Avoid These 8 Habits For A Stronger Immune System

Ready to score higher on the stronger immune system scale? We’re here to help with that!

Everyone has bad habits that are hard to shake. Some of those bad habits might be impacting your immunity. 

Keep reading to discover eight habits that you should consider shaking loose from your day-to-day so you can strengthen your immune system over time. 

Do you forget to wash your hands?

Life gets crazy, and sometimes, we forget to do even the simplest things. You’re not alone. We feel you! But, if you’re frequently forgetting to wash your hands, it might be negatively impacting your immune system health. Not washing your hands can make things a lot harder for your immune system to get its job done, leading to excessive immune responses [1]. Maybe you’ve heard that an up-tick in personal hygiene like lots of hand-washing and cleaning might impair your immune system? This belief is not backed by scientific evidence [22]. 

Pro-Tip: Your immune system loves cleanliness. You should be regularly washing your hands to protect the integrity of your immunity. That means after even the smallest tasks, like doing your laundry or petting your pup. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are also smart investments to keep you and your space clean. 

Are you getting enough sleep? 

You’ve probably heard this a thousand times over - lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your overall wellness. Studies have shown that getting enough sleep is helpful for the T-cells in your body to fight off infections [2]. T-Cells, according to Stoyan Dimitrov, Ph.D., researcher at the University of Tübingen, “are a type of… immune cells that fight against intracellular pathogens, for example, virus-infected cells such as flu, HIV, herpes, and cancer cells.” So, the bottom line is that a good night’s rest can help to strengthen your immunity [2].

Pro-Tip: Your immune system loves to rest. Make sure you're getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night [3]. If you struggle to sleep, check out our blog on gut health tips which mentions some tried and true tricks to get better sleep at night. You should also try our Wholesome Organics Turmeric Curcumin for an extra boost of immunity wellness and to even possibly help with sleep struggles. Some studies have shown that turmeric may help with sleep deprivation [4]. Our 1300 mg formula is made with high-potency 95% Standardized Curcuminoids and is enhanced with BioPerine Black Pepper Extract to increase absorption efficiency.

Are you brushing your teeth twice a day?

You should be! Your mouth is like the entryway to the tunnel that leads to your digestive and respiratory tracts, and, naturally, your mouth is full of little microbes that can cause infection and disease. This is why good oral care is super important. Without it, these microbes can start getting a bit out of hand, and not only affect the inside of your mouth like your teeth and gums but your immunity, too [5]. An unclean mouth puts your immune system into overdrive. 

Pro-Tip: Your immune system loves squeaky clean teeth. To protect your oral health, you should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Experts recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily [5]. Mouthwash can come in handy for removing food particles left over after brushing and flossing, and make sure you’re visiting your dentist for checkups and cleanings!

Do you bite your nails a lot?

Anxiety and stress are prevalent struggles for virtually every human being. If you’re an anxious nail-biter, you’re not the only one. Not only is chronic nail-biting unsanitary, increasing the risk of infection, but it is most likely due to overstimulation, anxiety, stress, or other underlying disorders [6]. Everyday stressors and triggers have a great impact on the immune system by possibly affecting inflammatory processes, wound healing, and responses to infectious agents and other immune challenges [7, 23]. 

Pro-Tip: Your immune system loves to unwind. Take some time every day to relax and practice mindfulness. If you struggle with anxiety and stress on the daily, check out our blog on getting your gut back in balance which also includes some tips on dealing with everyday stressors and anxieties. You can also give our Wholesome Organics Ashwagandha Complex a go for even more stress and mood support. Studies have suggested that this special herb can help the body cope with stress [8]. Our formula is made with organic KSM-66® with 5% withanolides, Black Pepper for enhanced absorption, and is vegan-friendly. 

Do you burp a lot? 

We all burp once in a while but, did you know that burping excessively might be a health issue? Excessive burping might be a sign of an acid reflux issue, which is when the acid in your stomach passes into the lower end of your throat. It might also be due to heartburn, or other underlying health issues. According to recent studies, acid reflux, or other reflux problems like GERD (gastroesophageal reflux), challenge the immune system, leading to damaged immune responses [9,10,11]. 

