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3 Ways You're Sabotaging Your Immune System (And What You Can Do to Fix It)

3 Ways You're Sabotaging Your Immune System (And What You Can Do to Fix It)

Cold and flu season is the perfect time to make sure your immune system has everything it needs to function effectively. While it's important to support your system with certain vitamins and supplements, it's equally important to remove any bad habits that may be hindering your ability to fight infection.

Take a look at these 3 common, yet overlooked habits that may be putting the smack down on your immune system.

1. You Sit Most of the Day

If you're like many Americans, your job forces you to sit for 8 or more hours a day. If you ever wanted to claim your job as a hazard to your health, here's your chance! A sedentary lifestyle slows your metabolic rate to an unhealthy level. As a result, your body takes much longer to absorb the vitamins and nutrients it needs to fight viruses and infections.

Solution: Get Moving

You know the usual activities and exercises you can do in your spare time, but how can you move more at the office when you're tied to a desk? One way is to swap out your desk chair with an exercise ball. You'll work overlooked muscles just by balancing on it and sitting straight.

Also, be sure to drink lots of water, and when nature calls, take the long route to the bathroom. It might seem silly, but those extra steps add up!

2. You Don't Get Much Sleep

You know you need to catch more Zs to be more alert and productive during the day, but did you know the strength of your immune system is directly related to the amount of sleep you get? When you sleep, your body produces a hormone known as melatonin.

It's responsible for maintaining your body's circadian rhythm. Melatonin is also involved in the stimulation and maturation of white blood cells. If you don't produce enough white blood cells, you can't fend off the flu or any other germs that come your way.

Solution: Try These Sleep Hacks

The average adults needs about 8 hours of sleep each night. To some, that's no problem, but to others, 8 hours may seem impossible. If you're in that latter boat, try lowering your thermostat at night. When you sleep, your internal body temperature naturally decreases. The faster it reaches its ideal temperature, the faster you can get to sleep...and stay asleep.

Also, you may want to skip that late-night snack. As satisfying as it may be, it can interfere with the “powering down” process your body has to go through in order to fall asleep.

3. You Eat Too Much Protein

While a high-protein diet can be good for weight loss, consuming an excessive amount of protein can make your body produce the IGF1 hormone. When produced in high levels, this hormone is known to suppress the body's immune system.

Solution: Eat Less Protein

Unless you're on a special diet, animal-sourced protein should account for no more than 10 percent of your caloric intake. For many individuals, this number is still to high; in which case, you should shoot for 5 percent or less.

Be proactive about supporting your immune system this cold and flu season, and you just may avoid those nasty viruses altogether.