From everyday airborne allergens to countertop bacteria, your immune system is a complex network that is constantly battling to keep you safe from countless pathogens.
It’s common knowledge that washing your hands before eating is a great way to help your immune system, because hand washing eliminates germs.
Sometimes, though, we do things that weaken the immune system without even knowing it. Here’s a short list of things you probably do that’s not so great for the body.
1. Eating Fattening Foods
Foods naturally rich in healthy fats, like avocados, walnuts and salmon, are actually beneficial. They provide healthy fat that nurtures your brain and body.
Unhealthy fats are what can compromise the immune system. Foods like cookies, french fries and pizza are great examples of bad fat. The fat in these foods is not nutritional and leads to weight gain, high cholesterol and a compromised immune system. A thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy revealed that fatty food inhibits the body’s ability to fight bacteria.
2. Eating too Much Sugar
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Excess sugar consumption decreases immunity. Consuming 100 grams of sugar, equal to two and a half 12 ounce cans of soda, can reduce the germ-killing ability of white blood cells by 40 percent. After consuming sugar, its negative effects start suppressing the immune system in less than 30 minutes and can last up to five hours.
3. Ignoring Constipation
A large part of your immune system is in your gut. Waste stuck in the intestine prevents adequate absorption of nutrients. If constipation is ignored and waste builds up over a long period of time, it can have detrimental effects on the immune system.
A balance of good bacteria in the digestive system is a key factor in keeping a healthy immune system. Good bacteria help with digestion and the breakdown of food, and produces substances that fight pathogens, like influenza.
4. Being Sedentary
One out of four American women don’t exercise at all. A sedentary lifestyle can negatively impact your health in a large way. Exercise releases endorphins which help us feel happy, it also helps fight cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and even cancer. Exercise also helps the lymphatic system, which works with the immune system on a daily basis to help keep you healthy.
The lymphatic system is made up of a series of nodes and vessels that filter lymphatic fluid. Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump; for this reason, exercise is key to keeping the lymphatic system moving.
5. Being Antisocial
Social interaction can improve your immune functions. Stress is taxing on the immune system. Frequent interactions in the community lead to a reduction in stress. Some studies reveal that the more human interaction we have, the more likely we are to live longer and healthier lives.
One study monitored 276 individuals between the ages of 18 and 55 discovered that those who had six or more human connections were four times better at combating cold-causing viruses.