Constantly, on a daily basis, night and day, we’re bombarded with organisms which enter our bodies through a variant of ways; inhalation, swallowing, skin cells, or mucous membranes.
What these organisms are capable of doing once they’re inside our bodies all depends on how strong our immune system is. When our immune system is working as it should, we don’t even realize we had foreign organisms in our body that would have wreaked havoc on our health had it not been for our robust immune system.
On the other hand, if the immune system is under-active, or even over-active, then we become at risk for developing health conditions which can range from the simple cold which lasts a week to serious, fatal diseases and infections.
But the problem lies in that the safety of our health lies in the hands on an entire system; not just one entity, but rather a large network of organs, tissues and cells working together in synchronized harmony to protect the body from bacteria and viruses.
Originating in bone marrow, immune cells have been taught early on in our life time to differentiate between ‘self’ and ‘non-self’ cells; the former being your own cells, the latter those of bacteria, viruses and fungi.
The miraculous thing about the immune system is that it’s constantly updating itself to keep up with new strains of bacteria and viruses.
You can strengthen your immune system by following these easy tips:
• Get enough sleep. Getting anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep each night gives your immune system the strength it needs to protect your body.
• Get a handle on stress. Continued elevated levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, weakens immune cells which means they’re not doing their job as well as they should.
• Exercise regularly. Working out not only gets you looking good on the outside, but on the inside as well by revving up your immune system by improving blood circulation and lowering stress levels as well.
• A well-balanced diet. There are numerous foods and drinks that boost the immune system by providing your body with antioxidants, minerals and nutrients it needs to fight off free radicals. Here are a few examples:
o Oranges. Oranges are packed with vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient when preventing infections and boosting the immune system. Other citrus fruit packed with vitamin C are tangerines, grapefruits, lemons and limes.
o Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is known for its probiotics which fight off infections and prevent the common cold.
o Tomatoes. Along with a high concentration of vitamin C, an antioxidant which plays a major role in bolstering t-cells and phagocytes – 2 main components of the immune system. Tomatoes are also rich in other minerals and antioxidants, which all work at strengthening the immune system.
o Red peppers. Containing twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits, red peppers also contain beta carotenes which boost immune cells and help ward off infections. A study done in 2013 at Harvard found that consuming 200 milligrams of vitamin C every day can decrease the risk of catching a cold by half. It also reduced the duration of symptoms by 8% in adults and 14% in children.
o Broccoli. Packed with vitamins (C, A and E) as well as other antioxidants and fiber, broccoli works at keeping you healthy from the inside out. It also contains the chemical, sulforaphane, which boosts immune cells to help fight free radicals in the body.
o Green tea is known for its potent anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits. Green tea contains flavonoids, an antioxidant which is known for its immunity-boosting and antiviral properties. It also contains catechin, another type of antioxidant which can kill of bacteria and viruses.
o Spinach is good for your health overall. It contains fiber, antioxidants, beta-carotene and vitamin C. Spinach is also rich in selenium, which has a powerful effect on the immune system.
o Eggs contain high amounts of vitamin D which boosts the immune system. Eggs are also rich in iron, zinc, vitamin E and folate – all help prevent inflammations and kill off germs.
o Garlic contains a sulphuric compound known as allicin which fights off bacteria and infection. For centuries, garlic has proven itself one of the best immune boosters around.
o Tuna is filled with zinc, a nutrient which revs the immune system, helps prevent and treat infections. Zinc also reduces the symptoms of inflammations and shortens the amount of time of sickness.
o Honey is rich in antibacterial properties. It’s sweet and delicious and is a wonderful replacement for sugar in foods like deserts, yogurt and drinks. Honey also prevents diseases and kills off germs in the body. It also helps relieve various symptoms.