What is the Immune System?
The immune system is an amazing and complicated constellation of cells, organs, proteins, and tissues, all of which together work to respond against such foreign invaders as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, which in turn may prove harmful and cause several diseases to your body. A unique thing about the immune system is that every cell and organ involved in it not only easily remembers and identifies millions of enemies that may attack your body but also generates powerful chemical secretions in the form of fluid in order to get rid of all of them. In short, the immune system plays an important role in protecting us from different kinds of diseases, from minor colds and flues to most devastating ailments like cancer and heart diseases.
Among the organs involved in the immune system are bone marrow, from which all of the immune system’s cells are derived; thymus, whose function is to produce T cells; spleen, which is composed of cells like T cells, B cells, dendritic cells, red blood cells, macrophages, and natural killer cells; and lymph nodes, which promote the proper functioning of lymph by serving as its immunologic filter. T-Cells, Natural Killer Cells, B Cells, Polymorphonuclear (PMN) Leukocytes, Macrophages, and Dendritic Cells are some of the cells included in the immune system. Depending upon the function it does, the immune system is broadly categorized into two categories: the Humoral System, otherwise known as the antibody-mediated system that deals with harmful elements in the body tissue as well as blood, and the Cell-Mediated System, which deals with the infections in the body cells.
Foods that help boost your immune system
The immune system’s strength determines whether we get sick or not. If you have a poor immune system, then you have increased chances of getting diseases. A healthy immune system can be derived through proper exercise, sufficient sleep, and good hygiene. Along with these, it is important that you intake proper food to boost your immune system. Mentioned below are some foods that help to boost the immune system.
- Yogurt – Sometimes acknowledged as miracle food, yogurt contains in it Lactobacillus acidophilus – a kind of healthy bacteria, which in turn helps to fight infections as a result of virus, bacteria, and parasite germs.
- Garlic – With a high content of phytochemicals and sulphuric compounds like allicin, garlic is considered highly effective as an immune booster and its intake helps to protect you from diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
- Turmeric – Enriched with therapeutic properties, turmeric’s consumption helps to produce more immune cells.
- Green Tea – Since it contains in it agents like epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG that can fight bacteria and viruses, green tea not only strengthens the immune system but also serves as an anti-cancer agent.
- Ginger – Intake of ginger, especially with a cup of green tea, helps to boost the immune system by reducing the risk of developing cancers that affect the colon and ovaries.
- Sweet Potato – It promotes a healthy immune system with its antioxidant properties and elements such as phytochemical carotene, all of which together aids to strengthen bones, blood vessels, and tissues.
- Spinach – Spinach is a good source of folate and antioxidants like quercetin that prevent many harmful viruses and bacteria from multiplying.
- Pumpkin – A good source of essentials including Zinc and proteins, pumpkin’s intake helps to strengthen the cells involved in the immune system.
- Oysters – With a high content of Zinc mineral, oysters helps for the healthy functioning of vital cells like T cells.
- Oranges – Their consumption helps to neutralize free radicals, as they contain powerful antioxidants in the form of Vitamin C.
People with weakened immune systems can easily get many colds and flues throughout the winter season. But you can reduce your chances of a cold and flu by boosting your immune system through the intake of foods like:
- Vitamin C enriched foods – Since Vitamin C helps for the growth of antibodies to combat infection, foods rich in Vitamin C such as red bell peppers, cabbage, broccoli, leafy greens, kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, and berries are highly effective to protect against the infections that cause cold and flu.
- Onions – With properties such as flavonoids that could kill harmful bacteria, onions are helpful to ward off germs causing cold and flu.
- Fish – Fish is known for its immune-enhancing properties, which help to reduce the risks of cold and flu.
- Bananas – A rich source of vitamin B6, banana’s intake especially with whole-grain cereal would strengthen your immune system to fight against germs and infections that cause cold and flu.
- Brightly colored vegetables and fruits – Intake of brightly colored vegetables and fruits enriched with beta carotene is an excellent way to boost your immune system.
Often, the foods we consume may not supply sufficient nutrition required for the proper functioning of the immune system. Immune system supplements have been designed to support your immune system by providing it with all essential nutrients. Immuno-xcell, Claritose, Nutratose, Lupazol, and Viratrol are some of the immune system supplements available in the market. However, it is recommended to only take these supplements after consulting with an experienced registered practitioner.
Moderate and regular exercises has proven to have a positive effect on the immune system, as it helps to enhance blood flow and improve functioning of organs such as kidneys, endocrines, and the cardiovascular system. Exercise also flushes out toxins from the muscles and organs through the secretion of sweat.