I know it’s too early for asparagus, at least in New York, but I’m tired…
Your Immune system is your biggest ally when it comes to staying healthy and living longer. It’s your body’s first line of defense against harmful viruses and diseases.
In today’s frightening times especially, a strong immune system can help you avoid contracting Covid-19 by boosting the respiratory system against the dangerous virus. Therefore, it’s a given that maintaining a strong immune system should be a priority. This starts with making an immediate change to certain habits.
You may be practicing these habits without recognizing their negative impact on immunity.
These following practices can drastically weaken your immune system – and in turn, your overall health
Habit #1 – Overexposure to sun
We know that natural sun rays are the best source of vitamin D, which is essential for health and vitality. But too much sun, specifically, overexposure to UV light can actually work against your health.
In addition to putting you at risk of skin cancer, overexposure to UV light can wreak havoc on your immune system.
Research conducted by the World Health Organization has found that too much exposure to strong and direct UV light disrupts the function and distribution of the immune system cells, significantly weaken the immune response to viruses and bacteria.
Note: This goes for indoors as well. Adjust the settings on your computer and TV screens or invest in good quality UV light filter.
Never skimp on a top-quality sunscreen if you are going to be out in the sun for more than 20 minutes.
Habit #2 -Excessive exercise
We’ve heard all the experts tell us over and over how important it is to exercise – and they’re right to a certain point. However, these experts fail to tell us that excessive and intense exercise actually lowers immune system function.
Extreme exercise raises the levels of adrenaline and cortisol (commonly known as “stress hormones”) in the blood.
These hormones actually suppress immune system function as well as raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Their effects can last for some time, lowering the immune system defenses significantly.
Now, don’t jump to conclusions and think you have the perfect excuse for not exercising! The key here is moderate exercise two or three times a week to stay fit, maintain heart health and stay toned. Those intense workouts at the gym may actually be doing you more harm than good.
Habit #3 – Consuming too much salt
Thank God for salt! Can you imagine how bland and unappetizing food would taste without it? However, if you are in the habit of over-salting your food, you are harming your health on so many levels, including your immune system health.
Too much sodium in your bloodstream from salty foods causes your kidneys to secrete more, glucocorticoids, a hormone that helps flush out excess salt from the body. Glucocorticoids inhibit the ability of the immune system to kill bacteria, making you more susceptible to contracting bugs and disease.
Habit #4- Overconsumption of sugar
Too much sugar is bad for you, period. The list of its harmful effects is endless. Sugar not only weakens the immune system, but it also impairs the production and function of white blood cells, the building blocks of the immune system.
These specific cells are called phagocytes
rush to surround, attack, break down and destroy invading viruses and bacteria. Studies have shown that the consumption of 100 grams of sugar can suppress phagocyte function for up to 5 hours.
Naturally, the healthier and more plentiful they are, the better they can guard you against harmful infections and diseases.
Boost Your Immune System
The phrase “everything in moderation” perfectly sums it up. The four habits discussed here are not harmful in themselves. In fact, regular exercise, natural sunlight and a diet containing salt and sugar are all essential for good health – as long as they are in moderation.
If you are engaging in these habits too excessively, it’s time to curb them to where rather than weakening your immunity, they work to boost and strengthen your immune system.