11 habits that damage your immune system

What is immune system

The immune system is our body’s number one defence mechanism. It protects us from various types of bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing pathogens.

Our immunity and our health are directly related. The stronger the immune system, the more protection you have against colds, viruses and other illnesses that can attack your body. On the other hand, a weak immunity can make you more vulnerable to frequent colds, sinus infection and slow wound healing as well as causing anaemia, fatigue and lethargy.

it is a quite surperising fact that many common daily habits harm our immune system. In fact, most of our habits directly impact our immune system. To keep our immune system strong, it is important to adopt healthy habits and quit the bad ones. Let’s take a look at the top 11 everyday habits that directly harm our immune system.

These 11 habits are following :

1. Being a night owl

If you work late nights or like watching television or doing projects late into the night, you may have weak immunity. Poor sleep habits lower the immune system functioning and reduce the level of white blood cells that fight germs. Sleep deprivation also reduces the production of protective cytokines. While you sleep, your immune system releases different types of cytokines and help to protect your body against infections and diseases. If you are sleep deprived, their production decrease significantly.

2. Avoid skipping on sleep

Develop proper sleep hygiene. Be in the bed at a fixed time every night and try to wake up at the same time every morning. Insomnia is also a factor which affects our immune system. Be sure to get seven to nine hours of good quality sleep every night.

3. Excessive sugar intake

If you often eat or drink something sweet to satisfy your craving, you can suffer from weak immunity. Refined sugar can reduce the capability of white blood cells to kill germs. Sugar actually prevents vitamin C from getting into the white blood cells resulting in weakened immunity. Interestingly the immune-suppressing effects of sugar start within 30 minutes after ingestion and may last for many hours. If you need to eat something sweet, go for fruits like oranges, apples, mangoes, watermelons and other that contain natural sugars to satisfy your cravings. Vitamin C in these fruits will also help your immune system to work in a more efficient manner.

4. Excessive alcohol consumption

The benefits that a daily glass of wine can contribute to cardiovascular health is scientifically proven. But excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages can throw away all the benefits of moderate consumption. In addition, not all alcoholic beverages have the same benefits of wine. Many have a high alcohol level that our body can not metabolise which depress the ability of the immune system. Also, excessive alcohol consumption reduces the number of white blood cells, slows down digestive activity and overload liver work reducing its ability to store vitamins. All these factors contribute to the poor immunity in alcoholics.

5. Smoking

Some alcoholic beverages can be acceptable in a controlled amount. But in the case of tobacco, there is no limit allowed. Cigarettes contain more than 250 highly harmful substances. Some out of these are considered poisonous such as ammonia, arsenic, nicotine and toluene. The human body is not made to process chemicals as potent and devastating as those contained in the cigarettes. Slowly, smoking affects all systems of the human body and the immune system is no exception.

6. Consuming too much caffeine

Drinking too much coffee and other caffeinated beverages is also lower our immunity. Excessive caffeine stimulates your system by increasing the tension level of the body. A high-stress level causes the release of stress hormones like cortisol. Cortisol suppress our immune system and make us more prone to infections and other health problems. Elevated cortisol also linked to health issues related to the heart, blood sugar and high cholesterol. When taken in moderation, coffee provides many health benefits like increased alertness, mood and energy. So limit yourself to just one to two cups of coffee per day.

7. Eating junk food

Eating junk food in excess can be bad for your immunity. Junk food is usually high in fat and eating excess fat is the main reasons behind obesity. A diet high in saturated fats can harm the immune system even before the weight begins to show. Obesity can affect the ability of white blood cells to multiply and produce antibodies. Thus making you more prone to infections. So cut down on fast food and choose a healthy diet instead.

8. Inadequate intake of water

The human body is mostly made of water. In every cell of our body, water performs numerous functions. If you don’t drink enough water to replenish what your body needs, it will surely affect your immune system. Proper hydration is essential for building stronger immunity. A healthy person should drink about eight to ten glasses of water per day. however, the amount of water you drink may depend upon the climate in which you live, how physically active you are and your overall health.

