When it comes to habits or actions that could harm your immune system, most people think about the obvious answers: alcohol and cigarettes. Not many people are aware of the fact that there are many other, a lot less conspicuous ways they might be damaging their body’s immune responses without even realizing it.
1. Avoiding Your Social Life
One of the most unlikely, yet real ways you might be sabotaging your immune system is avoiding your friends or being alone for too long. Researchers have shown that being constantly alone can cause anxiety and hinder the body’s ability to fend off various disorders and viruses.
2. Too Much Exercise
Everyone knows avoiding exercise can lead to obesity, heart disease and a vulnerable immune system. However, science seems to love to mess with us, as apparently researchers say that too much exercise can also be bad for you. It’s true though; pushing yourself too hard will not only hinder your immune responses, but also cause significant problems to your vascular system. The best way to counter this problem and stop sabotaging your immune system is to adopt a moderate workout schedule that will genuinely help things along.
3. Bad Hygiene
Even though it doesn’t directly influence your immune system, proper hygiene can keep germs and illnesses from harming your body. Bad hygiene, on the other hand, will make it much more difficult for your immune system to fight off harmful organisms and sometimes completely overwhelm it, causing even smaller infections to wreak havoc in your body.
4. Chronic Stress
One of the main ways you’re sabotaging your immune system is by getting too stressed out about life. A high level of stress can often cause hormonal imbalances that will throw your immune system out of balance. The result will be that, whether you’re suffering from a small wound or a serious health condition, your body will find it much more difficult to heal and the recovery process will take way too much time.
5. Eating Too Much Sugar
Another way you’re sabotaging your immune system is by consuming too much sugar. Ingesting more than 8 table spoons of sugar (that’s about 2 soda cans) can drastically reduce the white blood cells’ ability to kill off germs, sometimes by more than 40%. Complex carbohydrates and starches, on the other hand, have no effect in this regard.
Helper T cells and a good dose of natural killer cells make the perfect squad for boosting your immune system and taking care of unwanted disorders and infections. Studies have shown that those with a more optimistic approach to performing various tasks – and to life in general – have a much greater number of healthy cells to help their immune responses.
You might want to refrain from taking antibiotics at the first sign of even the smallest sniffle (I have a friend who does this and doesn't want to understand it's so bad for her). While it might seem like a good preventive measure to avoid the flu, taking antibiotics can lead to reduced levels of cytokines. These are basically the messenger hormones of your immune system which, if suppressed, can actually diminish your body’s ability to defend against bacterial infections in the future.
Of course, all the advice that may come from these points has to be taken into perspective. For example, don’t stop working out altogether just because too much exercise can harm your immune system. But what do you think about this list? Are there other ways of sabotaging the immune system that are worth mentioning here?