Immune System is essential for our survival. With it, your body would be suspectable to attacks from pathogens like bacterial infection, viruses, parasites, and more.
It is your immune system that fights infections, protects your body from these attacks, and keeps you healthy as your drift through a sea of pathogens.
The immune system in your body is a vast network of cells and is spread throughout the body and involves many types of cells, organs, proteins, and tissues.
The immune system has the ability to differentiate between its own cells and the ones attacking it.
Moreover, they can also recognize dead and faulty cells and can clear them away.
For instance, if your immune system encounters a pathogen, like a bacteria, virus, or parasite, it mounts an immune response.
Before discussing tips to boost your immune system let us discuss white blood cells and how it works.
White Blood Cells
White blood cells are also known as leukocytes circulate in the body in the blood vessels and the lymphatic vessels that run parallel to the veins and arteries.
These cells in your blood are on constant patrol and looking for pathogens.
When they find foreign substances immune in your bloodstream, they multiply and send signals out to other cell types to do the same.
White blood cells are stored in your body in different places which are lymphoid organs.
These include the following:
- Thymus: A gland between the lungs and just below the neck
- Spleen: An organ that filters the blood
- Bone Marrow: Is present in the center of bones and produces red blood cells
- Lymph nodes: Small glands present throughout your body and are linked by lymphatic vessels.
A type of white blood cells called phagocytes uses phagocytosis to engulf bacteria, foreign particles, and dying cells to protect the body.
How does Your Immune System work?
Your immune system has the ability to differentiate between its own cells and foreign ones.
It does this by detecting proteins that cover the surface of all cells and it learns to do so from an early stage.
An antigen is any substance that can spark your immune system.
An antigen can either be bacteria, a virus, fungus, toxin, or a foreign body.
However, in some cases, it can be your own cells that id dead or faulty.
Your immune system becomes stronger during adulthood and by this time, you faced different pathogens and developed more active immunity.
This is the reason, you can observe teens and adults around you get less sick than older adults and children.
When your body produces an antibody, it lives in your bloodstream as a copy.
This happens because if in case, the same antigen appears, it can attack it faster than before and kill it.
For instance, chickenpox happens once in your life because the chickenpox antibody is still present in your body and it helps to kill the invasion again. This is Immunity.
There are different types of immunity in your body. Let us discuss them briefly:
You are born with some level of immunity, and it includes the external barriers of your body.
This is your first line of defense against pathogens like your skin and mucous membranes of the throat and gut.
This response is general and non-specific. In case, a pathogen attacks your body, the innate system kicks in.
You can learn about Autoimmune diseases here.
This protects you from pathogens that develop as you grow through life.
As with time, when we are exposed to pathogens or get vaccines against them, we build a library of antibodies against different pathogens.
This is also sometimes referred to as immunological memory because our immune system remembers previous enemies.
This type of immunity is borrowed from another source, however, it does not last forever.
For example, a baby receives antibodies from the mother. This passive immunity protects the baby from some infections during the early years of life.
Immunizations introduce antigens to a person in such a way that an individual does not become sick however, they still produce antibodies.
Because the body of a human has the ability to store the copies of antibodies, it protects itself from different threats that can appear at any stage.
Tips to Boost Your Natural Immunity
If you want to boost your immune system, you might wonder how to help your boy fight off different illnesses.
To do so, you can incorporate different dietary and lifestyle changes into your routine that can help to strengthen your body’s natural defenses.
This can help you to eventually fight infectious diseases or pathogens that attack your body.
Here are the 9 tips to strengthen your immune system:
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep and your immunity are linked together.
In fact, if you do not get enough sleep, then you are more suspectable of sickness.
According to a study, 164 adults who slept for 6 hours each night were more likely to get cold than those who slept for 6 hours or more each night.
Getting enough rest to strengthen your immune system, also, you may sleep more when you are sick.
This helps your immune system to better fight the illness.
Studies show that adults should get at least 7 or more hours of sleep each night while teens need 8 – 10 hours of sleep.
