ua en ru

Everyday habits that weaken immune system: Common mistakes we make

Everyday habits that weaken immune system: Common mistakes we make Illustrative photo (Photo: Freepik)
Author: Daria Shekina

The immune system can be weakened by various factors, including poor nutrition, stress, lack of physical activity, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Your lifestyle and habits play a significant role in maintaining a healthy immune system.

RBC-Ukraine discusses daily actions that can significantly lower your immunity, according to WebMD.

Lack of sleep

Sleep deprivation can increase the risk of viral or microbial infections. The body requires more time to recover, and because it cannot produce the necessary amount of cells and proteins that combat infections, your immune system is compromised. Specific proteins that aid the immune system, called cytokines, are only produced during sleep.

Anxiety and stress

Stress and constant worry are not ideal for combating viruses and microbes. Anxiety can weaken the immune response in as little as 30 minutes. Prolonged stress can harm the body and make it more susceptible to various infections. Consult with a doctor if stress and anxiety interfere with your daily life.

Low vitamin D levels

This essential vitamin is crucial for strong bones, healthy blood cells, and reinforcing your immune system. Sunlight is a key source of vitamin D, and it can also be obtained from foods such as eggs, fatty fish, and enriched products like milk and cereals.


Many medications can lower your immunity, including those for allergies, arthritis, lupus, irritable bowel syndrome, and organ transplants. Corticosteroids, TNF inhibitors for inflammation, and chemotherapy for cancer can also have this effect. Discuss this with your healthcare provider.

Lack of fruits and vegetables

Fresh produce can help your body produce more white blood cells, which are necessary to combat infections. They are rich in zinc, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, and E, and other essential nutrients that support a healthy immune system. Plant-based foods also provide dietary fiber that helps reduce fat in the body and strengthens your immune response.


Smoke from various sources, including cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, marijuana, vaping, and other forms of smoking, can lead to irreversible lung damage. Regular smoking can cause breathing problems and increase the risk of lung infections.

Diet high in fats

Oils can hinder the ability of leukocytes to combat microbes, and a diet high in fats can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria that play a role in your immune response. Opt for low-fat dairy without added sugar, lean protein sources (such as seafood, turkey, and chicken), and lean cuts of beef. Obesity is also associated with an increased risk of flu and other infections.

Lack of fresh air

Sunlight helps activate specific immune system cells called T-cells, which assist in fighting infections. Spending time in nature has additional benefits since many plants release phytoncides and other substances that you breathe in, which can enhance your immune function.


A substantial alcohol intake in the evening can slow your body's immune response for 24 hours. Long-term excessive alcohol consumption can diminish your body's ability to self-repair, potentially leading to liver disease, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and some types of cancer.


Several studies confirm that prolonged grief, especially if it's deep or doesn't subside, can suppress your immune system. The effect can last for six months or more if you are experiencing profound or lingering grief. Seek help from a doctor or a mental health professional if you require assistance with loss or trauma.

Lack of exercise

Regular aerobic exercise helps your body fight diseases caused by viruses and bacteria. Part of this is because exercise helps your blood circulate more efficiently throughout your body, ensuring that infection-fighting cells can reach their destination.

Lack of sex

Regular intimacy can help strengthen your immune system. Couples who have regular sex are more resilient to microbes and viruses compared to those with infrequent or no intimacy. Sex boosts the levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA), an immune-fighting substance.

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be used for medical diagnosis or self-treatment. Our goal is to provide readers with accurate information about symptoms, causes, and methods of detecting diseases. RBС-Ukraine is not responsible for any diagnoses that readers may make based on materials from the resource. We do not recommend self-treatment and advise consulting a doctor in case of any health concerns.