10 Bad Habits That Weaken The Immune System

The immune system is a vital part of a person's body for fighting off outside organisms that can cause diseases and infections; it's the body's primary defense system. A weakened immune system can lead to serious health conditions, like staph infection or the flu, because the body is unable to handle the germs and bacteria you come into contact with every day. It's important to maintain a strong immune system, and one way to do that is to avoid these 10 bad habits that can weaken it:

1. Smoking

Not only does smoking increase your chances of lung cancer, it also weakens your immune system. There are thousands of toxins present in cigarette smoke that can affect the immune cells in the body by either impairing their proper function, or altering your immune cell count. This explains why smokers are more susceptible to severe respiratory conditions like asthma, bronchitis and even pneumonia. If you smoke and you are looking for a way to strengthen your immune system to avoid these problems, then you should quit smoking immediately.

2. Alcohol

If you suffer from alcoholism, then you are damaging your immune system. Studies have shown the effects of excessive alcohol consumption and how it can destroy your body's antibody cells that are necessary for fighting off cells infected by viruses. Like smokers, those suffering from alcoholism are more likely to suffer from serious infections and diseases like tuberculosis.

3. Not Enough Sleep

It is important to get sufficient rest through a good night's sleep to allow your immune system to function properly. When you sleep, your body is able to restore and refuel its natural functions, including the immune system. If you are limiting the amount of hours you have for sleep on a consistent basis, you are putting yourself at a higher risk of infection and other serious health conditions like:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

4. Lack of Exercise

If you are out of shape because you lack enough exercise, then you are weakening your immune system and increasing the risk of disease or infection. Studies have shown that remaining active through regular exercising can help boost your immune system by increasing the amount of white blood cells in your body to help fight off any forms of sickness. The stronger your body feels physically, the stronger your immune system is; just be sure you don't go overboard on the exercising, and give your body sufficient time to rest.

5. Too Much Exercise

While moderate exercise can help your immune system, studies have shown that too much exercise can cause a great deal of physical strain on your body, which can negatively affect your immune system. Pushing yourself too far when you exercise can cause problems with your cardiovascular system and can overwhelm your immune system. Remember, getting enough rest for recovery is equally important to your immune system than adequate exercise.

6. Stress

If you were wondering how stress can lead to other serious health conditions, here is one explanation: Stress weakens your immune system. High levels of stress can create a hormonal imbalance in your body, impairing immune system function that can affect the way your body recovers from a wound, and can even lead to more serious health conditions.

7. Not Drinking Enough Water

Water is just an amazing fluid that helps the overall function of your body, including your immune system. It has the ability to flush out any harmful toxins that your immune system would have to deal with otherwise. Give your immune system a break and help it do its job by drinking more water, and less soda and other sugar-filled beverages that can be harmful to your body.

8. Bad Hygiene

While proper hygiene may not affect your immune system directly, it does prevent infection and illnesses by eliminating germs and bacteria. If you lack proper hygiene, you are only making it more difficult for your immune system because you are inviting more harmful organisms into your body. At some point, these organisms can overwhelm your immune system leading to disease or infection.

9. Being Overweight

Scientists have found that obesity can weaken a person's immune system. While further study is required to find the direct link between obesity and an increased risk of infection due to a weaker immune system, it is still important to eat healthier and get more exercise if you are obese to reduce the risk of any health complications.

10. Too Much Sun

A little tanning out in the sun with some properly applied sunscreen isn't bad every so often, but being exposed long enough to get a sunburn is. Studies have shown a correlation between UV radiation and damage to the body's immune system. Plus overexposure to sunlight can increase the risk of skin cancer.

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