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Reducing the negative impact of lifestyle factors on immune health

With the pace of life only getting faster by the day, it is natural for our immune system to be threatened by a number of infections. This is evident through numerous studies1, which indicate that our everyday choices have a significant impact on our bodies’ immune response. Stress, urgency, a lack of sleep and an unhealthy diet are all lifestyle factors which can cause a weakened immunity. Hence, making healthy lifestyle choices and turning them into positive habits is fundamental for improving the health of your immune system. Which begs the question, which of these factors should you pay the most attention to? Read on to learn more about common factors that can have a negative impact on your immunity.

A lack of sleep

It is important to note that your immune system isn’t just affected by the amount of sleep you get, but the quality of sleep you get as well. You need to achieve the right number of “deep sleep” hours if you want to boost your immunity. Adults, in particular, need between 7 to 9 hours of undisturbed sleep2 in order for their bodies to maintain a healthy immune response. If you aren’t sleeping well, you may want to try relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga. Alternatively, “switching off” from all screens approximately an hour before bedtime is also a good idea as it’s generally easier for your brain to go to sleep in a setting that is completely dark.

Young woman stretching after a good night's sleep

Insufficient physical activity

Regular physical activity strongly affects your immunity and can help you to avoid infections3. Conversely, if you are not physically active at all, you are preventing your immune system from building up the strength it needs to fend off harmful infections, such as a common cold and the flu. That’s why it’s important to get in the habit of staying active. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, start doing basic strength training or jogging a few times every week. Even a few minutes of daily brisk walking counts, and will eventually pay off in the form of a bolstered immunity that’s better at fending off infections.


Hanging around smokers while they are smoking can also affect your immune system, as the substances found in cigarette smoke can weaken your body’s ability to resist infections. If you want to have strong immunity, don’t smoke. If you are a smoker, take into consideration the fact that your white blood cells are constantly playing defense, as these cells have to continuously fight off the damage caused by cigarette smoke. As such, quitting smoking is the best option for you, as it will help you to improve the strength of your immune system.

Poor diet

Constantly in a rush, no time for quality food? That’s a huge risk to your immunity! Along with stress and sleep, nutrition is a key factor linked to your body’s immune response4. Food is the most basic source of energy, and also a source of the essential vitamins and minerals needed for maintaining the health of your immune system. But if you’re not eating healthy, then how can you expect your immunity to remain strong? It is that simple! So drop the bad habit of eating fast food and enjoy tasty, nourishing meals instead! Make sure you include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, which are the pillars of a healthy and nutritious diet!

Lack of vitamin and mineral supplementation

There are various immune-boosting supplements available in the market. That doesn’t discount the fact, however, that a lack in intake of essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and the like can put you at a greater risk of having weak immunity. And while the best way to get a sufficient intake of daily nutrients is through your diet, you can also opt to take a health supplement  which can tip the scales of a balanced diet in your favour.
The above are the most common lifestyle factors which affect your immune health. As proper control and monitoring is key to bolstering your immunity, it may be time to drop these bad habits, immediately!


  1. How to boost your immune system, Harvard Health Publishing.
  2. How many hours of sleep are enough for good health? Answer From Eric J. Olson, M.D.
  3. How to prevent infections. Harvard Medical School, 2016. (Accessed 10/02/2020, at
  4. (Song et al, 2019; Patel et al 2012 and Gombart et al 2020). 

Other sources:

How Vitamins & Minerals
Help to Support
Your Immunity



Your body is equipped with powerful natural defenses and your immune system has many ways of dealing with daily immunity challenges such as pollution, weather changes, being in crowded places; and unhealthy lifestyle, such as poor diet and smoking. The human body’s immune system is made up of three main defense mechanisms - physical barriers (skin and mucosa), cellular barriers (white blood cells) and antibodies. Nutrients such as vitamins and minerals are essential to the health and function of this complex network.

Living in a fast-paced world that includes on-the-go fast food and pre-cooked meals, it can sometimes be challenging to consume an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables daily, which in turn can help to provide your body with the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to fully support bodily functions. What’s worse, an inadequate intake of vitamins and minerals can instead negatively affect your immune system, and damage your health.

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