Habits That Are Aging Your Brain Prematurely And Affecting Your Immunity
- 6 Mins Read
- Health Conditions
- Written by: Dr. Jatin Bhide
Getting healthy is a monumental task, but it’s worth every tiny bit of effort.
Keeping your body in tip top shape helps prevent illnesses. But it’s about more than just empty platitudes. You need to get started by first kicking all your bad habits that contribute to your ill health.
Not getting enough sleep doesn’t just leave you tired and dazed all day, it can also make you more susceptible to the flu and common cold. When your body rests through the night, it repairs damaged cells, regulates your blood sugar levels, and prepares your body to fight off disease. It can also make you more likely to become obese, because we crave carb-heavy foods when we’re not rested enough, not to mention trigger anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.
Cigarettes contain at least 60 carcinogens that are harmful to you, and when you smoke the epithelial cells in your lungs are directly exposed to all of it. This can cause damage to your larynx, bronchi, and lungs, causing various types of cancer.
Additionally, cigarettes contain tar and nicotine, both of which suppress your immune system. They also release a compound called reactive oxygen species (ROS) which adversely affects your immune system’s ability to kill pathogens.
When a virus or pathogen enters your body, your immune system is responsible for fighting it off. If you’re a regular partaker of alcohol however, that immune response could be significantly hampered. Alcohol can kill the helpful microorganism that live in your gut and help maintain your immune health. It can also damage the fine hair-like structures in your airways, whose job it is to trap airborne pathogens before they reach the lungs. Heavy alcohol consumption, aside from things like liver cirrhosis, can lead to adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), pneumonia, tuberculosis, and more.
A poor diet can also wreak havoc on your immune system without you even realizing it. Obviously, you need to stay far away from junk food, or too much sugar can both lead to immune deficiencies. An overdose of caffeine doesn’t just affect your sleep pattern, but consequently also causes inflammation. And too much trans-fat can affect your body’s lipoprotein profiles, which can lead to cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis.
A sedentary lifestyle can do far more damage than you imagine. Exercise helps burn fat, get our blood pumping, and combat stress. Without it, we’re more prone to obesity. And that in turn can lead to adipose inflammations. It also limits your body’s ability to create antibodies and T-cells, white blood cells that help fight disease.
Even if you’re a loner, isolation from friends and family can have significant effects on your mental state. Happiness through interactions with others help our body better fight off viruses like the common cold. Without anyone to talk to, you may start developing feelings of anxiety and depression, both of which add to a weakened immune system. Not to mention, conversation and interaction is a great way to reduce stress from the day to day.