Pro-Tip: Your immune system loves the simpler things in life. If you’re struggling with heartburn or acid reflux, it might be time to return to the basics. Make sure your diet consists of fresh foods and essential nutrients - ditch fatty and fried foods. You can also try the following to decrease burping [11]:

  • Slow down while you eat and drink.
  • Avoid eating when stressed.
  • Avoid carbonated beverages, including beer.
  • Avoid drinking through a straw.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Stop chewing gum and sucking on hard candies.
  • If you wear dentures, make sure they fit properly.
  • Take a short walk or get other light exercises after eating.
  •  If you are experiencing health issues, always consult your doctor first. 

    Are you constantly craving junk food? 

    Fast food is quick and easy, but it’s usually not very good for you or your immune system. A nutrient-dense diet can support the well-being of your immune system, while a diet that’s low in nutrients and high in ultra-processed foods can weaken your immune function [12]. Fried foods like french fries, potato chips, fried chicken, pan-fried steak, fried bacon, and fried fish can all be culprits of a weakened immune system by promoting inflammation, depleting the body’s antioxidant mechanisms, inducing cellular dysfunction, and even affecting gut health [12].

    Pro-Tip: Your immune system loves greens and fresh fruits. That’s because foods like grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and even tangerines are high in vitamin C, which is a known immune system booster. Veggies like broccoli, spinach, and kale are just a few examples of superfoods that are brimming with immune system-boosting vitamins and minerals [13]. Another superfood for stronger immunity is garlic. Studies have found that garlic contains compounds that can help the immune system fight harmful microbes and free radicals [14]. Go ahead and try our Wholesome Organics Garlic Supplement, which contains 30 capsules that contain 100:1 extracts of 10mg - that’s equivalent to 1,000mg of fresh garlic. Plus, our Garlic supplement harnesses allicin, which is the main active ingredient in garlic and has been discovered to boost white blood cells in the body that fight infection [15].

    Does your diet have a lot of salt content?

    Salt makes a lot of foods yummy, but too much of a good thing can lead to some not-so-good things. What do we mean? Well, salty foods like chips or fast food have been shown to weaken immune responses. Diets high in salt can lead to tissue inflammation and increase the risk of autoimmune diseases [17]. In a 2016 study, six men who ate a high salt content diet for an extended period experienced immune systems that went into overdrive, plus lowered anti-inflammatory proteins, which indicated an immune system that was responding in excessive ways [16].

    Pro-Tip: Your immune system loves balance. Find alternatives to your usual salty dish or salt seasonings, like garlic, onions, basil, paprika, rosemary, peppers, or even citrus fruits. You can also try our Wholesome Organics Probiotics. Did you know that your gut health is directly linked to your immune system health? It’s true. Our formula is made with 51 billion CFUs for maximum efficacy, plus 11 naturally-sourced, certified vegan, non-GMO probiotic strains that are free of gluten, dairy, and soy. Not sure about probiotics still? Then take a look at our blog that gives you five reasons why you should be taking probiotics daily.

    Are you indulging in a lot of sugary treats? 

    Having a savory, sugary treat once in a while isn’t detrimental to your health. But if you’re eating quite a bit of those dark chocolate bars or ice cream sandwiches, it might be doing more harm than good to your immunity. Diets high in sugar content can lead to weakened immune responses and have even been shown to suppress your immunity in only a matter of hours after consuming sugar-rich foods or beverages [18,19,20]. High blood sugar levels have also been shown to weaken two types of immune cells known as neutrophils and phagocytes, which help to protect against infection [20].

    Pro-Tip: Your immune system loves to opt for “good” carbs. Carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and starchy veggies are less processed than refined carbs, and naturally have high fiber, vitamin, and mineral contents that are capable of strengthening your overall immunity [21]. Check out our blog that talks more about tips to improve not just your immune system health, but your gut health, too, and also mentions why refined carbohydrates aren’t the way to go. You can also try our Wholesome Organics Daily Multi-Vitamin, which we believe can boost your immune system function through vitamins B6, C, and D, plus antioxidants and various other important vitamins and minerals.

    What are your favorite tips and tricks from this list? Do you use supplements to boost your overall immunity? Let us know! The Wholesome community would love to hear from you. 

