How to Care for Your Immune System
Unhealthy Habits to Cut Out of Your Daily Routine
It’s especially important to ensure that your immune system is in fighting shape while there is an ongoing pandemic. It’s been shown that immunocompromised people tend to suffer worse from Coronavirus symptoms in general, due to the way that the virus infects cells in the body. Check our previous blog posts and outside sources like Science News for more information as to how the Coronavirus operates within the human body, and why patients with heart disease are especially vulnerable to serious complications.
There has been a wealth of studies conducted by medical authorities on the possible ways to boost your immune system. Unfortunately, the idea that a handful of lifestyle changes will make you impervious to disease isn’t totally realistic. The body is susceptible to all sorts of threats, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other general toxins that humans can come in contact with. To protect your body from disease is to protect your body from millions and millions of specific compounds and entities— some alive like bacteria and parasites— others not. That being said, there are certain habits and situations that are very common in today’s society that have been studied well and are now known to hinder a healthy lifestyle. As a result, one of the best ways to boost the immune system, is to avoid stressing it through unhealthy habits.
Smoking tobacco is a habit that’s been studied well by a multitude of academic researchers, and it’s been found to negatively impact a large number of discrete systems of the body. It’s been found that even one cigarette per day can negatively impact cardiovascular health. Smoking also increases the risk of respiratory infection— one of the reasons why smokers have been specifically warned by the Centers for Disease Control to do their best to avoid contracting Coronavirus. Smoking is also connected to a weakened aorta, as well as lung, esophageal, stomach, and pancreatic cancer. If you’re concerned about your health, there’s no question that quitting tobacco should be the first change to make.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Excessive alcohol ingestion has been linked to an increased risk of pneumonia, as well as cancer of the mouth and throat, larynx, esophagus, colon and rectum, liver, and breast. There are a host of gut-related issues that are linked to alcohol use as well. While it’s been noted that certain kinds of alcohol have health benefits when enjoyed in moderation, these are benefits that aren’t unique to red wine for example, and haven’t been found in other common forms of alcohol. In general, research has found that 1 or 2 glasses of wine per day is one of the only alcohol regimens that offers any health benefits— anymore is likely inhibiting the function of your immune system.
Reduce Sugar Intake
Ingesting a large amount of added sugar has also been shown to reduce the capability of immune system cells that attack bacteria. This effect can last for a few hours after drinking a couple of sugary beverages. A great way to regulate sugar intake is by giving yourself a maximum amount of sugar to consume per day— the American Food and Drug Association suggests 50 grams per day at a maximum. Sugar isn’t a necessary part of any diet, and many elite athletes often try to avoid non-complex sugars altogether.
Develop New, Healthy Habits!
Boosting your immune system might sound like work, but there have been many studies that found that people who engage in immune system boosting behaviors are often happier on average than those who don’t. Diet and exercise are two well-known examples of healthy activities that have well-researched, positive effects on overall wellbeing. With an unbalanced diet, it’s possible to develop macronutrient deficiencies that make it easier for infections to develop in the body. We’ve got some tips here, if you’re interested in how to sustain a healthy diet. Moderate exercise has been shown to positively impact the immune system, whereas bouts of strenuous exercise have mixed results.
Take steps to sleep more, and sleep better! If you’re not getting up to eight hours of sleep per night, your immune system might not be functioning at its best capacity. During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help you sleep better. Certain cytokines have to increase when you have an infection or general inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines, which make it easier for you to get sick.
Take Steps to Reduce Stress Today
While it’s important to seek the advice of a physician for staying healthy, it’s been shown that poor mental health can translate into poor bodily health as well. The CDC has a great article on what you can do to reduce stress and keep your immune system healthy during this uncertain time. We have more tips on our blog for how to reduce stress and stay healthy, which you can find here. Follow our blog for other great health information, and make sure to reach out to us if you have any questions about heart health, or health in general.