath-work, reading and even enjoying a good laugh, you can prevent your body from going into chronic stress mode.
Not Drinking Enough Water/Dehydration
Water consumption is probably the easiest thing we can do to boost immunity. Sadly, most fail to drink anywhere close to how much they should be, which impairs the body’s ability to eliminate toxins/byproducts of illness and help the immune system fight off infection.
Dehydration can affect your energy and your sleep, in addition to lead to unwanted weight gain. Aim to get in at least 1 gallon of water every day for optimal health.
Lack of Sleep/Poor Sleeping Habits
Without adequate sleep, the immune system doesn’t get a chance to rebuild and it eventually becomes weak.
Poor sleep is associated with a reduced number of white blood cells that help the body fight off disease. Many studies show that people who don’t get a good night’s sleep or who don’t get enough sleep (sleeping under seven hours a night) are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold or even COVID-19.
Practice good sleeping habits by turning the TV off and putting the phone away 1 hour before bedtime. Give yourself some time to wind down and decompress in bed before the actual time you wish to go to sleep. Wearing a sleep mask, avoiding blue light before bed, reading and playing sleep sounds as background noise can also improve sleeping habits.
Excessive Alcohol Use and Smoking
Alcohol, like sugar, consumed in excess can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs. Damage to the immune system increases in proportion to the quantity of alcohol consumed.
In the short term, excess alcohol intake will increase the number of colds you will experience, but over the long term, alcohol can impede the functioning of immune cells, increasing your susceptibility to infectious diseases.
Cigarettes, on the other hand, contain over 4,000 chemicals! Which every one of them is extremely toxic to the body. In laymen’s terms, the more the amount of a toxic substance in your body, the weaker the immune system.
I hope this has been useful and that you’ll use what you have learned today in a manner that will help you boost your immune system and live your best life possible.