Your immune system is your body’s natural defense system. It works to protect you from both external dangers like viruses, bacteria and fungi, as well as internal dangers like tumors and cancer. But when your immune system isn’t functioning at full capacity you become more susceptible to illness, infection and disease, which can have a huge impact on your quality of life. Here are four common signs that can help you identify whether you might be dealing with poor immunity.

1. Fatigue

The signs of fatigue are relentless and can be described as a lack of energy or motivation, or a sense of lethargy and constant exhaustion that is either physical or mental (or both). If you constantly wake up feeling tired, tire easily, or find you lack the stamina to complete simple tasks, this could be connected to a weakened immune system.

2. Cold Hands and Feet

Inflamed blood vessels can make it difficult for the blood flow to reach your outer extremities, leaving your fingers, toes, ears and nose feeling cold. Naturally, this happens to all of us in cold weather, but chronically cold extremities could be a sign of immune system dysfunction.

3. Frequent Colds, Flu and Sore Throat

Though cold and flu symptoms are usually seen as a sign that your immune system is doing its job, recurrent or chronic infections could be a sign of something more. Adults typically average about 2 to 4 colds per year, so if you find yourself sick more often than that, you might be dealing with an under-active or poor performing immune system.

4. Mouth Ulcers

There are many different causes linked to the appearance of canker sores, but experts agree they happen most often when the body is under stress, and stress is known to compromise the immune system. If you have frequent or recurring mouth ulcers, this could be a sign of impaired immunity.

Luckily, if you have a low-functioning immune system, there are some easy things you can do to help. Diet and nutrition play a big role in your body’s ability to function properly, and there are many foods that specifically offer immunity boosting vitamins and nutrients. Eat foods that are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients. Antioxidants are known to detoxify the blood and help with cancer prevention by protecting the body from free radicals. Phytonutrients are what build a plant’s defense system and help protect it from environmental threats. These nutrients are especially useful to your innate immune system and can help boost NK cell activity, which raises your front line defense. You should also get plenty of rest (8-10 hours per night), stay hydrated, and participate in moderate exercise at least three times per week. And of course, if you suspect that your low immunity is due to something more serious, seek the advice of your doctor or medical professional.

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