Five Reasons You Keep Getting Sick
Are you one of those people who seems to always be coming down with something, no matter how hard you try to avoid germs and maintain your health?
If you’re constantly getting sick, it might behoove you to take a closer look at some of your habits. From nutrition to sleep, there are lots of things you do (or don’t do) on a regular basis that could cause you to feel less than your best.
Listed below are five common reasons you might be getting sick more often.
1. You’re Nutrient Deficient
Micronutrient deficiency is a major problem throughout the world, and the United States is no exception. In fact, 92 percent of Americans are deficient in at least one micronutrient.
When it comes to preventing illness, most people think of vitamin C as being the most effective nutrient to consume. There are plenty of other vitamins that are just as important for keeping your immune system functioning properly, though.
Vitamin A, for example, promotes a strong, more tolerant immune system. Many people also don’t realize the importance of vitamin D for immunity. Vitamin D upregulates essential antimicrobial proteins to keep ward off foreign invaders.
If you’re lacking in either of these vitamins, work on increasing your consumption of them, either through food, sun exposure (in the case of vitamin D), and high-quality supplementation. This simple change will make a big difference in your overall health.
2. You’re Not Sleeping Enough
Poor sleep can also have a huge impact on your body’s ability to fight off illness. Make sure you’re getting at least 7.5 hours of sleep each night. The less sleep you get, the more likely you are to come down with colds and other diseases.
When you’re sleeping, your body goes to work repairing the damage is sustained during the day. If you’re cheating yourself out of this process, your body’s systems will not work as efficiently and your chances of getting sick increase.
In addition to sleep quantity, it’s also important to prioritize sleep quality. It doesn’t matter how many hours you stay in bed if you’re not sleeping well while you’re there.
To promote good sleep quality, be sure to switch off electronics a few hours before bed. The blue light from these devices makes it harder for you to wind down.
It’s also helpful to keep your room dark and cool and as quiet as possible. If you live in a busy city or noisy area, consider investing in a white noise machine to drown out sounds that could be keeping you awake.
3. You Don’t Prioritize Gut Health
The majority of your immune system (more than 70 percent) is actually found in your digestive tract. If you’re not taking care to keep your gut bacteria healthy, you’re going to have a hard time avoiding illnesses.
But, how do you maintain good gut health? Eating sufficient nutrients (especially vitamin A, which is great for the gut lining), getting plenty of sleep, and avoiding sugar and processed foods are all great first steps.
It’s also helpful to increase your consumption of fermented foods. Fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria that help balance out your gut microbiome. Good options to try include sauerkraut, kombucha, tamari sauce, yogurt, and kimchi. You can also take a probiotic supplement for extra support.
4. You Don’t Take Care of Your Teeth
Your mouth is also filled with bacteria, both good and bad. By practicing good oral hygiene, you can maintain a healthy bacterial balance in your mouth and prevent all kinds of illnesses.
Good oral hygiene includes brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Be wary of mouthwashes, though. These products kill off almost all of the bacteria in your mouth and may actually increase your risk of getting sick (and developing obesity or diabetes).
5. You’re Chronically Stressed
Be sure to also take a look at your stress levels. If you’re dealing with chronic stress, your immune system probably isn’t functioning optimally. This is because chronically elevated levels of stress hormones — especially cortisol — hinder your body’s ability to respond to and protect itself from foreign invaders.
Some people are so used to living a stressful life that they don’t even realize anything out of the ordinary is going on. If you’re not sure if you’re chronically stressed, consider whether or not you’re experiencing any of these symptoms:
Chronic muscle tension
Poor impulse control
If you’re experiencing several of these symptoms your stress levels are probably too high. Start looking for ways to relax. Drop unnecessary tasks from your to-do- list, take up yoga or meditation, or simply go for a walk outside each day. Even small changes like this can make a big difference.