A weakened immune system can leave you not feeling well and susceptible to illness. But do you know what destroys an immune system? Find out in this article and pay attention to what’s weakening your body’s defenses.
What is the immune system?
The immune system is your body’s natural barrier against disease and keeps it alive and healthy. Imagine a bunch of bouncers at the door to a dance club letting in or denying entrance to people based on their characteristics. We couldn’t live without an immune system to protect us against viruses, bacteria and fungi that would otherwise easily invade the body.
The immune system is also responsible for preventing diseases from spreading if they get past the initial barriers. This is how the body defends itself against infections by neutralizing and eliminating harmful microorganisms.
What happens if your immune system isn’t functioning properly?
You can probably guess the answer. You’ll be more susceptible to getting sick or developing an infection, as happens in HIV patients, for example.
They have really weak immune systems (as the disease destroys the defenses) and it’s for this reason that a simple cold can be deadly. Aside from this terrible situation, we know that a depressed immune system (or unbalanced) isn’t able to care for and protect the body as it should.
When the body’s defenses aren’t working properly, we’re not as resistant to harmful microorganisms. This leads to many negative consequences, as you can develop chronic or prolonged illnesses, recurring disease or have problems healing.
Not only are you more likely to get a cold or the flu, you’re also more likely to encounter serious problems like urinary tract, kidney or liver infections, arthritis, human papiloma virus (HPV), skin problems, onychomycosis, etc.
What weakens the immune system?
We can divide the causes of a weak immune system into 3 groups: nutrition, emotions, and activities.
“You are what you eat” is a really common saying. In this case we could change it a little to say, “Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you what’s wrong with you.” Many foods commonly found in our daily diets lower the body’s defenses. The foods include:
- Refined flours (white).
- Processed and sugary cereals.
- Cow’s milk.
- Additives, preservatives and dyes.
- White sugar.
- Soft drinks.
- Canned foods, cakes, all types of precooked and processed foods.
If you tend to get sick often, you may be eating too many “foods” from this list.
Above all stress, but also anxiety and nerves. All these emotions are harmful when they reach elevated levels and reduce the body’s ability to defend and heal itself from diseases. That’s why when you’re really tired, overworked, anxious or nervous you’re more likely to get sick.
This is also linked with the previous group. It’s been proven that the body craves certain types of food when it’s imbalanced, and it only wants the ones that are the worst for it.
For example, when you’re depressed, you don’t want a glass of orange juice, you’d rather have a bag of potato chips. Stress wears on the immune system, so you should make every effort to be more relaxed.
Remember that we all have problems, but what separates us is how we deal with them.
Sedentarism is intimately linked with all sorts of diseases. And we’re not just referring to being overweight or having high cholesterol, but other more serious diseases. If you spend your day sitting in an office and don’t exercise at least twice a week, start making time to move your body at least two hours a week.
It’s not a lot and the benefits are enormous. If you don’t want to go to the gym or the park, it doesn’t matter. At least dance at home. Buy a stationary bike (and use it so it doesn’t end up sitting in your closet). Climb stairs instead of taking the elevator, walk to work or the store, etc.
How to naturally increase your defenses
We can reinforce the immune system by adopting a few healthy habits, as you may have already realized. Some tips that can help you improve your immune system:
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes should all be included in your daily diet. Don’t forget to drink at least two liters of water a day. Make healthy choices at the grocery store and fill your fridge and cupboards with natural food, that way you won’t suffer from temptation.
Get a good night’s sleep
Another way to increase your immune defenses is with proper rest. There’s no universal standard because everyone is different, but the average is 7 hours (6 to 8). Sleeping helps your body restore energy spent during the day and keeps your immune system strong and healthy.
If you work in an office, go out for lunch and find a place like a park bench where you can enjoy the sunshine. Position yourself as close as possible to a large window and open the curtains. Don’t use artificial light until late afternoon.
Smiling is great therapy. It’s recommended for patients with terminal or chronic diseases to improve their quality of life. A good mood goes a long way to fight off depression, stress, and anxiety.