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Breaking Bad Habits: What Weakens Your Immunity?

Bonny Shah

Bonny Shah
17 June 2020

This article is authored by Bonny Shah. Bonny is a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Diabetes Educator.

Keeping your immune system strong has never been more important. But bolstering immunity is a two-sided coin: it’s about choosing foods that help support immune function, while sidestepping behaviours that can weaken immunity.

Importance of a strong immune system

A good immune system protects your body from harmful substances, viruses, germs and cell changes that could make you ill. A strong immune system enables us to fight diseases and adverse elements that enter our body from the outside. The immune system is also responsible for protecting us from the harmful changes that may happen inside our bodies.

In order to stay healthy and boost immunity, we’ve put together a list of five common habits that can adversely impact your immune system, leaving you weaker.

You’re not sleeping enough

You know it and you’ve felt it. The morning after a bad sleep is often groggy and disorienting. Not getting enough sleep can lead to higher levels of a stress hormone. You’re more likely to catch a cold or other infection when this happens. It may also lead to more inflammation in your body. A healthy 7 hours of average sleep will help your body resuscitate itself for a good day ahead.

You’re drinking too much

Alcohol suppresses your immune system. Chronic drinking affects your white blood cells’ ability to attack harmful bacteria as well as the capacity to produce the cells that identify and kill bacteria and viruses. Even a full day after being drunk, your body will be weaker in its fight against infections.

You’re smoking too much

Smoking is known to weaken immunity. It results in greater susceptibility to catch respiratory infections and reduced lung function. It also lowers the levels of protective antioxidants in the blood, thereby, weakening the immune system.

You’re sitting all day

Lack of exercise could make you sicker for longer. Squeeze in moderate exercise every day, like taking a quick walk during your lunch hour or doing a simple workout routine at home. Try yoga to improve your lung capacity. Exercise can also boost your body's feel-good chemicals and help you sleep better. Both of these are good for your immune system.

You’re eating the wrong things

Eat Breakfast

You are what you eat. Eating unhealthy food compromises your immune system and it can also cause you to be overweight, a condition that makes you more susceptible to disease. It’s important to eat more fruits and vegetables, which are rich in nutrients like vitamins C and E, plus beta-carotene and zinc. Go for a wide variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables, including berries, gooseberry, citrus fruits, kiwi, apples, red grapes, kale, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, and carrots. You can also add a cup of herbal tea to your daily routine to help boost immunity. Add spices such as cinnamon, black pepper, ginger, and turmeric to a cup of water, boil it and consume.

You’re having too much sugar

Radish

Eating or drinking too much sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bacteria. This effect lasts for at least a few hours after downing a couple of sugary drinks. If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth and still have a healthy immune system, switch to Tata Nx Zero Sugar, a sugar replacement sweetener, made with 100% natural ingredients.

The solution to improving your immunity is simple – modest lifestyle changes. Squeeze in the right amount of sleep every night, give yourself a healthy routine throughout the day, stay away from alcohol and tobacco, do a daily basic workout or a simple walk and most importantly, eat right.

All of it put together and you’ll be well on your way to helping your immune system help you better.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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