Protect Your Immune System – Avoid These 6 Things

The secret to boosting your immune system is to lead a healthy lifestyle as you can. Avoid these 6 things to protect your immune system onwards.

A lot of people will adopt a healthy lifestyle when they are sick, but we strongly recommend that you adopt a healthy lifestyle all of the time so that you can avoid getting sick in the first place.

Nobody said that this was going to be easy. If you have a pretty unhealthy lifestyle at the moment then it is going to take a lot of effort and persistence on your part to make the transition to a healthy lifestyle.

You now know how vital your immune system is for your health and well-being. So keep this uppermost in your mind when you are cutting out the bad things and bringing in the good things. A healthy lifestyle is best for not only your physical health but your mental health as well.

In the first post of this series, we looked at things that can weaken your immune system such as auto-immune diseases. These can be treated and help you to build up your immune system. There are other things that you can certainly avoid to prevent damage to your immune system as well, so let’s take a look at these.

#1 Smoking

You just knew that this was going to come up, didn’t you? There are many health risks with smoking such as heart disease, cancer and generally poisoning your body. But smoking can also really damage your immune system.

Protect your immune system

Smoking can do a lot of damage to your lungs, and if your immune system is trying to fight off a respiratory disease (such as the coronavirus) then you are not going to be able to fight it as well as a non-smoker will be able to.

Smoking can also reduce the number of white blood cells that you have which is a vital element of your immune system. With reduced white blood cells, your immune system is in a weaker position to defend you against antigens. In fact, cigarette smoking can stop the production of white blood cells altogether due to the antibodies it can create.

We know that it is not easy to give up smoking, especially if you have been doing it for a long time. But for the sake of your immune system, it is essential that you do this. There are plenty of aides around to help you to give up.

#2 Alcohol

This is another thing that you were expecting to be in this blog post, wasn’t it? People drink for different reasons and in different amounts. The worrying thing is that even the smallest amount of alcohol can lower the number of white blood cells that you have.

If you drink regularly, or in large quantities, then this is going to damage your immune system. The more that you drink (or the more often), the more you will reduce your white blood cell count and you know how important these are to protect you.

Not only can drinking alcohol reduce your white blood cells, but it can also radically change the way that they perform. They can stop trying to fight against antigens, which means that you will be prone to all kinds of diseases and infections.

The good news is that when you stop drinking, your immune system can recover from this and get back to the condition that it needs to be in. Just reducing your alcohol intake can work wonders.

Again, giving up drinking is not an easy thing to do. Start off by reducing your intake and go on from there. Remind yourself how important your immune system is the next time someone invites you on an alcoholic binge.

If the coronavirus pandemic is still in force while you are reading this post or the entire series, you could find yourself with a lot more time on your hands. This can be stressful, and some people are drinking more to cope with this. Don’t do this – put your immune system first.

#3 Leading a Sedentary Lifestyle

These days many people lead too much of a sedentary lifestyle. They travel to work sitting in their car. When they get to their office they sit in front of a computer screen for several hours. Then, they travel home sitting in their car and when they arrive home, they sit on the couch in front of the TV.

There are two major problems with leading a sedentary lifestyle:

  • It can lead to high blood pressure
  • It can increase your cholesterol

Your immune system works closely with your heart to form a strong barrier to disease. So it is vital that you do all that you can to keep your heart as healthy as possible.

We realize that in these modern times a lot of people have to work at a job that requires them to sit in front of a computer screen for several hours each day. If you are in this situation then take regular breaks and do some stretches. Daily exercise is very important as well and we will discuss this in a later post on the series.

#4 Avoid Stress to Protect Your Immune System

This is another thing that is easier said than done, but you must reduce the amount of stress that you experience as much as possible. It is a mistake to think that stress only affects your mental health.
Stress can cause a number of physical problems as well.

Stress is another thing that can reduce those all-important white blood cells. If you are really stressed then your body produces different hormones faster than usual, and some of these hormones can impair white blood cell production.

If you are a chronic stress sufferer then this is very likely going to increase your blood pressure levels and also negatively impact your digestive system. It is vital that you pay attention to your mental health as well as your physical health to protect your immune system.

There are a variety of techniques available to help you relieve stress. We will discuss relieving stress in more detail in a later post. All of the good work that you do to boost your immune system can be totally wiped out if you are always stressed out.

#5 Sleep Deprivation

If you are not getting enough sleep every day then this can have a serious impact on your immune system. When you do not get the right amount of sleep you can find that you get sick more often and it takes a lot longer for you to recover.

Protect your immune system

When you are asleep your body produces cytokines. These are small proteins that will help the other cells in your immune system to work more effectively. Also during sleep, there are hormones produced that assist your white blood cells to adapt how they fight antigens and deal with them in a more effective way.

If you are struggling to get a good sleep at the moment then creating a consistent schedule will help you. This means going to bed at the same time each night. Your body will get used to this and you will find it easier to fall asleep when the time is right. We will cover sleep in more detail later on.

#6 Don’t Eat the wrong Foods

Too many people eat the wrong food these days. There is far too much-processed food around now and this can cause inflammation in your body. Our best advice here is to avoid foods that come in cans or boxes because they are likely to have a high salt and sugar content.

If you eat a lot of junk food then you will need to change your diet to one based on whole foods to protect your immune system. Sugary foods should definitely be avoided, as they can damage your metabolism and cause chronic illnesses which will severely weaken your immune system.

Images courtesy of:
Steve Buissinne , Pexels, Pixabay, LATUPEIRISSA

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Protect Your Immune System – Avoid These 6 Things

Part 3 of Boost Your Immune System Series
Pam Byc
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