9. Sedentary lifestyle

Lack of regular physical activity is harmful in every way for the body. The sedentary lifestyle literally makes the immune system sleep. Engaging in any sport or some form of physical exercise activates it to fight viral and bacterial infections. Physical exercise decreases the possibility of suffering from chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis or heart disease. Exercise reduces stress and increases the production of antibodies and white blood cells. On the other hand, when we work out, our body temperature rises. This elevation of body temperature reduces the possibility of bacterial growth on your body. Physical activity is essential for building a stronger immunity and there is no doubt about it.

10. Excessive exercise

As we told you earlier that exercise helps to enhance our immunity. But excessive exercise lowers our immunity. Our body has a fixed limit. If we attempt to push it beyond its physical limits, it stops functioning correctly. Your immune system also stops responding efficiently and you fall prey to infections easily.

Researches show that over 90 minutes of high-intensity exercise can build you more vulnerable to illness for up to 72 hours after the exercise session. Intense exercise seems to cause a short term decrease in immune function.

During these intense workout periods, the body produces certain hormones that temporarily lower the immunity. Cortisol and adrenaline are stress hormones perform numerous important functions in our body. But they also raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels and also suppress the immune system.

Always make sure that you’re taking proper rest and don’t overwork yourself. The heavy long run exercise like marathon running and intense gym training has been proven to lower your immunity and reduce the ability to fight viral infections.

11. Poor social relation

Believe it or not, avoiding people or human connections may also affect your immunity. Social relationships, both the quantity and quality affect our mental state which affects our health behaviour and indirect affects our immunity also .

Those who have poor social relations usually run a minimum of twice the chance of serious illnesses and premature death compared to the people that have good social relations. If you wish to be healthier, you can’t avoid people .1Believe it or not, our body is desighned to be a part of the society. Putting time and efforts into positively interacting with others will inevitably bring you a lot health benefits.

5 Lifestyle Hacks For Stronger Digestive System

It doesn’t matter what you ate before but adapting these lifestyle changes can surely give a boost to your digestive system.

Water

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Water is a panacea for digestive problems. It cleans the colon and removes toxins and solid waste from your body.

Keep a handy water bottle with you always. Whenever you feel like drinking something, drink water.

All of the organs, tissues and cells in your body require water for proper functioning. Water is a simple remedy for people who suffer from constipation.

After going several hours without a sip, a serving of water first thing can hydrate the body while aiding digestion and metabolism. Drinking enough water to stay hydrated is more important than whether it is warm or cold.

we should consume Water in between the meals, not with the meal. Keep a gap of at least 30 minutes before and after a meal.

Food

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what we eat or what type of food we consume affects our digestive system most.

Processed, deep-fried, refined food or artificially flavored, sweetened foods stick in our intestine and slow the rate of digestion. On the other hand, fiber rich foods like oats, millets, whole wheat, semi brown rice, nuts fasten our digestion.

Probiotic foods like curd, buttermilk should also be a part of our meals. These foods contain good bacteria which is very necessary for our digestive health.

Also, make seasonal fruits a part of your daily diet. They are high in digestive enzymes and antioxidants. Apple, papaya, pineapple, guava, etc are the best fruit to consume. Also eat a full plate of salads before lunch.

Exercise

Exercise increases the blood circulation in our body. Even low-level activity like walking is very beneficial.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) has gained popularity as a quick and effective way to exercise. It offers many of the same health benefits as other types of exercise.

Its short duration can make it a very practical and effective choice for people who find it difficult to commit to longer sessions. You can rest and do light exercise between intense exercise sessions.

  • Exercise decreases body mass index (BMI)
  • Lower resting heart rate
  • Lower pulse pressure
  • Decreased body weight
  • Improved mental health scores
  • Reduced levels of depression and social avoidance.

