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Everyday Toxins & Toxic Habits - Top Five Ways to Weaken Your Immune System

Updated on December 21, 2016

Our Immune Systems - Our Internal Defense

Our bodies are designed to fight invasion, whether in the form of disease, viruses, or bacteria. When our immune systems are weakened, they are unable to identify and fight disease effectively. Our bodies become weakened. Signs of a compromised immune system include increased allergies, chronic fatigue, foggy thinking, as well as chronic illness. Keeping a strong immune system is a must for optimum living. How can we boost our immune systems? Well, I'll share my top five ways to sabotage an immune system. Changing these habits will be a good start to strengthening your immune system.

Not Reading Food & Drink Ingredients

A sabotage habit that is easy to change is not reading ingredients. You select a drink labeled, "Made with 100% juice", thinking you are purchasing 100% juice. Wrong. "Made with" simply means the listed item is one of many ingredients, not the sole, and often not even the main ingredient. Flipping the bottle to the side and reading actual ingredient contents may surprise you, as water, high fructose corn syrup often top the list of fruit juice drinks and cocktails ingredients. If you want juice, make sure the label reads, 100% juice, with nothing added to it. Then, flip the bottle and investigate the listed ingredients. The ingredients should read, 100% fruit (apple, orange, grape) juice, or list them in the order of juice content. Some juices may read water, fruit juice concentrate, which is okay. If you really want to optimize your nutritional value from your fruit juice, opt for the all natural, unfiltered juices.

Don't just stop with your drinks, though. Read the ingredients on everything. A few ingredients to avoid are high fructose corn syrup, sugar, MSG, (monosodium glutamate), sodium nitrites/nitrates, salt, artificial sweetners (these are actually worse for you than sugar), and artificial coloring.

Why This Dr. Uses Natural Approach to Medicine

Overmedicating Symptoms

We often run to the doctor or medicine cabinet at the first sign of a headache, sniffle, or sore throat. Consequentially, we are hearing more and more about "super-bugs" which have mutated and advanced because we did not give our bodies' natural defense system the opportunity to conquer the root of the symptom. We denied our immune system the opportnity by snuffing symptoms rather than building strength against the invador(s). Often, ignoring the root of symptoms, while giving time for the root to strengthen, multiply, and attack more cells/systems.

For example, often at the first sign of joint pain or headache, we reach for an aspirin or other pain reliever. Do you know that an early sign of dehydration is a headache or joint pain? Before you reach for the medicine bottle, try drinking several glasses of water, and give your body twenty minutes or so to rehydrate. If you simply medicate with pharmaceuticals, you may alleviate the symptom, but if the cause truly is early dehydration, your body is going to worsen. Soon you may have severe joint pain, fatigue, and dizziness... which sound like all the components of a doozy disease.... and off we dash to the doctor, who thinks you may be coming down with the latest sickness. He writes a script to alleviate symptoms, often in the form of an antibiotics (which can disturb digestive balance). Meanwhile, you take in caffenated drinks, thinking you need caffeine to help fight the fatigue -- and caffeine is a diuretic, compounding the dehydration --... and the cycle continues, weakening with each attempt to irradicate the symptom.

I am not implying that every headache is due to dehydration; in fact, research shows that some 90% of headaches are due to tension. I am simply illustrating how we ignore the root issue of symptoms and complicate matters... weakening our immune systems in the process. For further information, please watch the video link or read linked articles.

Hidden Toxins in Skin & Haircare

Not Reading Skin and Hair Care/Beauty Product Ingredients

So often we forget that our skin is the largest organ in the human body. Organs require nourishment. We purchase lotion with the intention of nourishing our skin with ingredients such as shea butter or vitamin e, while overlooking petroleum-based ingredients such petrolatum, mineral oil, and paraffin. Made from nonrenewable sources, petrolatums are quite unhealthy for your skin. When applied to skin, these crude-oil derived ingredients create a pore-clogging barrier, prohibiting skin to breathe. When organs are perceived as "attacked", which such activity would signal, your immune system is triggered to respond. What's the big deal? When your immune system is monopolized with false alarms, it is not at full attention for when a real attack occurs. Your body begins to attack itself with rashes, etc., in attempt to eradicate harmful ingredients.

Most of us enjoy a sudsy bath. In fact, many of us associate lather with cleansing power. Ironically, the ingredients most commonly responsible for the "bubbling" effect do nothing to enhance safe cleanliness. Sodium lauryl and sodium laureth, two of the the most commonly used sulfates in skin and hair care products, are often chosen for their lathering effect. Sulfates are harsh detergents. Often, the severity is masked with "moisturizers" and paraffins.

The two ingredients listed above are two of many ingredients that are harmful for you. If you have a bottle of lotion, hairspray, lip balm, etc., nearby, get it out. Now, examine its ingredients, do you see the above two ingredients or any of the following: parabens such as Ethyl, Butyl, Methyl, Propyl, and Parahydroxybenzoate; PVP/VA Copolymer; Diethanolamine (DEA); Imidazolidinyl Urea; Diazolidinyl Urea; Sodium Lauryl Sulfate; Sodium Laureth Sulfate; Stearalkonium Chloride; Synthetic colors. This list is by no means exhaustive. A simple google search will reveal hundreds of hidden toxins in your skin and hair care products. Your skin actually absorbs these ingredients - along with their toxic, even carcinogenic, properties. Your body is inundated with destructive agents, throwing your immune system into full gear. Unnecessary wear and tear, you might say.

