Every person has an immune system that works to protect and defend the body against disease. A strong immune system is one that is functioning optimally, while a weak one is one that is compromised by general ill health and other factors. While genetic factors do affect the immune system, there are many ways for people to boost their immune systems.
The immune system is your body’s natural defense system. It is made up of a complex network of specialized organs, cells, proteins, and chemicals that work around the clock to protect the body from foreign elements. The organs involved include the spleen and the thymus, and important cells in the immune system include white blood cells.
The white blood cells are made in the bone marrow and are the key actors in the body’s immune system. They are found in the blood and tissue, and their function is to find foreign organisms and launch an immune attack. The foreign invaders or microbes can be anything from bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.
Also worth mentioning are the antibodies, which are large proteins produced in the blood plasma. They detect the chemical toxins produced by the foreign microbes and mark them for an attack. A fever, for example, is the body’s response to a potential infection. The rise in temperature characteristic ofa fever is one way to kill the disease-causing microbes.
When you have a weak or underactive immune system, you are more vulnerable to infections. This can be a result of hereditary, medical treatment, immunosuppressant diseases, and a range of behavioral factors.
The immune system is a complex and coordinated network, but it can be affected and strengthened by the choices you make about what you eat and drink, how you treat your body, and in what activities you engage.
Healthy eating is not a quick fix, but it is one of the most important ways to boost your immune system. A balanced diet with all the right nutrients and vitamins is vital. Eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods is recommended because of all the value you can get from these. One of these is antioxidants. These compounds occur in many foods and fight cell damage. Vitamin C is another essential nutrient found in abundance in citrus fruits, for example. It boosts the immune system and is vital for the repair, growth, and development of many body tissues.
Whole plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are highly recommended because they are high in nutrients and antioxidants. They have also undergone no processing, which often reduces the food value. Antioxidants are vital as they reduce inflammation and fight off foreign particles known as free radicals.
Healthy fats are another must-have in a healthy diet. These include omega-3 fatty acids. They reduce inflammation in the body and thus help to boost the immune response to pathogens. Foods such as salmon, chia seeds, and olive oil are particularly high in healthy fats.
Nutrient supplements are an option for people with particular deficiencies or who want to boost what they get naturally from their diets. There are supplements for all the essential vitamins and nutrients, and these can significantly help when taken in moderation.
Herbs and superfoods are also useful because they contain many nutrients that boost the body’s ability to fight infection. Garlic, ginger, turmeric, rosemary, and cayenne pepper are just some examples of herbs and spices that can be easily incorporated into a healthy diet. Superfoods such as berries, broccoli, kale, green tea, and avocados all improve overall health.
Reducing over-processed foods, fatty foods, and high added sugars can also help to reduce the chances of obesity and other long-term illnesses. Scientists have linked obesity has to a higher susceptibility to disease.
What you drink matters. Most people are under-hydrated but don’t even realize it. Drinking plenty of water daily improves all your body functions and processes. The effects of mild dehydration may be subtle, but they do impact the body’s overall performance and state. Mood swings, lack of focus, and digestion problems are just some of the issues that can result. Consuming a lot of alcohol can hurt the body’s immune system, so those that do drink must do so moderately.
Your behavioral choices also impact your body’s immune system. Besides improving what you eat and drink, here are some other ways to boost your immune system naturally:
A healthy immune system can mean the difference between fighting off an infection early on and having a food-blown illness. Many factors, such as your gene pool and underlying health conditions, may be out of your control, but there are so many things you can do to uplift your immune system. Healthy eating habits, getting enough rest, and regular exercise are just some of the ways to make sure the body has all the nutrients it needs and is operating optimally.