Yoga

Vajra asana or Thunderbolt pose is the best yogic pose for the digestive system. When we sit on a thunderbolt pose, blood flow increases towards our stomach.

It is the only pose that we can do even after a meal. So spare 3 to 5 minutes post-meal to sit in this pose.

If you’re pregnant, ask your doctor about Vajrasana. Some feel that we should avoide it. Others feel it’s OK if you keep your knees apart to avoid stressing your abdomen.

Your doctor is familiar with your situation and can give you a personalized recommendation.

Proper chewing of food

Proper chewing of food is the most important and most ignored lifestyle change. Ask yourself, how many times do you chew one bite of food?

In today’s busy lifestyle, we won’t give proper time to chew the food. About 50 percent of digestion takes place in the mouth only. Important enzymes for digestion are present in saliva.

Ideally, we should chew one bite of food 32 times. Almost half the task of digestion is complete here if we chew the food properly.

Practice these steps in your daily routine and see the result within a week.

Everything You Need To Know About Electrolytes

Our body contains a large number of elements all of which are essential for some function or the other. Major elements like Sodium(Na), Potassium(K), and Magnesium are essential as electrolytes to maintain electrolyte balance. Many of these elements are present in adequate amount in normal diet so that we do not encounter their deficiencies in the population.

Electrolytes play an important role in proper hydration. These essential minerals maintain pH levels in the blood, transmit electrical to our nerves and muscles and balance fluids in our body.

Almost every runner needs electrolyte but most of them do not know what are these and how to use them. During exercise, sodium, potassium and chloride are lost in large quantities through sweat. As quantity of these electrolytes decrease in our body, our muscle function can decrease and our body can have difficulty absorbing minerals and fluids. During exercise, we must make sure that our body don’t lose more than 1 per cent of our body weight during exercise. If we are losing more than 1 per cent, let’s say 2 per cent, then we are very much dehydrated and it is important to recover them with fluids and electrolytes within a couple of hours.

Given below are the brief description of important electrolytes in our body :

Potassium(K)

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Potassium and sodium are important constituents of fluids present outside and within the cell. Proper concentration of these electrolytes inside and outside the cell is important to maintain osmotic balance and keep cell in proper shape.

In plant foods, potassium is present in higher concentration than sodium by a factor of 10 to 50 fold. Plant foods are indeed the rich source of potassium. The exact requirement of potassium is not known but potassium preset in foods is probably adequate to meet the daily requirement.

Sources of potassium are:


Bananas
Melon
Avocado
Tomatoes
Potatoes

Sodium(Na)

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Sodium is lost in urine and particularly in sweat as sodium chloride. It helps with fluid retention and cell function. Sodium present in foods is not adequate to meet the requirements. Hence sodium chloride i.e., salt has to be included in the diet. Besides imparting taste of food, salt provides necessary amount of sodium required by the body. The exact amount of sodium required in a tropical country is not certain. The daily intake of salt may be as high as 20 gram, the average being around 15 gram per adult . In view of the association of hypertension with high salt intake, a lower intake of 8 to 10 gram per day may be advisable. Under conditions of excessive sweating as in summer and for those who work in hot environment, a still higher intake may be necessary.

Sources of sodium are :


White salt
Celery
Canned vegetables
Whole grain bread
Cottage cheese

Magnesium(Mg)

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Magnesium is present in small concentration in all cells and is required for cellular metabolism. It is also present in bone along with calcium.
magnesium share many of the properties of calcium so far as absorption and metabolism and tissue distribution are concerned. It helps in muscle function. magnesium is also implicated to have a role in cardiovascular disease.

Dietary intake of magnesium to maintain balance is around 350 mg per day. cereals, pulses and nuts contain 40 to 200 mg per 100 gram. Magnesium content of food is generally much higher than Calcium. Green leafy vegetables are also good source of magnesium. Diets based on cereals, pulses, and vegetables can provide adequate amount of magnesium to meet the requirements.

Sources of magnesium are :


Nuts
Grains
Dark and green leafy vegetables