Avoid These 7 Immune System Saboteurs

These days, a healthy immune system is more important than ever. Eating right, exercising often and getting regular chiropractic adjustments all help, but there’s even more you can do. Give your immune system a boost by avoiding these sometimes surprising immune system saboteurs:

Dehydration

Without proper hydration, our bodies have a tough time flushing away immune system-damaging toxins. The most accurate sign you’re getting all the water you need is urine that is clear and light yellow in color every time you go—even first thing in the morning. If not, increase the amount of water you drink until you achieve regular, pale yellow results.

Inadequate Sleep

While sleeping, your body has time to heal and rebuild, preparing it and your immune system for the next healthy day. A 2009 Carnegie Mellon study showed the chance of catching a cold may as much as triple for people who get less than seven hours of sleep at night. Avoid late nights and all-nighters as much as possible to help keep your immune system strong.

Loneliness

Ohio State researchers discovered that anxiety over chronic relationships has the same effect as chronic stress and suppresses your immune system from functioning at the highest level. If you’re feeling isolated, find ways to bring more social activity into your life. Join a networking group or volunteer. You’ll be surprised how quickly you make new friends.

Antibiotics

Cytokines, messenger cells that help regulate or change other cells to evoke an immune response, rapidly decrease while taking antibiotics. While there is certainly a time and place for antibiotic medication, don’t seek it for a cold, flu or other type of virus. Instead, manage cold symptoms by boosting your water and vitamin C intake and listening to your body when it needs extra rest.

Nonstick Chemicals

Chemicals commonly used in nonstick cookware can release toxic fumes and raise levels of hormone-disrupting perfluorinated compounds in the blood stream. If you can, ditch nonstick pans for cast iron or stainless steel.

Processed Foods

It’s no secret processed foods are bad for us. Chock full of additives, pesticides and preservatives, these compounds weaken the body’s ability to fend off illness. Take a serious look at the contents of your pantry and fridge. Ditch or donate processed items and replace with fruits, veggies and lean proteins.

Sugar

A study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that eating 100 grams of sugar—roughly the amount in a regular soft drink or sweetened yogurt—significantly reduced the immune system’s ability to kill bacteria for up to five hours. Pay close attention to everywhere sugar lurks, even breads, dressings and condiments, and find ways to reduce your intake.