Seven Ways You May Be Damaging Your Immune System

Suffering from regular coughs, colds and flu is one sign that your immune system may be weak. Feeling generally tired and run down are also indicators that you may need to make some lifestyle and diet changes to boost your immune system. Health and wellbeing are influenced by a variety of different factors, and you may not realise how your everyday habits are affecting how you feel. If this is the case you should get in touch with a local healthcare professional.

A good immune system is essential for fighting disease and recovering from illness. People with healthy immune systems have greater energy and vitality, and are able to deal with colds and other regular infections with relative ease. The following are common ways in which you may be damaging your immune system,

1) Not exercising regularly. The benefits of regular exercise are huge, and there's no excuse for avoiding it in some form. There's no need to hit the gym or take up running if you're not interested in fitness. Walking, gardening and other outdoor activities are great forms of exercise. Simple things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or leaving the car at home and walking on short journeys can all make a difference. Anything which increases your heart rate for a short period of time can have great benefits to your immune system.

2) Not eating enough fresh fruit and vegetables. Diet is one of the major influences on your immune system, and eating fresh fruit and vegetables is a proven way to boost it. A mixture of fruit and vegetables of different colors provides a variety of nutrients, and is a cheap and convenient way to fuel your body. Cooking with fresh vegetables is a great way to maintain a healthy diet. You should aim to eat at least five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables very day.

3) Bottling up moods and emotions. Stress has been clearly identified as a prolific killer in the modern world. Bottling up your feelings and emotions has a negative impact on both your physical and mental health. Without causing arguments, try to discuss things with people who upset or annoy you. Negative relationships can have very negative effects on your wellbeing. Talking to a friend or loved one about your problems is a great way to let things out.

4) Not sleeping enough. There has been a lot of conflicting information in recent years about how much sleep people need. Experts now generally agree that around seven hours is a healthy amount of sleep. Lack of sleep can affect health in many ways, and has been linked with heart problems, diabetes and increases in body mass index. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, performance at work and general alertness. Missing a few hours of sleep on the odd occasion won't cause any harm, but if you are regularly trying to get away with just four or five hours it will have a serious impact on your immune system.

5) Taking antibiotics routinely. If you are in the habit of taking antibiotics for minor illnesses your body will become resistant to their beneficial effects. Research indicates that people who take antibiotics regularly have reduced levels of certain hormones which are important to the functioning of the immune system in the human body. You should only take antibiotics as prescribed by your local doctor.

6) Overwhelming your body with sugar and salt. Eating lots of fruit and vegetables is great for your health, but you also need to cut down on processed foods, sugar and salt. Takeaway foods and prepared meals are packed with salt and sugar, and these can have a severe impact on your weight, blood pressure and immune system. If you cook meals from raw ingredients you can control exactly what goes in them.

7) Taking life too seriously. Working too hard and never taking time to do the things you enjoy can have a very serious impact on your health and wellbeing. A walk in the park or time spent with friends has amazing benefits for your mental health and immune system. Try to keep weekends free for relaxation time, and value your own time as much as you do other time commitments.

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