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Here’s How You’re Unknowingly Exposing Yourself To Diseases And Infections

You have probably heard that the immune system helps to fight off infections and maintain sound health; it actually functions as a network of organs and processes in the body that form a defence against infections and diseases.

The stronger the immune system, the more prepared it is to provide resistance against infections and toxins.

According to experts, the immune system keeps a record of every germ it has ever defeated so it can recognise and destroy them quickly if they enter the body again.

However, it is also possible for individuals to suppress their own immune systems through unhealthy lifestyles or activities, according to online portal, WebMd.

No sex. Too much sex

Weekly intimacy seems to help boost your immune system, compared to those who have it less often. Sex raises levels of a germ-fighting substance called Immunoglobulin A, or IgA.

However, more sex may not always be better, the portal warns. In fact, couples who had sex more than twice a week had lower levels of IgA than those who had no sex at all. So, don’t overdo it!

Lack of sleep

Not getting enough sleep can make you more likely to catch viruses or germs. And you also may take longer to get better. That’s because your body can’t make as many infection-fighting cells and proteins called antibodies that help defend against illness. Your body releases certain proteins that help the immune system, called cytokines, only during sleep.

Anxiety

Just having anxious thoughts can weaken your immune response in as little as 30 minutes. Constant stress takes an even bigger toll and makes it harder to fend off the flu, herpes, shingles, and other viruses. Talk to your doctor if you can’t shake your worry or if it gets in the way of normal life.

Low Vitamin D

Yes, vitamin D is necessary for strong bones and healthy blood cells. But it also helps boost the immune system. You can get it in eggs, fatty fish, and fortified foods like milk and cereal. Sunlight is another key source. But don’t overdo your sun exposure!

SEE ALSO: Why Oxford, Princeton Researchers Are Calling For Healthy People To Up Their Daily Intake Of Vitamin D

Certain medications

Some medications actually weaken your immunity. They include drugs to treat allergies, arthritis, lupus, irritable bowel syndrome, and organ transplant. Corticosteroids are one example, as are TNF inhibitors for inflammation and chemotherapy for cancer.

Too few fruits and vegetables

These foods may help your body make more of the white blood cells you need to fight off infections. Fresh produce and nuts and seeds pack a lot of zinc, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, and E, and other nutrients you need for a healthy body. Plant-based foods also fill you up with fiber, which helps lower your body fat percentage, which can strengthen your immune response.

High-fat diet

Oils can hinder germ-fighting white blood cells. And high fat diets over time can upset the balance of bacteria in your gut that can help immune response. Look for low-fat dairy with no added sugar, along with lean protein like seafood, turkey, and chicken, or lean cuts of beef with any visible fat cut off. Also, being obese seems to make you more prone to flu and other infections, like pneumonia.

Smoking

Nicotine from cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or any other source can weaken your body’s ability to fight germs. Yes, vaping counts, too. And it’s not just the nicotine. Other chemicals in e-liquids seem to suppress your immune response, especially when you inhale them through vaping.

Alcohol

Just overdoing it once slows your body’s ability to fight germs for up to 24 hours. Over time, drinking too much blunts your body’s ability to repair itself. That may be part of the reason you’re more likely to get illnesses like liver disease, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and certain cancers. If you use alcohol, try to keep it to one drink a day for women and two drinks for men.

Grief

There is some evidence that sorrow, especially if it lasts a long time, can depress your body’s immunity. The effect can linger for six months, but may go on longer if your grief is deep or doesn’t ease. Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional if you need help with a loss or traumatic event.

ALSO SEE: RESEARCH: 12 Life-threatening Things That Can Happen To Your Body If You Don’t Exercise

Lack of exercise

Regular aerobic exercise appears to help your body fight illness caused by viruses and bacteria. That’s in part because it helps blood get around your body more efficiently, which means germ-fighting substances get where they need to go.

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