13 Surprising Factors that Weaken Your Immune System
When you don’t show your body the love it needs, it becomes vulnerable to infections. In order to supercharge your immune system, you need to do more than avoid immunity weakening foods—although that is important too.
You also need to nurture healthy lifestyle habits that promote a healthy immune system. Some of the necessary immune-boosting habits may be known to you but chances are, a few are going to be completely new.
Keep reading! Here are 13 surprising factors that jeopardize your immune system.
Is there any surprise stress makes the list? In today’s fast-paced society stress, the body’s fight or flight response has become our collective Achilles Heel.
Unless you’re a monk and you meditate daily, stress is something we all struggle to keep in check. When left unattended stress can wreak havoc on the body and cause dis-ease within us (anxiety, hypertension, high blood pressure, etc).
So what can be done? Find some activities that quiet your mind and allow you to focus on living in the moment, like, exercising, listening to music, getting creative, practising yoga, meditating, positive affirmations or laughing.
Stress Less and Live More with this vitamin pack!
Humans crave social interaction. But what happens when something triggers you to isolate yourself from others? You may find yourself battling anxiety, depression, addictions or chronic illness. The solution is taking baby steps to overcome loneliness by reaching out to family or friends, volunteering, adopting a pet or starting a new hobby.
According to The World Health Organization (WHO), 60-85% of the population is inactive. Meaning we’re too caught up binging on Netflix to meet the recommended 10,000 steps a day for your best health. Inactivity can lead to depression, cancer, obesity or cardiovascular disease. So get your steps in and aim for a minimum of 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise.
Nothing good can come from suppressing emotions. Like a shaken bottle, it can result in outbursts or physical stress (decreased memory, bad blood pressure, depression or even aggression). So make a point of dealing with your emotions, by internally honouring a troublesome emotion, understanding the root cause, practising forgiveness and taking care of your mind, body and soul.
Life is beautiful but it’s also fleeting, so it’s only natural that when you lose a loved one that it shakes the fabric of your being. Just as there is no one way to love, there is no right way to grieve either.
Being stricken with grief takes a toll on your immune system. Increased illness or flare-ups of pre-existing conditions are common. One of the best things you can do to honour your loved one is to take care of yourself; so as you work through the pain do your best to get good quality sleep, eat well, seek support if need be and get regular exercise.
We all know that good physical health requires daily exercise, but just as you need to moderate your junk food intake, you also need to work out within reason.
Anything above two hours of strenuous activity a day is considered excessive and can lead to leaky gut and depression. Interestingly, “overtraining syndrome” suffers share the same biochemical markers as people diagnosed with clinical depression.
There is nothing healthy about smoking. However, smokers inadvertently are weakening their immune system by lighting up.
Nicotine is addictive and can alter moods when smokers are suffering from withdrawal. Not to mention it affects your digestion, heart health and respiratory system, all of which decrease your body’s natural defences.
Emergent studies are yielding some interesting results, that antibiotics are actually causing more harm than good, by weakening your immune system. They are also becoming less effective against bugs by decreasing the immune cells responsible for viruses - maybe this in part is why we’re seeing more superbugs? Sometimes, just letting a virus - when it’s safe to do so - run its course, is the best medicine.
Yes, your beloved smartphone, tablet and laptop all emit non-ionizing radiofrequency radiation (RFR) - unlike X-rays that are ionizing, and can cause bodily harm. Just think anything Wi-Fi emits non-ionizing radiation--that’s a lot of exposure.
Although it may lack the power of ionizing it still affects your health--cancer, tumours, headaches, etc. So limit your tech time, use earbuds, keep your phone out of your pocket and don’t sleep next to your devices!
Nothing beats the restorative powers of sleep. Not enough and your immune system weakens because when you’re asleep your body creates cytokines--your defence against viruses. So for stronger immunity, get your 8 hours!
Autoimmune disorders like psoriasis or Celiac’s, are examples of when your immune system mistakenly attacks its own cells thinking it’s a foreign invader (virus, bacteria). Because of this mistaken identity, you become prone to infections. These disorders all cause inflammation in the body so the best way to increase your immunity is to eat an anti-inflammatory diet for better gut health.
As we age our immune system slows, we produce fewer T-cells (our body’s virus defence) and communication between immune cells slows; meaning it takes longer for your body to start fighting off the infection. What you can do to support your immune system is the same thing you always do; eat well, sleep and exercise!
Bet you didn’t see oral health rounding out the list? Well, alas it’s true, good oral hygiene is nothing to snub your nose at. As you know your mouth plays host to a colony of bacteria and if you don’t brush and floss daily it can lead to cavities or gum disease - both of which won’t remain isolated to the mouth, they will carry throughout the body. Since your immune system fights off bacteria, any overgrowth of bacteria will trigger it so do remember to brush, floss and see your dentist regularly!
Strengthen Your Immune System
The best approach to helping maintain a vibrant immune system is to ensure you eat an anti-inflammatory diet and you do your best to mitigate any of these 13 factors that weaken your immunity.