As the pandemic continues, the need to keep your immune system healthy is very urgent. And there are some habits you might be doing every day that are sabotaging your body’s ability to defend you from viruses.
There are some factors that you can’t control (like being older) that can hamper immune function. This means it is all the more vital to get certain things right. Things we can do right now to help our immune systems for any worst-case scenario that might arise.
The experts at Harvard recently put out their Healthy Living Guide, and we have extracted 6 key habits that can damage your immune system. All of them are habits you can control…
1 – Eating too much processed food
Eating meals that are predominantly processed and lack fresh vegetables and fruits can hinder your immune system. Processed foods are usually high in saturated fat or filled with added sugars. And many times, they have high amounts of both. Consuming them too much can cause chronic inflammation within your body, which can then tax your immune system.
2 – Not enough quality sleep
Harvard points out that lack of sleep can severely damage your body’s ability to ward off infections. As you sleep, a molecule that is vital for immune function (cytokine) is released that helps to combat infection. So, not getting enough sleep can lower the number of cytokines released and harm immune function.
3 – Alcohol
You might look forward to having a beer, whiskey, or glass of wine at the end of the workday. But, consuming too much alcohol can hinder your immune system greatly. Harvard experts warn that alcohol can suppress the normal activity of your immune cells.
Try to keep your alcohol consumption to only one drink per day, if not cutting it to just three or four days per week.
4 – Cigarettes
The CDC says not only can cigarettes damage your immune system and make you more susceptible to viruses and diseases, it can also compromise your immune system’s equilibrium, meaning you will have increased risk for many autoimmune disorders.
5 – Allowing stress to rule you
Chronic stress can cause great damage to your body’s immune process. Stress, which leads to the hormone called cortisol, can lower inflammation which is needed to not just activate immune cells, but also to activate white blood cells. With white blood cells being vital in fighting off infection, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
6 – Being overweight
As Harvard says, having obesity is linked to low-grade inflammation. Fat tissue creates adipocytokines, which can cause inflammatory processes to kick into high gear.
“Research is developing, but obesity is being seen as a risk factor for the Flu virus, possibly because of the impaired T-cell function, a form of white blood cell,” the Harvard experts write.
Working to remove your problem weight could put years back into your life.