Typically, I focus on proactive ways to support health, such as boosting your immune system, increasing energy levels, and balancing hormones. However, I want to address daily habits and activities that may hinder your immune system from functioning at its best.
1. Refined sugar
Refined sugar negatively impacts the immune system by hindering the function of neutrophils and phagocytes (white blood cells) that neutralise bacteria and viruses.
Consumption of sugar can impair the mobility and effectiveness of these cells for up to eight hours, compromising your body’s defence against infections.
Refined sugar also triggers inflammation and depletes vital nutrients, diverting resources away from supporting the immune system.
Sugar disrupts the balance of beneficial gut microbes, which play a crucial role in our immune system, considering that these probiotics influence 70% of our immune systems.
Reducing or avoiding refined sugar and opting for natural alternatives that won’t deplete essential nutrients are essential to maintain a healthy immune system.
Remember, many natural alternatives are available for those with a sweet tooth. These alternatives will support your immune system without compromising your nutrient levels.
Alcohol has similar impacts on the immune system to refined sugar.
In addition, alcohol has detrimental effects on the body, depleting its resources and hindering the immune system’s effectiveness.
It’s crucial to be mindful that regular or excessive alcohol consumption can impede your immune system from functioning optimally. Even consuming just a glass of alcohol can hinder the immune system’s ability to protect you against common winter illnesses, viruses, and bacteria.
3. Fried and charred foods
The frying process creates harmful substances called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). AGEs contribute to ageing and cause cellular damage and inflammation that can compromise the immune system.
AGE’s are created when heating foods at high temperatures. Think of the process of making toast. The bread changes colour to brown depending upon how long your heat it for. As the bread turns brown, AGE’s are produced. The deeper the brown/black – the more AGE’s!
Excessive consumption of fried and char-grilled foods increases the amount of AGE’s in your body. These challenge the body and deplete essential antioxidant nutrients necessary for immune function. To support your immune system, reduce fried food intake and choose cooking methods that avoid excessive browning or charring.
4. Foods high in Additives
Food additives are commonly found in packaged foods and serve to preserve and extend the shelf life. While additives prevent microbial growth in the food, they can negatively affect our bodies. You can identify additives by the numbers or chemical names listed on the packaging.
Consuming processed foods with additives alters the microbial composition in our gut, which is responsible for 70% of our immune system. This can impact immune function.
Additionally, processed foods often contain hidden sugars, contributing to inflammation and nutrient depletion, as mentioned in the previous point about refined sugar.
To maintain a strong immune system, it’s advisable to minimise the consumption of packaged foods with additives. Instead, these foods should be regarded as occasional treats, with the awareness that they can compromise immune effectiveness and overall health.
5. Insufficient Sleep
Many often find themselves sacrificing sleep due to busy schedules or late-night work. However, it’s crucial to recognise that sleep is not merely a period of rest but an active time for recovery and building of the body.
During sleep, the body performs necessary cellular repair, hormone production, and detoxification functions. Cellular repair, including immune system repair, is compromised when sleep is inadequate in duration or quality.
Insufficient sleep also elevates stress levels and cortisol hormone production, increasing inflammation and negatively affecting immune function.
To support your immune system, it’s essential to prioritise adequate and quality sleep that suits your individual needs. Remember, everyone’s sleep requirements may differ.
6. Lack of Exercise or Activity
Regular exercise or activity is imperative to health, particularly during this time of year when the days are shorter, and schedules become busier.
Engaging in physical activity doesn’t necessarily mean intense gym workouts. Instead, it’s about getting your body moving and active in any way that suits you, such as walking, dancing, practising yoga, or stretching.
Exercising improves your circulation, benefiting your immune system and promoting detoxification. Exercise also triggers the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormones that counteract stress. Additionally, it supports cellular repair in the body.
However, finding a balance is crucial, as insufficient and excessive exercise can harm the immune system. Moderate exercise is vital to supporting your immune system. Avoid the extremes of sedentary behaviour and overly intense workouts.
It’s hard to avoid the constant negative media news or stressful daily situations, be it work, family, or finances.
However, managing and balancing stress is crucial because chronic stress has a detrimental effect on the immune system, hindering its optimal functioning.
Prolonged stress increase inflammation, affects the availability of essential nutrients for our immune cells and disrupts our gut function and the balance of beneficial bacteria.
Many stress management techniques are available, including Planning and Organising, Emotional Freedom Technique, Hypnotherapy, and Medicinal Herbal Support. Therefore, finding effective stress management techniques that work for you is essential to reduce stress levels.
Want help with your stress – contact me for support.
These 7 tips are designed to help you identify habits that deplete your immune system. Assess if they are present in your life and then find ways to manage or eliminate them for better immune support.
As a Naturopath and Biochemist, I’m here to assist you in boosting your immune system with supplements, herbs, and lifestyle practices. So let’s ditch those habits that hinder your immune system’s effectiveness and find better methods to support your health.
Reach out for guidance today!
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This is how gut microbes can influence weight!
Probiotics can help you gain weight or lose weight by interacting with our genetics, food and metabolism.
And yes, I did say lose or gain weight……..
Firstly, let me explain that the trillions of microbes in the gut need to be varied, meaning that there should be a large variety of species. There are many different species (or breeds) of microbes, and they all have their place in aiding health — the more variety and balance, the better health results.
Back to the weight loss or weight gain issue….
Do you eat yogurt and berries for breakfast? Thinking that it’s helping you lose weight?
Well, Lactobacillus acidophilus (like the species found in yoghurt) has been connected to weight gain.
I am not saying throw your yoghurt and berries in the bin. Instead, I am suggesting looking at the overall picture. If Lactobacillus acidophilus is the predominant micro-organism of the gut, then weight gain can result.
It is about the variety of species of gut microbes. Imagine if we only have trained german shepherd guard dogs in the world. It may be a safe world, but I am sure that other breeds may be more suitable as a family pet.
While Lactobacillus acidophilus is associated with weight gain, other Lactobacillus species correlate with weight loss.
Species like Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus gasseri, and Bifidobacteria animalis have been found to support weight loss.
Want to lose weight?
Look at your gut flora to support your goal.
Tests can be performed to identify the predominant species of the gut, and specific species can be utilised to support weight changes.
Want more information about your gut health?
Or want to look at all the factors contributing to weight gain, I’d love to be able to help.