How Your Immune System Does Not Only Protect You From The Common Cold
Here is how it works and how you can strengthen your immune system: A healthy lifestyle ensures a strong immune system. This fights viruses, bacteria and other germs. Here are the most important tips for a strong immune system.
By the way, check out my upcoming podcast "Immunity On The Bounty" to learn everything there is to know how to strengthen your immune system! It's never too late to boost your body's natural defenses.
The Podcast for this Blog.
Our immune system protects us from harmful substances, pathogenic cell changes and pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and fungi. The stronger the immune system, the lower the risk of colds, flu or other infections.
Strengthen the immune system naturally
There are many factors that affect the immune system. You too have a great influence on it. A healthy lifestyle is the be-all and end-all for a strong immune system. These include mindfulness, a balanced diet and enough exercise.
But our emotions such as joy and sadness also play a role in the immune system. Laughter promotes the formation of immune cells and antibodies. This enables the body to fight off pathogens better. On the other hand, those who suppress negative feelings for a long time damage their health. The immune system becomes more susceptible to infections.
Kissing helps the immune system
Did you know that a kiss triggers more than feelings of happiness? The immune system also thanks you: The kissers exchange endogenous messenger substances and thousands of bacteria. This strengthens the immune system.
1. Relieve stress
In stressful situations, the body releases more stress hormones and forms more immune cells. After that he has to recover from it. If this does not happen, the level of stress hormones rises disproportionately. In addition, the number and activity of immune cells decrease. That weakens the immune system.
Persistent stress at work or in private life can cause permanent stress. Set clear priorities and learn to say no sometimes. Treat yourself to longer periods of rest on a regular basis. Relaxation exercises such as meditation, yoga or autogenic training can also ensure that your immune system reacts better.
2. Eat a balanced diet
Make sure you eat a balanced diet. Eat at least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit a day. The more, the better. Include cereals, legumes, meat, fish, milk and dairy products in your diet on a regular basis. Use fresh ingredients whenever possible.
Also, make sure you drink 1.5 to 2 liters a day. Because if the mucous membranes are not protected by a liquid film, pathogens can penetrate more easily. It is therefore important to drink enough, especially when the air is dry. If water is too boring for you, unsweetened teas or diluted fruit juices are good alternatives.
Good to know: Alcohol deactivates certain parts of the immune system for at least 24 hours. Nicotine reduces the number of immune cells and antibodies in the blood.
Balanced nutrition: information and tips
Which nutrients are important for the immune system?
Vitamins and minerals help the immune system function normally. Eat a balanced diet to ensure you get enough of the essential nutrients, such as:
Vitamin A: milk, dairy products, yellow fruits and vegetables
Vitamin D: fish, avocado, mushrooms (even more important during winter months)
Vitamin C: potatoes, vegetables, fruit
Vitamin B complex (B6/B9/B12): animal foods, vegetables, whole grain products
Iron: meat, grain products, nuts
Copper: shellfish, legumes, whole grains, nuts
Selenium: fish, meat, legumes, nuts
Zinc: meat, eggs, milk, dairy products, whole grains
Good to know: The benefits of dietary supplements for strengthening the immune system have not been clearly proven.
3. Exercise regularly
Moderate exercise ensures that the body forms and activates more immune cells. Try to move more in everyday life - preferably in fresh air. Sunlight and oxygen additionally stimulate the immune system. Use stairs instead of elevators. Walk short distances. Find out what kind of exercise you enjoy and incorporate at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise weekly. Swimming, cycling or jogging, for example, are suitable for this.
However, avoid excessive physical exertion: if the body has too little time to regenerate, the risk of infection increases. The body constantly releases stress hormones and thus suppresses the immune system.
Good to know : Immediately after a training or exercise session, the number of immune cells decreases. You are therefore particularly susceptible to infections during this time.
4. Get enough sleep
Whether the immune system works well is closely related to how long and how well we sleep. The sleep hormone melatonin helps the body to regenerate itself. During this time, the number of natural immune cells increases. When there is a lack of sleep, the body releases more stress hormones, which in turn suppress the immune system.
So, how does the immune system work?
The immune system is a highly complex and sensitive network. It consists of different organs, cell types, and proteins. They protect the body from pathogens. These include bacteria, viruses and fungi. A distinction is made between the non-specific, i.e. the innate immune system, and the specific, i.e. acquired immune system. These are closely linked.
The non-specific (innate) defense The non-specific immune system fights off pathogens of all kinds. Immune cells such as scavenger or killer cells play a major role in this. They fight pollutants and harmful germs that enter the body through the skin or the digestive system, for example.
The specific (adaptive or acquired) immune system takes over if the non-specific defense cannot destroy the pathogen. It forms antibodies, which it uses specifically against certain pathogens. The specific immune system also remembers recurring pathogens. So it knows how to destroy them. In addition, it is constantly learning. This also allows the body to fight bacteria or viruses that change over time.
Our adaptive immune system saves us from certain death by infection. An infant born with a severely defective adaptive immune system will soon die unless extraordinary measures are taken to isolate it from a host of infectious agents, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Therefore, during the last 3 months of pregnancy, antibodies from mothers are passed to their unborn babies through the placenta.
This type of immunity is called passive immunity because the baby has been given antibodies rather than making them itself.
Antibodies are special proteins the immune system produces to help protect the body against bacteria and viruses. The amount and type of antibodies passed to the baby depends on the mother's immunity.
We depend on such innate immune responses as a first line of defense but they can also mount much more sophisticated defenses, called adaptive immune responses. The innate responses call the adaptive immune responses into play, and both work together to eliminate the pathogens. Unlike innate immune responses, the adaptive responses are highly specific to the particular pathogen that induced them. They can also provide long-lasting protection.
A person who recovers from measles, for example, is protected for life against measles by the adaptive immune system, although not against other common viruses, such as those that cause mumps or chickenpox.
Vaccines work by stimulating your immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if you were exposed to the disease. After getting vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease, without having to get the disease first. In short: Vaccines greatly reduce the risk of infection by working with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.
Other ways to boost your immune system, besides staying up-to-date on recommended vaccines, are to maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, hydrate ...hydrate…hydrate, get plenty of sleep and minimize stress.
One last word on supplements
There's no shortage of supplements claiming they can stimulate your immune system — but be wary of these promises.
Unlike medications, supplements aren't regulated or approved by the FDA. And there's no evidence that supplements actually help improve your immune system or your chances of fighting off an infection or illness. For instance, if you think a megadose of vitamin C alone can help you keep from getting sick, think again. What we eat plays a large role in how well our bodies are able to protect us against disease and fight it off. A supplement is simply, well, something you supplement a healthy diet with.
So, if you're looking for ways to help boost your immune system, consider keeping up with the lifestyle habits above, rather than just relying on claims on a label alone.
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How to strengthen and boost your immunity to ward of not only the common cold, I will show you in my upcoming podcast "Immunity on the Bounty". Check here for more information about the podcast as well as an overview of all our episodes!
For now, I wish you every success in protecting yourself and boosting your body's natural defenses!
Enjoy your day!
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