7 Bad Habits That Harm Your Immune System

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Many people fail to take good care of their body. You might not know it but those minute health concerns you’re always feeling such as never-ending colds, poor sleep quality, frequent fatigue, and constant headaches may already be due to bad lifestyle habits. If you don’t take note of the things you do and the foods you eat, you risk hurting your immune system. Your immune system is your body’s main line of defense against foreign bodies that cause illnesses and diseases. With a weakened immune system, you are more prone to getting sick, eventually leading to a poor overall wellness. To prevent getting more sick days, here are seven bad habits you might be doing that harm your immune system.

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Habit #1: Smoking

By now, you should know that smoking, even breathing in second-hand smoke, can lead to very devastating health issues, starting with a weakened immune system. Eventually, if the habit of smoking is not ceased, it can lead to several kinds of cancer including lung and oral cancers. After all, out of the 4,000 chemical compounds in a cigarette smoke, at least 43 are carcinogenic or are able to induce cancer.

Habit #2: Drinking too much alcohol

Excessive alcohol consumption is very bad for your immune system since alcohol can destroy your immune system’s main workers—the antibodies. Antibodies are the cells that fight off foreign bodies such as bacteria and viruses that have made its way to your body to cause illnesses and diseases. If you consume too much alcohol, your immune system will significantly weaken due to the decreased amount of antibodies and you’re more likely to contract diseases.

Habit #3: Sleeping too little

Your body repairs itself and refuels body system functions when you sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system will not be able to fully restore itself and prepare for another day of exposure to external factors. This will weaken your immune system and put you at higher risk of bacterial and viral infection. This is the reason why a lack of sleep leads to runny nose the next day—you’ve easily contracted the common cold virus.

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Habit #4: Being stressed too much for too long

Being stressed for too long can negatively affect your immune system and make your more prone to infection. When your stress levels are high, your brain produces more of the hormone cortisol which weakens or completely damages the functioning of T cells. T cells are necessary for fighting infection. Thus, find stress-relieving hobbies and activities to help ease your stress.

Habit #5: Staying lonely

Loneliness can sometimes be addicting. People who are lonely tend to indulge in it and fail to satisfy their need to socialize. If you don’t get enough social interaction because of how busy you are, your immune system will be suppressed. More free radicals will also form in your body, thereby causing more damage to your cells by oxidative stress. This makes you more prone to diseases and speeds up the aging of your cells.

Habit #6: Not exercising

Exercising is one of the best ways you can take care of your body. Doing the opposite and not exercising will harm your immune system and diminish your overall wellness even if you don’t notice it. People who don’t exercise are more likely to have sick days and they’re at higher risk for diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, over-exercising can suppress your immune system as well. When you’re just starting off, do moderate exercises instead of intense ones.

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Habit #7: Consuming too much sugar

Sugar diminishes your immune system’s ability to fight germs and it replaces the vitamin C, which boosts your immune system, in your body. In just a few minutes after consumption, sugar diminishes your immune system’s functioning by around 40%. Try to lessen your sugar intake and increase your vitamin C intake instead to ensure a healthy immune system.