Source with thanks from eatthis.com
All of you are faced with the challenges posed by COVID 19. While managing life in lockdown is one matter, your own vulnerability to catching the infection is the other matter to take care of. For that immunity is the key. While positive diet and habits you are following is good, you may want to look at some of your habits that may actually be weakening your immunity. The author, in the article below, suggests a few such habits that are not good for your immunity. Team RetyrSmart
Change your habits to avoid weakening your immunity
Virus or No Virus, You Need to Wash Your Hands Consistently
Although not washing your hands isn’t exactly weakening your immune system, if you are not washing your hands frequently, you are constantly challenging your immune system more than is necessary. This is important to mention because, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we should all have firmly grasped the health message about the importance of regular hand washing.
You Bite Your Nails
How can biting your nails weaken your immune system? Besides you potentially getting sick from the grime under your nails? Anxiety, stress and other mental health conditions are often the cause. Those who bite their nails often pull their hair and pick their skin. 30% also bite their toenails!
Chronic stress results in dysregulation of the immune system. When we are stressed or anxious, the sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive, with an outpouring of adrenaline. Cortisol levels increase. This then leads to the release of cytokines—these are the cells signalling the immune response—and results in chronic systemic inflammation, also suppressing some aspects of immune function.
Try to deal with your anxiety in other ways—exercise, meditation, etc.—and think about how you could stop biting your nails. Now would be an excellent time to get started and give your immune system a boost too!
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You Get Less Sleep Than You Need
Are you an insomniac? If this is you, this will undoubtedly not be helping your immune system. When sleep deprivation becomes chronic, it is associated with metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and also harms the cells that make up your immune system.
You Have Poor Dental Hygiene
The link between good oral health and general health is now well established. However, it may not seem immediately obvious that by forgetting to clean your teeth you are not doing your immune system any favours.
Not brushing and flossing your teeth regularly is associated with the development of gum disease—gingivitis and periodontal disease. Bacteria grow in little pockets in your gums, around the base of your teeth. This causes an inflammatory reaction, which then becomes longstanding—chronic systemic inflammation. This means your immune system is working overtime when it should be resting, which has many negative consequences.
You’re Burping a Lot
Although burping is a common occurrence, many people don’t realize that this is an important medical symptom.
Burping suggests the presence of gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). This happens when acid produced in the stomach passes the wrong way—up into the lower end of your oesophagus (throat). You need to think about why this might be happening to you.
Are you eating a poor diet?— junk food, fatty foods, fried foods? Are you lacking fresh foods and essential nutrients in your diet? Could this be due to stress? Or to food sensitivities?
If you suffer from GERD, there are many ways this could be challenging your immune system and damaging your immune response. Go back to basics and think about the possible cause. If you stop drinking, lose weight and eat a healthy diet, this will work wonders to improve your immune system.
You’re Drinking Too Much Alcohol
There is now a good deal of medical evidence to support the relationship between excess alcohol intake and various medical conditions, one of which, highly relevant in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, is Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).
Alcohol damages the barrier function of the gut, by creating a “leaky” gut wall, allowing increased numbers of pathogenic bacteria to enter the blood circulation. These micro-organisms pass directly to the liver, causing liver inflammation. Too much alcohol also alters the gut microbiome.
Alcohol affects the lungs too—it damages the cilia in the upper airways, meaning your body is less able to expel any invading organisms. It also damages cells lining the lower airways.
The effect of alcohol on the immune function itself is complex. However, to help your immune system, and not hinder it, now is the time to reduce your alcohol intake or stop drinking altogether.
You Eat Too Much Fast Food
Did you know when you eat a hamburger your body reacts as if you have swallowed a load of harmful bacteria? The high fat, salt and carbohydrate load, stimulates your immune system to jump into action, and some studies show that poor nutrition does indeed have long term negative consequences on the immune system, and our health.
Fast food is dangerous. Ditch it. It’s always time to eat for health, but never more so given the pandemic.
You Drink Sugary Drinks
Research has confirmed that people who regularly drink sugary drinks have levels of an inflammatory marker. One study, which examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, reported that as sugary drink consumption (soda and fruit juices) has gone down, inflammatory markers have improved—such as a decrease in LDL cholesterol.
Drink water or seltzer, tea or coffee, maybe a glass of red wine a day—but skip the soda.
You Eat Too Much Salt
It’s a reflex action to reach for the saltshaker and sprinkle salt on just about everything! However, too much salt in your diet results in an increase in blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke—and too much salt can also weaken your immune system. Some studies show reducing salt in your diet can give you an extra year of life!
You Think “Bad Carbs” are Good
Why do we crave foods which are bad for us—high sugar, and often nutritionally poor? The sugar burst stimulates areas of the brain which give us pleasure. Too much of these foods can lead to food addiction and food cravings.
These are foods with a high glycaemic index. The list includes sugary foods and drinks, white bread and white pasta, white rice, cakes, doughnuts, and most packaged breakfast cereals. However, short bursts of high blood sugar can affect a negative effect on the immune response.
Time to break the habit! Eat mainly carbs made from whole grains.
Changing habits is notoriously difficult. It takes huge determination and incredible staying power. But yes, you can do it. You are the master of your own destiny!