Everyday, our bodies are exposed to natural bacteria and viruses that could pose a threat to our immune system. Living in the age of COVID, most of us are taking extra precautions to take care of our bodies, including public mask wearing, taking our daily vitamins, and washing our hands; especially with the recent variants, it’s important to take steps to strengthen our immune systems in any way that we can. But even with these immunity boosting habits, many of us may be unaware of the other daily habits that can contribute to poorer immunity.
Here are some daily habits to watch out for that can hurt our body’s immunity against illness:
Excessive alcohol can make you sick the morning after, but studies have consistently shown that over drinking can weaken the immune system over time. Drinking in excess can increase risk of heart disease, possibility of respiratory infections, sepsis, weaken wound healing, and can even increase risk of certain cancers. Of course, we are always advised to drink in moderation, not only to avoid a nasty hangover, but to ensure a strong immune system in the long run.
Lack of Vitamin D
Getting your daily supplements and multivitamins in has been long stressed by doctors and nutritionists. Vitamins are essential at every age, as it can play a heavy role in strengthening your immune system. A crucial vitamin you should be taking daily is vitamin D, as it helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body and can keep your bones and joints healthy and firm. Leading health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has even supported it: “If you’re deficient in vitamin D, that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection.”
Lack of Sleep
Getting a good night’s rest can affect almost every aspect of our lives: it helps the body recuperate after a long day, and it sets us up for an even better day. If you’re not getting enough sleep however, you aren’t giving your body the chance to repair itself. Researchers are currently looking into the association between poor sleep quality and developing serious illnesses including heart disease, dementia, and cancer.
Every now and then we may find ourselves stressing over many factors in our lives. However, constant stress can begin to take a toll on our own physical health. Chronic stress can push the brain to produce more of cortisol, which is a stress hormone that is healthy in moderation. With excess cortisol, the body can experience weakened immunity. Chronic stress makes people more susceptible to the common cold and viral diseases like the flu, according to the American Cancer Society. Excess cortisol also signals the body to store fat in the most unsightly—and dangerous—part of the body: the stomach.
Loneliness can feel very isolating and depressing, but it carries more of an impact than just mental health. If you feel constant loneliness, it can induce a stress response similar to the former habit that can cause inflammation in the body. This can impair the heart, the brain, and consequently the immune system. Studies have also found that people who experience constant loneliness can be exposed to higher risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and even dementia. Making the effort to stay connected to your inner circle and to others on a regular basis can be the key to keeping yourself healthy both mentally and physically.