    Resources: 

    1. Cleveland Clinic. (2020, September 21). Can being too clean weaken your immune system? Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/can-being-too-clean-weaken-your-immune-system.
    2. Pratt, E. (2019, February 21). Sleep and immune system. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/.
    3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, March 2). CDC - how much sleep do I need? - sleep and sleep disorders. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html
    4. Kumar, A., & Singh, A. (2008, August). Possible nitric oxide modulation in protective effect of (Curcuma longa, Zingiberaceae) against sleep deprivation-induced behavioral alterations and oxidative damage in mice. Phytomedicine: international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18586477
    5. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, October 28). Oral Health: A window to your overall health. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health.
    6. Lawrence E. Gibson, M. D. (2020, July 14). Is nail biting harmful to your health? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health.
    7. Segerstrom, S. C., & Miller, G. E. (2004, July). Psychological stress and the human immune system: A meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry. Psychological bulletin. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361287/
    8. Salve, J., Pate, S., Debnath, K., & Langade, D. (2019, December 25). Adaptogenic and anxiolytic effects of ashwagandha root extract in healthy adults: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study. Cureus. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6979308/
    9. Warner, J. (2009, November 23). Gerd-related injury may have immune trigger. WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/news. 
    10. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, January 6). Practical tips to reduce bloating, belching and Gas. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gas-and-gas-pains/in-depth.
    11. Frothingham, S. (2019, April 29). Excessive burping: Causes and treatment. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/excessive-burping
    12. Kubala, J. (2021, March 22). 10 foods that may weaken your immune system. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-that-weaken-immune-system.
    13. Gunnars, K. (2018, April 24). Can vitamin C prevent or cure colds? Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/does-vitamin-c-help-with-colds
    14. Arreola, R., Quintero-Fabián, S., López-Roa, R. I., Flores-Gutiérrez, E. O., Reyes-Grajeda, J. P., Carrera-Quintanar, L., & Ortuño-Sahagún, D. (2015). Immunomodulation and anti-inflammatory effects of garlic compounds. Journal of immunology research. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25961060
    15. Percival S. S. (2016). Aged Garlic Extract Modifies Human Immunity. The Journal of nutrition, 146(2), 433S–436S. https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.115.210427
    16. Yi, B., Titze, J., Rykova, M., Feuerecker, M., Vassilieva, G., Nichiporuk, I., Schelling, G., Morukov, B., & Choukèr, A. (2015). Effects of dietary salt levels on monocytic cells and immune responses in healthy human subjects: a longitudinal study. Translational research: the journal of laboratory and clinical medicine, 166(1), 103–110. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trsl.2014.11.007
    17. Scrivo, R., Perricone, C., Altobelli, A., Castellani, C., Tinti, L., Conti, F., & Valesini, G. (2019). Dietary Habits Bursting into the Complex Pathogenesis of Autoimmune Diseases: The Emerging Role of Salt from Experimental and Clinical Studies. Nutrients, 11(5), 1013. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11051013
    18. Iddir, M., Brito, A., Dingeo, G., Fernandez Del Campo, S. S., Samouda, H., La Frano, M. R., & Bohn, T. (2020). Strengthening the Immune System and Reducing Inflammation and Oxidative Stress through Diet and Nutrition: Considerations during the COVID-19 Crisis. Nutrients, 12(6), 1562. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061562
    19. Albert Sanchez, J. L. Reeser, H. S. Lau, P. Y. Yahiku, R. E. Willard, P. J. McMillan, S. Y. Cho, A. R. Magie, U. D. Register, Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 26, Issue 11, November 1973, Pages 1180–1184, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/26.11.1180
    20. Weingus, L. (2020, March 23). Can eating sugar weaken your immune system? here's what to know. HuffPost. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/sugar-weaken-immune-system.
    21. Harvard Nutrition Source. (2019, November 4). Whole grains. The Nutrition Source. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource.
    22. Aiello, A. E., Coulborn, R. M., Perez, V., & Larson, E. L. (2008). Effect of hand hygiene on infectious disease risk in the community setting: a meta-analysis. American journal of public health, 98(8), 1372–1381. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2007.124610
    23. Seiler, A., Fagundes, C. P., & Christian, L. M. (1970, January 1). The impact of everyday stressors on the immune system and health. SpringerLink. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-16996-1_6.

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