A weak immune system can be caused by health conditions and underlying medical problems, but it can also be caused by external factors such as what you eat and drink and what your lifestyle is like. A weak immune system can cause you to catch colds and viruses quicker, and can weaken your overall health and quality of life. Here are a few things you might be doing which are causing a weak immune system.

Not eating enough: Not eating enough, or not eating enough of the right foods and nutrients that your body needs, can weaken your immune system. It is often possible to reverse the damage which has been done by changing your diet and being mindful of what you’re eating. You should aim to get all the vitamins and minerals that your body needs through fruits, vegetables, protein and healthy fats. It’s also important that you eat enough calories every day to give your body the right level of energy that it needs and to help boost your immune system or prevent it from weakening.

Smoking: Smoking on a regular basis can wreak havoc with your immune system and ultimately cause it to become weaker. People who are regular smokers tend to contract colds and flus more often than a non-smoker with a similar lifestyle. As well as increasing your risk of lung and throat cancer, heart disease and diabetes, smoking isn’t doing your immune system any favors. Speak to your doctor about any support which may be available to you if you’re trying to quit smoking for good.

Alcohol: Just like smoking, drinking too much alcohol is a bad habit which can decrease the strength of your immune system over time. It’s not just your immune system which will suffer either – you will be at increased risk of liver disease, cancers and heart problems. Drinking too much alcohol can also dehydrate you, which isn’t helpful for your immune system either. Limit your intake to 10-15 units of alcohol per week.

Poor hygiene: Practicing good hygiene can protect you against many diseases and illnesses, and can also help your immune system to become stronger in the medium and longer term. This includes regularly washing your hands with soap and water, avoiding contact with people who are ill, and keeping your living areas cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.