Supporting your immune system starts with having a healthy lifestyle. If you have any of these bad habits, consider changing some of them. Not only will your body be better able to fight off infection, but you'll also reduce your cancer risk.
The worst habits for a weak immune system are smoking, drinking excess alcohol, being under excess emotional or physical stress, getting inadequate sleep, and eating highly processed food.
Here are some tips for supporting your immune system.
1. Reduce your sugar intake. Filling up on sugar-laden foods and empty calories decreases your intake of nutritious food that contains the nutrients you need to support and maintain an optimal immune system. Instead, fill up on healthy fats, good-quality protein, and brightly coloured fruits and vegetables. Sugar also reduces the diversity of your gut bacteria (your microbiome), which makes you more vulnerable to external pathogens. It can make your gut more permeable, which leads to inflammation and greater susceptibility to illness.
2. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol impairs the function of immune cells in your respiratory tract, which makes you more vulnerable to respiratory infections. It also damages the lining of your digestive tract and the immune system cells that directly attack pathogens from food. This increases the risk of harmful pathogens entering the circulation and making you sick.
3. Get enough good sleep. Adequate sleep promotes the activity of antiviral genes. During sleep, our bodies make immune cells that fight viruses. When we're sleep deprived, this antiviral activity is reduced and inflammation increases, which makes our bodies more vulnerable to infection.
4. Relax. Stress reduces the your immune system's ability to fight off infection. Chronic stress causes the continuous release of cortisol, which over time weakens your immune system. Make activities that reduce stress a daily habit. Set aside time every day for doing some light exercise, yoga, meditation, and/or deep breathing to reduce stress.
If you have an unhealthy lifestyle, consider changing some of your bad habits to healthier ones. In the long term, you'll feel better and have a better quality of life. If you need help and support or don't know where to start, book a free 15 min consultation with me and discuss how I can help you get on a path to better health.