Our immune system works every second of every day keeping our cells healthy and active. Over the last few decades, it has had to step up and adapt to changing environments, diets, and lifestyles and is incredibly successful.
If our immune systems fail, we get sick and die. It’s that simple. With toxins and over-use of antibiotics rampant in our lives, there is constant bombardment of the immune system—it needs our conscious help to keep up. Here are some ways to help you help yourself.
1. Too much alcohol.
Whether all at once or habitually, more than one drink per day compromises your immune system. The consequences can be pneumonia, tuberculosis, various infections, and autoimmunity—when the immune system attacks its own body’s cells—not to mention liver and heart disease.
2. Too much weight.
Being overweight changes your metabolism. Fat tissue produces hormones that initiate an inflammatory response by the immune system. Chronic inflammation has been linked to heart disease, stroke, joint and muscle pain, degenerative brain conditions, and diabetes. Losing weight through changes in diet and increased exercise reverses the trend and your body will recover and return to healthy immune response.
3. Too much travel.
Regular and extensive travel mixes up everything from digestion to sleep. Not called “jet lag” for nothing, changes to the body’s internal clock and circadian rhythms affect the production of T cells, a particular type of white blood cell. Try to keep life as “normal” as possible with adequate sleep, exercise, and healthy food.
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4. Too much stress.
A little stress is normal and necessary. Too much acute or chronic stress wreaks all kinds of havoc in our bodies, physical and otherwise. The immune system is not immune. With the increase of stress-related hormones like cortisol (which Psychology Today labeled “Public Enemy No. 1”) and the decrease in other hormones and factors to balance them, the immune system becomes overloaded and can’t do its job to fight disease. Find ways to manage stress and you’ll benefit in every conceivable way.