Some inadvertent habits may be doing you more harm than good. Discard them, and you can develop a fighting fit immune system to ward off colds, flu and pesty viruses!
While we get great advice on how to boost our immunity, there are some things that slip under our radar which may be detrimental to our antibodies!
So, no matter how regular you are with your daily multi- vitamin, it’s not your best guarantee for optimum health.
Make sure you are not inadvertently indulging in the following things that work against your immune system:
1. Watching TV late into the night
This is not good for you for two reasons:
- The blue light emitted from digital devices disrupts your natural circadian rhythm affecting the quality of your sleep.
- The last thing you do before you sleep has a direct correlation with the quality of your sleep. Viewing content which can create anxiety and disturb your mind may affect your thoughts and sleep.
Getting enough sleep not only feels great but it’s also an essential function for the mind and body as well as helping to maintain a healthy brain function, physical health, executive function and emotional wellbeing, it promotes a healthy immune system too.
Simply put, without sufficient sleep, our body produces fewer cytokines or essential proteins, which can result in weaker immunity.
Aim to turn in early and get seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night. Adding naps is also a great way to replenish energy, but make sure the naps are short.
2. Not Getting enough Sunlight
Exposure to sunlight is an invaluable and only way to make vitamin D in our system. Vitamin D promotes strong bones and healthy blood cells, it is also important for keeping your immune system good to go.
An online article in The Telegraph reports that 65-70 percent of our Indian population is vitamin D deficient and for 15 per cent, it’s insufficient.
Seniors, people who don’t eat dairy products and fish, those who stay indoors, and people who have obesity are at high risk for low vitamin D levels.
Due to the lockdown you may have been spending more time indoors than usual too, your vitamin D levels may have dropped. Ideally 20-30 minutes of mid- morning sun in our climate, should do the trick.
The importance that vitamin D plays in our life cannot be underscored. Make sure your intake and absorption levels are on track for good health and vitality.
3. Being Mostly Sedentary
Regular movement is a key component of a healthy lifestyle. Though it’s best to get a thumbs up from your physician regarding your optimum activity, aim for 30- 45 mins on average per day of moderate-intensity physical activity.
It’s no secret that being fit and regularly physically active supports our health overall – including immune function.
Additionally, exercise promotes good sleep and reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which can impair the functioning of cells that fight infection. It also improves metabolic health, has an anti-inflammatory influence on the body and helps delay the onset of ageing.
Walking, yoga, dancing, swimming are ideal ways to keep active. Make your exercise fun, learn a new dance routine, it is a wonderful workout for the brain as well!
Cigarettes can harm your immune system, as well as increase your risk of developing respiratory illnesses and other major diseases, including many cancers and heart disease. Nicotine is a lethal toxin that increase cortisol levels, reduces cell antibody formation, and damages the lungs, which makes them more susceptible to infection.
If you do smoke, consider using some support to help you quit. There are plenty of resources available at the click of a button- literally. Your reward will be a breath of fresh air and renewed immunity!
5. Ignoring your “gut bacteria” is not a good idea
As well as promoting digestion, the ‘friendly’, lactic acid-producing bacteria in the lower part of the gut can help stimulate our resistance to infection – including viruses that may cause upper respiratory tract infections.
Probiotics are a key factor that keep our immunity up and alert and responsive. The food you eat – is a crucial factor, and a varied, balanced diet with plenty of probiotics (like dahi, kefir and kombucha), plus adequate fibre (fruit, vegetables, and multi grains) are essential for promoting healthy gut bacteria.
6. Feeling lonely
Studies have also found that people who feel lonely or isolated may have less healthy immune function than those who feel more socially connected.
The increased anxiety associated with loneliness can be detrimental to the immune system. The lockdown has given rise to superbly interesting webinars, (you can check some of ours out at: https://seniorstoday.in/category/webinar).
Today’s technology ensures that you can ‘’virtually” do almost anything, so do make sure you keep updated with online activities and you can have fun with others online by just sitting at home!
7. One too many?
Though occasional social drinking may be fine, drinking more than a couple of drinks every day is not a good idea. Alcohol can weaken the immune system and make the body more susceptible to infections.
It also reduces the immune system’s response to bad bacteria, increasing the risk of infection. – which is why heavy drinkers might notice they catch colds and other illnesses more easily.
Incorporating a few changes in your daily lifestyle can make a world of a difference to how you feel. Your reward will be a supercharged immune system which endows you with more energy and vitality. Remember your immunity is the center of your being and when it is at its best you will feel great!