Millions of people were infected in the course of Covid-19 pandemic which still continues to affect our lives in many ways. While some people reported severe symptoms, some got infected multiple times, there are others who did not get infected at all or had mild symptoms. If you feel you suffer from high stress levels most of the days, almost always have a cold, have frequent tummy troubles, feel exhausted all the time and fall ill frequently, these are the signs of low immunity. There may be some unhealthy daily habits that could be behind your low immunity and getting rid of them perhaps could prepare your immune system better to fight diseases and infections. (Also read: People with hybrid immunity run 95% lower chance of infection, hospitalisations: Report)
Not just Covid, many diseases made a comeback in the past few years from Monkeypox to Measles. Getting vaccinated can help to a large extent, but inculcating healthy habits can go a long way in fighting future diseases and infections.
“Frequent cold and cough, difficulty fighting off infections, persistent fatigue, or digestive issues, are symptoms of low immunity or a weak immune system,” says Ruchika Jain, Chief Clinical Nutritionist at Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj.
REASONS OF LOW IMMUNITY
Here are 5 common reasons people suffer from low immunity.
A diet that lacks essential nutrients in sufficient quantities is one of the major reasons of poor immunity. Unhealthy diet, processed food, junk food lacks all vital nutrients.
“A healthy gut microbiota is vital for a healthy immune system. Our body needs adequate protein, fiber, omega 3 fats, vitamins D, C, B, A, E, and K, and minerals like iron, calcium, selenium, and zinc for immune system to work efficiently. Hence its important to incorporate more fruits and vegetables, fiber rich foods, prebiotics, probiotics, nuts and oil seeds to boost our immune system,” says Jain.
“Eating too much junk and processed food makes your immunity low, since your body does not have adequate nutrients which you get from healthy food and seasonal produce,” says Dr Abhishek Subhash, Consultant, Internal Medicine at Bhatia Hospital Mumbai.
2. Lack of exercise
If you are not stepping out for exercise at all or less than 3 days a week, there are chances of you catching frequent infections as your immune system may not be working very well.
“Regular moderate intensity exercise helps for better sleep, improved moods, decrease stress levels and increased circulation of immune cells in your body, all factors contributing to a healthy immune system,” says Jain.
As per researches exercise has the potential to flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways and decreases your chances of developing diabetes, obesity and heart diseases.
“Lack of exercise and body movement can suppress immunity. Moderate and regular exercise helps to improve blood flow and reduce stress hormones,” says Dr Subhash.
Stress is one of the main culprits behind our low immunity and over a period of time accumulation of stress can make your susceptible to many diseases.
“Stress can weaken the immune system further and make a person more susceptible to illness. Chronic, elevated levels of stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline can be immunosuppressive, thus diminishing infection-fighting responses while increasing inflammation in the body,” says Jain.
“Stress is one of the major factors that impact the body’s immune system. It is the biggest cause of inflammation in the body and auto immune disease. Stress management is key to having good immunity,” says Dr Subhash.
4. Lack of sleep
Sleep deprivation has a similar effect on the body’s immune system as stress. Lack of sleep disrupts the normal production of white blood cells, a crucial component of the body’s immune system, as per Jain.
“Inadequate sleep and irregular sleeping patterns also reduce the body’s immunity. At least 7 hours of sleep is required by the body,” says Dr Subhash.
5. Alcohol and smoking
Heavy drinkers or smokers may fall ill frequently as their immune system may be experiencing inflammation due to alcohol.
“Smoking is generally linked with cancer but it also interferes with the immune system characterized by mixed inflammation and immunosuppression throughout the body. Various studies have shown the immunosuppressive effect of alcohol also.
6. Always staying indoors
“Exposure to sunlight maintains the circadian rhythm which is very beneficial for the immune system. Lack of it will weaken immunity,” says Dr Subhash.