BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Since the start of the pandemic, many people have been making an effort to consume healthy foods, beverages, and vitamins that are designed to fortify the immune system.

On the other hand, according to WebMD, there are a few habits that can contribute to a weakening of one’s immune system.

Five of these include:

#1 A high fat diet

Switching out regular bacon with vegan bacon or even turkey bacon may be worth the sacrifice. WebMD says, “Oils can hinder germ-fighting white blood cells. And high fat diets over time can upset the balance of bacteria in your gut that can help immune response.”

Experts say a low-fat dairy with little to no added sugar and lean protein is a better option for a healthy immune system.

#2 Not eating enough fruits & vegetables

When the antioxidants and nutrients found in fruits and vegetables are missing from one’s diet, this can become a problem for the immune system. WebMD says, “These foods may help your body make more of the white blood cells you need to fight off infections. Fresh produce and nuts and seeds pack a lot of zinc, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, and E, and other nutrients you need for a healthy body.”

#3 Lack of sleep

According to the Sleep Foundation, “Sleep provides essential support to the immune system. Getting sufficient hours of high-quality sleep enables a well-balanced immune defense that features strong innate and adaptive immunity, efficient response to vaccines, and less severe allergic reactions.

In contrast, serious sleeping problems, including sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, and circadian rhythm disruption, can interfere with the healthy functioning of the immune system.”

#4 Too much alcohol

Many health experts agree that overindulging in alcohol can have a negative effect on the body’s ability to fight infection.

WebMD says, “Just overdoing it once slows your body’s ability to fight germs for up to 24 hours. Over time, drinking too much blunts your body’s ability repair itself. That may be part of the reason you’re more likely to get illnesses like liver disease, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and certain cancers.”

The article advises, “If you use alcohol, try to keep it to one drink a day for women and two drinks for men.”

#5 Smoking

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Smoking harms the immune system and can make the body less successful at fighting disease.”

WebMD adds, “Vaping counts, too. And it’s not just the nicotine. Other chemicals in e-liquids seem to suppress your immune response, especially when you inhale them through vaping.”

Click here to view the full article from WebMD.

So, protecting one’s immune health often includes eating a healthy and balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, getting enough sleep, and avoiding bad habits such as smoking and overindulging in alcohol.