Lifestyle Choices May Affect Immune System


Your body’s immune system serves as a defense mechanism that protects you from infections and diseases by attacking and destroying germs, viruses, bacteria and parasites. It’s important to keep the immune system healthy so it can effectively do its job. But being healthy is more than regularly taking vitamins, washing hands or eating nutritious meals. There are many lifestyle choices that may affect your immune system.

Here are the 10 ways people destroy their immune system from Prevention magazine:

  1. Minimal socializing – Making regular connections with friends and family members is vital to a healthy immune system; researchers discovered that people with few human connections at work, home or community are more likely to get sick, have higher anxiety and live shorter lives
  2. Insufficient quality sleep – Limited or poor-quality sleep has been linked to a lower-functioning immune system, with fewer healthy cells that attack and kill germs; most adults need between 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted rest every night to enjoy good health
  3. Pessimistic attitude toward life – Scientists have discovered that pessimistic people often have shorter lifespans than those with an optimistic attitude toward life; focus on the positive aspects of life each day and avoid carrying stress, which damages the immune system
  4. Suppress feelings – People who internalize their feelings have fewer natural virus-fighting cells
  5. Experience daily chronic stress – Individuals who constantly work and live in stressful situations experience a measurable decline in the immune system’s ability to fight disease
  6. Touch germ-infested communal objects – Medical professionals report that cold and flu germs easily are passed through hand-to-hand contact; avoid objects that other people have touched, such as computer keyboards, phones, doorknobs or elevator buttons, or using a store pen to sign a receipt
  7. Get insufficient exercise – In the past, Americans walked to the grocery store or bank, but today most people drive to these locations; people who don’t exercise regularly take four times as many sick days as those who do; scientists claim that a 30-minute brisk walk reinvigorates white cells, which are necessary to support a healthy immune system
  8. Hang around people who smoke – Each year approximately 3,000 nonsmoking Americans die of lung cancer, and 300,000 children experience respiratory infections from secondhand smoke
  9. Excessive use of antibiotics – These powerful drugs should be taken only for bacterial infections; people who take antibiotics for viruses, such as a cold or flu, may suppress their immune system, develop resistant bacteria and become sick in the future
  10.  Don’t laugh enough – Researchers have discovered that laughter helps to decrease stress hormones and increase healthy immune cells