Moreover, infants need up to 14 hours of sleep.
You have trouble while sleeping, limit your screen time before going to bed, as blue light from the TV, mobile or computer may disrupt your circadian rhythm.
Moreover, certain sleep hygiene tips are to sleep in a dark room and going to bed on the same schedule every night and exercise daily.
Whole Plant Foods
Whole plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are rich in nutrients,
Moreover, they have antioxidant properties that can give you an upper hand in fighting against pathogens.
The antioxidants in the food help you to decrease inflammation by fighting unstable compounds, free radicals.
This may cause inflammation when they build up in your body at high levels.
Chronic inflammation is linked to certain heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, and certain cancers.
Moreover, the fiber in the plant foods feeds your gut with a microbiome or a community of healthy bacteria.
This helps to improve your immunity and keep harmful pathogens from entering your body through the digestive tract.
Furthermore, fruits and vegetables, that are rich in nutrients like vitamin C can help you reduce the duration of a common cold.
Healthy fats are found in olive oil and salmon and can help boost your body’s natural immune response to pathogens by decreasing inflammation.
Low-level inflammation is a common response to stress or injury however, chronic conditions like Rheumatoid arthritis can suppress your immune system.
Olive oil which is an anti-inflammatory is linked to decreasing chronic diseases, like heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.
Moreover, omega 3 fatty acids present in salmon and chia seeds can help fight inflammation as well.
fermented foods are rich in probiotics which populate your digestive tract.
These foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and natto.
A study suggests that a flourishing network of gut bacteria can help your immune cells differentiate normal, healthy cells and armful invading cells.
Moreover, if you do not take these foods during your daily routine, then adding probiotic supplements can help.
Prolonged intense exercise can sometimes suppress your immune system, however, moderate exercise can help give it a boost.
Moreover, studies indicate that even a single session of moderate exercise can boost the effectiveness of vaccines in people who have compromised immune systems.
To understand it better, regular and moderate exercise can help reduce inflammation and help your immune cells regenerate regularly.
You can add brisk walking, steady bicycling, jogging, swimming, and light hiking to your routine,
Studies today suggest that added sugar and refined carbs can contribute to overweight and morbid obesity.
Obesity can moreover increase your risk of developing other diseases.
Reducing your sugar intake can help decrease inflammation and aid in weight loss, thereby reducing your risk of developing chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.
Moreover, you should strive to limit your sugar intake to less than 5% of your daily calories.
Managing your stress levels and anxiety is key to a healthy immune system.
Long-term stress tends to increase inflammation as wells as imbalances in your immune cell functions.
Moreover, it can also suppress the immune responses in children.
Activities like meditation, exercise, yoga, and other practices can help you manage stress and anxiety.
Water intake might not protect you from germs and viruses however preventing dehydration can help to maintain overall health.
Dehydration can cause headaches and hinder your physical performance, focus, mood swings, and heart and kidney functions.
Moreover, these complications can increase your chances of getting ill.
To prevent dehydration, you should drink enough fluid daily so that your urine is pale yellow.
Many doctors recommend water because it is calorie-free, does not contain additives and sugar.
However, tea and juices are also hydrating, it is best to limit your intake of fruit juices and sweetened tea because they have high sugar content.
You might have heard about different claims about supplements and their ability to treat and prevent COIVD-19
However, studies indicate them to be untrue,
According to the National Institutes of Health, NIH, there is no evidence to support the use of supplements to prevent and treat COVID-19.
However, some studies suggest that the following supplements can help strengthen your natural immune responses:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
You should get supplements that are either FDA-approved or recommended by your doctor. However, seek medical advice before using supplements.
The Bottom Line
You can make certain lifestyle and dietary changes today to strengthen your immune system.
These include reducing your stress and managing your anxiety, limiting sugar intake, staying hydrated, exercise, and getting enough.
That said, your immune system is complex. Eating healthy can help you improve your immune response. However, if you frequently get ill, you should consult your doctor.