March 2020 is an interesting point in time. As a health coach and everyday advocate of better health, it got me thinking. As Americans are we aware of our immune system? Do we understand how it functions? Do we understand how to keep it healthy? I don’t think we do, and while a healthy immune system doesn’t promise you internal life it is still incredibly important. In today’s post, I am going to be giving you a brief overview of the immune system, signs of a weak immune system and how to boost it. Understanding how to live our best life is simple if you know how to take care of it.
How does your immune system work?
Your immune system is a complex one, but it is essential for survival. If our immune system did not exist it would leave our bodies open to a myriad of viruses, bacteria and more. In its very basic function, the immune system encounters a pathogen (germ) in the body it sends out a response to fight that pathogen. The immune system acts like an army for your body and keeps a record of every germ it has ever defeated.
Pretty cool right?
Those little soldiers fighting off the germs are called antigens and with the help of your T cells, they destroy the pathogen inside your body. In addition to tagging the pathogen as dangerous for your system, they also help neutralize toxins and can activate complement proteins that help kill viruses, bacteria or infected cells.
3 Types of Immunity
Humans have three types of immunity: innate, adaptive, and passive. These types of immunity care for our bodies at different times in our life.
Innate Immunity – General protection for the body. For example, the skin is a barrier to germs entering the body.
Adaptive Immunity- This type of immunity develops throughout life. We develop this type of immunity when we get vaccinated or have experienced a disease.
Passive Immunity – Passive immunity is borrowed from another source and only lasts for a short period of time. The most common example of this is breast milk so the mother can protect her baby against the things she has been exposed to.
Our bodies are amazing things. It naturally creates way’s to protect itself from harm, but if we are not careful we can weaken that innate gift.
Signs of a weak immune system
This is not to scare you by any means. A weakened immune system can come in many shapes and forms, but these are the six that pennmedicine.org mentioned as the most common.
These symptoms are widespread for many Americans. The world we live in seems to be knee-deep in stress and it can trigger the other symptoms which will put most of us out of commission if we get sick. However, there are ways to combat a weakened immune system. There is hope, and preventative ways to heal your body.
How to boost immunity
Eat a well-balanced diet
I feel like this should go without saying but eating a colorful variety of foods is so important. Flooding your body with vitamins and minerals helps your body and the immune system work properly.
Researchers say that getting enough sleep helps the T cells fight infection in your body. So if your body is craving sleep, do what it says. This is a simple yet effective way to improve your body’s immune function.
Exercise is one of the main pillars of living your healthiest life. A consistent work out schedule will help lower cholesterol, maintain a healthy weight and relieve stress. All of which are contributing factors to a healthy immune system.
Wash your hands
Again, this is another no brainer. Keeping your outer defense layer clean will help prevent the spread of infection. Sing happy birthday, or whatever song you want. Just do us all a favor and wash your hands.
Maintain a healthy weight
Keeping yourself at a healthy weight contributes to healthy function in the body. When you are operating in a “normal” healthy state your body can use all of its resources to boost the immune system and fight infection.
Finding ways to help you de-stress can seem difficult but it is not complicated. Look inward to determine what makes you feel at peace and make the time to do those things. Closing your eyes and breathing deeply is a simple yet powerful way to minimize stress virtually anywhere. Relieving the stress and pressure will allow your body to gather the resources it needs to maintain a healthy immune system.
Now, you should have a better idea of how your immune system works, signs you may need to improve your immune system and easy ways to get that much-needed health boost. Our world is changing daily and it needs to adapt. Understanding how you can live your healthiest life by boosting your immune system is one yet powerful way to fight disease or infection. You only have one body, cherish your temple and nurture it to good health.