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9 Ways You Are Unknowingly Harming Your Immune System

By Chandana Rao

We would definitely know of the popular quote, "Health Is Wealth", right? However, we may not completely grasp the importance of this quote, until we experience ill-health!

For instance, there are people who continue with their unhealthy lifestyle, which includes following an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and vices like smoking, and they may not pay much attention to their health.

However, when they are affected by certain diseases linked to their lifestyle, they realise the value of their health and could also regret their unhealthy choices.

10 ways you are harming your immune system

So, we must understand that without good health, our life cannot be enjoyed to the full extent and we must do everything we can to maintain good health. Now, our immune system plays a major role in helping the body fight disease-causing agents, which enter our body from the environment.

If the immune system is strong enough, a number of dangerous and possibly life-threatening diseases can be prevented.

There are a number of things which can keep our immune systems healthy, such as a healthy diet and exercise routine.

There are also a few ways which are harming your immune system unknowingly; have a look at them, here.

1. Drinking Excess Of Alcohol

Many of us like to enjoy a glass of wine or beer after a long day at work, or have a couple of drinks to unwind during the weekends, right? While consuming alcohol in limited quantities, occasionally is not unhealthy, drinking more than a glass of alcohol on a daily basis or getting "drunk" regularly can be a blow to your immune system. The toxins in alcohol can weaken your immune system to a great extent.

2. Travelling A Lot

This is the age where travelling the world and seeing as many places as possible has become the norm. However, if you are travelling too often, or you have a job which requires you to be on the go, then your immune system could get weaker. Being exposed to new environments, climate, water and food often and the lack of rest, can all come together affect your immune system.

3. Being Overweight

As we may already know, being overweight or obese can be the root cause of a number of health conditions like high cholesterol, high BP, heart problems, etc. Also, having excess body fat is also one of the causes for a weaker immune system. Research studies say that, the hormonal imbalances created in the body, due to excess fat accumulation can harm the immune system.

4. Chronic Stress

Just like excess body weight, being afflicted with chronic stress can also cause the immune system to become weaker and make you prone to a host of minor and major diseases. When a person is experiencing stress, for any given reason, the stress hormone, known as cortisol, increases in the body. When the cortisol level is high, it can affect your immune system and lower the body's ability to fight the disease-causing agents, thus making you unhealthier!

5. Being Isolated

Most of us love to socialize, go out regularly to meet our friends and loved ones, right? However, there are a few people who prefer spending time on their own most of the time, indoors. While spending quality time with yourself once in a while is good, doing that too often could reduce the dopamine levels in the brain, as you may feel lonely and depressed. When the dopamine levels in your brain are low, it could weaken your immune system.

6. Suppressing Emotions

If you are the kind of person who does not show out anger, sadness, excitement, etc., and keep everything internalised, you could be harming your immune system. A research study conducted on this subject said that, keeping emotions to yourself can also increase the cortisol levels in the body and lead to the weakening of your immune system! So, it is always better to let out your emotions or talk to someone about them.

7. Malnutrition

A healthy diet is very important to sustain good health, in fact it is one of the key factors for optimum health. If you are not consuming a balanced diet, which consists of all the essential nutrients such as vitamins, protein, minerals, healthy fats, fibres, etc., it could result in nutritional deficiencies or malnutrition. This can also affect your immune system negatively and weaken it, as your immune system needs to be well-nourished to remain healthy.

8. Excess Use Of Antibiotics

Antibiotics are medications given to kill certain harmful microbes, which can cause diseases and infections like flu, fungal infections, stomach infections, etc. Along with killing the disease-causing agents, antibiotics also harm the white blood cells in the body, thus affecting your immune system negatively.

9. Dehydration

If you are not in the habit of drinking at least 2 litres of water every day, then your body could go into the dehydration mode, causing a number of diseases. Dehydration can also weaken your immunity to a significant amount of extent because your white blood cells tend to dry up.

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Story first published: Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 21:00 [IST]
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