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Avoid These 6 Habits For A Stronger Immune System

Avoid These 6 Habits For A Stronger Immune System

IF THERE'S ONE THING WE'RE PROBABLY MORE AWARE OF THAN EVER BEFORE, IT'S THE IMPORTANCE OF A STRONG IMMUNE SYSTEM... 

With the winter season in full swing, we understandably want to take care of our bodies to be in tip-top illness-fighting shape. And the best way to put up your best defenses against harmful invaders of all kinds is to keep your immune system optimized at all times.

One common misconception about immunity is that you should focus only on increasing your intake of vitamin c, zinc, and elderberry. In reality, leading an immune-boosting lifestyle has a lot more to do with a healthy balance of the foods you eat as well as the foods you avoid. 

Your immune system really doesn't require much! All it asks for is a combination of healthy lifestyle (getting enough sleep and exercise) choices combined with avoiding certain immune weakening habits.

Are you curious about what some of these eating habits that can wreak havoc on your immune system might be? Let's have a closer look at six common mistakes you should probably avoid at all costs if you want to keep your defenses high this winter.

HERE ARE 6 EATING HABITS

THAT CAN WEAKEN IMMUNITY

Eating Habits for Healthy Immune System

1. LEAVING GREEN VEGGIES OFF YOUR DINNER PLATE

If you want to feel your absolute best and stay healthy, there are few foods that score higher on the immunity and nutrition scale than dark, leafy greens. Green vegetables are packed with essential immune-boosting vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, folate, and vitamins C, K, A, E, and many more. 

Some of the most nutrient-dense green vegetables like spinach, kale, collard greens, bok choy, and chard can also optimize immunity stemming from the gut. Why is this important? You may be surprised to learn that over 70% of your immune system's cells are produced in your gut! 

Although it may seem like an innocent decision to finish everything on your dinner plate besides your vegetables, your immune function will thank you for reconsidering the next time you toss those veggies aside.

And since we know that trying to fit in all of your daily greens each day is pretty hard, we've also formulated our Primal Greens super greens formula to support you and help you maximize your immune defenses. One scoop per day contains 50+ superfood ingredients like chlorella and wheatgrass, as well as immune-boosting probiotics, digestive enzymes, and adaptogenic mushrooms.

Eating Habits System

2. LOADING UP ON ARTIFICIAL CAFFEINATED BEVERAGES

Have you ever had too many cups of coffee in a day only to find yourself unable to fall asleep at night? Overdoing it on caffeinated beverages can have a negative effect on your sleep quality, which in turn, can wreak havoc on your immune system.

This is because deep REM sleep is an essential time when your body repairs and regenerates, optimizing immunity and bodily function. A healthy immune system requires around 7-8 hours of restorative sleep per night.

Although caffeinated beverages like coffee and green tea can be beneficial for your health due to their antioxidant content, it's important to pay attention to your caffeine tolerance and not consume caffeine past the early afternoon. This way, you can still enjoy a good night's rest and maximize your immune defenses while you sleep.

Herbal teas and green tea are also great alternatives since green tea is rich in polyphenols, a plant compound, and antioxidants that may help support immunity and healthy inflammatory responses in the body.

Be sure to say goodbye to caffeinated sodas and sugary energy drinks that offer little to no nutritional support and usually contain artificial chemicals and sweeteners. Your immune health may strengthen by ditching these drinks alone.

diet and immune function

3. GOING OVERBOARD ON THE BOOZE

You likely don't need to go completely booze-free if you want to keep your immune system strong, but studies show that the less alcohol you consume, the better!

A glass of wine or beer here and there is generally considered okay for healthy adults, but drink in moderation and be sure to stay hydrated by sipping on water between drinks. 

Studies have shown that excessive alcohol consumption, even for a short time, can severely weaken your immune system. This can put you at a much greater risk of getting sick and slow down your body’s recovery from infections and illness. Not to mention, when you drink alcohol before bed, your sleep will likely decline.

According to one paper published in the  Alcohol Research journal, there has been a long and well-noted relationship between excessive alcohol consumption and lowered immune responses. This is likely due to the lack of sleep and the weakening of the immune response.

Habits Immune System

4. AVOIDING FIBROUS FOODS

Did you know that only about 5% of American adults get enough fiber each today (at least 25 grams daily for women and 38 grams for men)? Fiber has many essential health-supporting roles, but it's especially important for maintaining a healthy digestive system.

A balanced diet should include a healthy amount of fiber to keep your gut happy and your digestive tract working well. Fiber can help boost your immune defenses and overall mood by supporting the healthy bacteria in your gut, where much of your immune cells reside.

Try adding more fibrous foods to your diet to give your immune system some extra support, such as broccoli, carrots, nuts, seeds, sweetcorn, lentils, black beans, and other legumes.

Since we know that healthy immune function is reliant on a well-balanced gut, it's important to feed your gut what it needs to stay clean and active.

Eating Immune System rheumatoid arthritis

5. OVERDOING IT ON THE SALT

Consuming too much salt isn't only counterproductive for your overall health, but it may also harm your immune system. Recent studies are now finding that a salt-heavy diet may cause the kidneys to excrete too much sodium and lower the body’s ability to fight infections.

According to the CDC, at least 70% of American adults' sodium intake each day comes from processed foods. This means that the easiest way to boost your immunity naturally is to avoid overly processed foods as much as possible, and to stick mostly to a plant-based, whole foods diet.

This means avoiding salty chips, canned soups, frozen dinners, frozen pizzas, and other salty junk foods as much as possible. Healthy lifestyle factors such as avoiding processed foods will ultimately help keep your sodium intake down.

A small amount of salt added to vegetables, soups, and salads can still be part of a healthy diet. Just be mindful of how much salt you consume per day.

Eating Habits Immune System saturated fat

6. EATING TOO MUCH ARTIFICIAL SUGAR

Artificial sugar may be one of the top immune-destroying food ingredients, according to most researchers. This is because when you overload your body with sugar, the effectiveness of your infection-fighting white blood cells may decrease by up to 50%, according to one study by Loma Linda University. This immediate weakening of your immunity can even last up to 5 hours.

Whenever possible, try to limit added sugar, the type that is added to foods by manufacturers, and opt for natural sweeteners like stevia or agave syrup instead. Again, avoiding over-processed foods will work in your favor.

The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day for women, and nine teaspoons per day for men.

How to make these tips habits?

While all this new information can be helpful, it won't really matter unless you put them to use. This is where the hard work comes in. Uprooting old habits and replacing them with new ones is one of the most challenging, yet most rewarding tasks we face as human beings.

So how do we make habits stick? The answer is not easy, but it starts with the desire to change. When you decide you really want to improve your immune health, that's when the hard work begins.

Start by focusing on your short-term goals. Maybe this is to stop consuming so much alcohol or salt. You know that these habits will get you closer to your long-term goal, but they are easier to obtain each day.

Long-term goals, such as acquiring a healthy immune system, take time and don't just happen right away. That's why focusing on your short-term goals first can help you solidify habits that will get you closer to your long-term goals.

For more on what makes habits work, read our blog on Why It's All About Long-Term Goals When It Comes to Healthy Habits.

WE HOPE YOU FOUND THAT THESE EATING TIPS TO SUPPORT IMMUNE HEALTH WERE HELPFUL.

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