Regrettably, our bodies are unable to process all of these toxins. These harmful agents will pass from our system to babies in the womb. Blood tests on newborn babies revealed their bloodstream had toxins found in skin and hair care products. Taken from umbilical cords, the newborns' blood had over 200 different toxins, including BPA.

Please see related links for more information, especially the link to Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Reviews.  The cosmetics watchdog lists comsetics by category and ingredients, rating their toxidity level.  You may be surprised at the "mineral makeup", I was.

Overcooking Your Food

Overcooking foods kills nutrients. Commonly, we associate overcooking with veggies. True enough, raw or steamed vegetables offer much more nutrients than cooked ones. However, we don't consider other good groups in the "overcooking" hazards.

Have you ever hardboiled an egg? Sometimes the yolk gets a green layer to the yolk. This happens either because of iron in your water or because you've overcooked your egg. Overcooking harms the protein quality of the egg. You can minimize the effect by placing hardboiled eggs in chilled water immediately upon removing them from the heat source. To avoid overcooking your foods, research recommended cooking times and temperatures and adhere to them.

Overcooking foods may not come as a surprise to you, but have you heard of the possible dangers of microwaving your food? Some doctors theorize microwaving your food actually changes the molecular construction of foods, as well as depletes nutrients. However, others theorize that microwaving food is healthier than traditional cooking because the food is exposed to heat for less time. Do your research and decide for yourself on this one.

For more information on overcooking and microwaving effects and dangers, please visit the provided links.

Melatonin - Nature's Sleep Enhancer

Not Resting

Have you ever questioned why we struggle for leisure time despite the abundance time-saving technological gadgets? Rather than using the devices as tools for saving time, we apply them to cram more production from our time. At what cost? Our sense of peace, you know the ability to "be still", physically, emotionally and mentally. Hence, the increase in the energy drinks such as Red Bull, Monster, and others.

How does constant "on-the-go" affect our bodies? Well, besides unsightly circles, fatigue can make you more susceptible to viruses and bacteria. Why? Because exhaustion compromises your immune system's ability to function. Studies show people prone to pull all-nighters as well as to push themselves beyond their body-signals of fatigue, are more likely to catch a cold or flu, as well as take longer to recover from sickness.

Think you're saving time by pushing yourself to check one more thing off of your to-do list? Think again. In the long run, you're better off heeding your body's warnings. Get to bed. Rest. Studies show that cat-naps, or power naps, rejuvenate the mind, enabling workers to be more productive. Physical and mental rest are both important. Read a book for pleasure rather than on how to make the bottom line increase. Go on vacation and leave the laptop at home. Buy a prepay cell phone and leave your business contact phone at home.

For more information on causes of sleeplessness, visit "Why Am I Always Tired" after finishing this hub.

Are you sabotaging?

Are you sabotaging in any of the mentioned habits?

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    • breathe2travel profile imageAUTHOR


      22 months ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      K - I appreciate your thoughts. Contrary to your accusation, I was not in any measurement trying to scare anyone. My motive is to share what I have found/learned in my health journey. Additionally, there are conflicting opinions on microwaving foods and its safety. I have edited that paragraph. There are research studies reflecting micorwaving is unhealthy, and there are others who say the opposite. :) Best regards~

    • profile image

      2 years ago

      The microwave comment is not true at all. You're just trying to scare uneducated people with the word "radiation". Visible light is also "radiation" and in fact, it has a much smaller wavelength than microwaves so technically it is more harmful to us. All a microwave does is excite the water molecules in food which causes heat. That's literally all that happens.

    • breathe2travel profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      Jessica- I hope the tips in this hub help you in your journey to be healthy. Thank you for reading and for commenting.

      Best regars~

    • JessicaSmetz profile image

      Just Ask Jess 

      6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      This is great! I am trying to lose weight and never knew half of these. I tend to microwave food a lot since I am on the run.

    • breathe2travel profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      Thank you, HawaiiHeart, for reading & commenting! :)

    • HawaiiHeart profile image


      6 years ago from Hawaii

      Not resting can definitely be detrimental to one's health! I really do need to be more diligent when it comes to reading product labels. There are so many toxins around us daily, we shouldn't have to worry about consuming them or putting them in our bodies, yet that's exactly what so many of us are doing.

      Very useful and informative hub!

    • breathe2travel profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      Thank you, coolbreeze!

      Petertheknight - Can you provide a link to your blog, I'd be interested in reading! Thank you for considering linking my writing to your blog. :)

    • petertheknight profile image


      7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Yes, the entire section on the whole 100% Real Juice scam is SO true. I always look at the ingredients first! Always!

      I may link you to my blog just for that section alone.

    • coolbreeze profile image

      Rik Rodriguez 

      7 years ago from Hawaii

      Nice work, I like your style straight up ;-) Very refreshing

    • breathe2travel profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      onegoodwoman - so glad you are pleased. your hub is link-worthy, indeed! :) thanks for reading and voting.

    • onegoodwoman profile image


      7 years ago from A small southern town

      I am SO glad you linked our articles

      together. We, at least those of us

      in the US, have been so greatly mislead

      by advertising campaign. It is as if

      we believe anything told to us, if we

      want the benefits of a product....seldom

      asking, 'what is the trade off here?'

      rated up and awesome~

    • breathe2travel profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      Thank you, NCBler, for reading & commenting! :)

    • NCBIer profile image


      8 years ago

      Thank you for writing this. This needed saying, in just the way you said it!

    • breathe2travel profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      Thank you, SG! :) I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

    • Spiritual Growth profile image

      Caroline Nettle 

      8 years ago from Bristol, England

      Thank you for this hub, it was well written and useful!


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