The best way to avoid getting sick this season is to strengthen your immune system and practice preventive care to stay healthy. Let me introduce a few easy steps anyone must take in order to stay away from getting sick.
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Immune System As A Castle
Our immune system is an incredible structure that protects us from viruses, infections and other diseases.
I would like to picture our immune system as a castle constantly under siege, defending its citizens against hordes of enemies.
No matter what time of year it is, your body can be susceptible to germs and bacteria that make you sick.
As long as our castle stay tall and strong and we are behind high walls, we feel safe and happy. But sometimes walls get breached or overtime they get old and require a repair.
In this article, we are going to talk about the immune system and steps to protect it and maintain that structure. By naturally boosting our immune system now, we can avoid a nasty illness in the future.
What Is Immune System And How it Works
Immunity is the body’s ability to resist infections and viruses. The immune system neutralizes foreign cells, various infections, and viruses, and then destroys them.
Our immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to prevent infections and reduce their impact on the body.
An important role in the mechanism of the immune system plays lymphocytes – a kind of white blood cells (leukocytes). It is lymphocytes that determine the specificity of immune reactions to foreign microorganisms. Lymphocytes are concentrated in the general circulation system, as well as in the central lymphoid organs and tissues, such as the spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes, where the initial immune reactions are triggered.
The immune system can distinguish healthy cells from virus-infected cells by recognizing signals that pose a threat to the body. Cells can be “unhealthy” because of infections or cellular damage caused by infectious agents like sunburn or cancer.
Infectious microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria cause a chain of signals that are recognized by the immune system. When the system recognizes these signals, it triggers a response to solve the problem. If, however, the response cannot be activated at a sufficient level of threat, problems arise, such as an infection, which causes a person to become ill.
The system of human immunity depends 50% on heredity, as it begins to form in the womb, and 50 % – on lifestyle.
Three whales, which keeps the human immune system, is a healthy sleep, exercise, and a balanced diet.
How to Understand If Your Immune System Is Weak?
The first thing you should pay attention to — a sudden change in the body and health. If you notice that you get tired easier than usual or become more irritable, feel the first signs of cold or allergic symptoms, immediately purchase a vitamin complex and analyze your sleep and diet. If you find that something is lacking in food or that you sleep less than seven hours a day, correct it as soon as possible.
Frequent use of antibiotics, poor heredity, stress and pollution in the environment also weaken the body and adversely affect the immune system.
To strengthen the immune system, vitamins and minerals are needed. Their lack can be filled with multivitamin complexes, but in general, it is better to get vitamins and minerals naturally.
How Stress Affects Your Immune System
Stress one of the main enemies of immunity. The most dangerous is the uncontrolled kind of stress when a person is unable to cope with their emotions. The recipe for getting rid of mental shocks is only one – calm attitude to everything that happens, and often remind yourself that if you can not change the situation — take it for granted.
High-stress levels also can cause depression and anxiety, again leading to higher levels of inflammation. When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections.
In the meantime, there is enough evidence to convince us that we should find healthy ways to keep our stress levels down, which is advice we got from our grandmothers:
Eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep.
Vitamins To Boost Your Immune System
According to some studies, deficiency of certain micronutrients – zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, as well as vitamins a, B6, C, and E – negatively affects immune responses in animals. At the same time, science has yet to study whether the deficiency of these micronutrients causes the same changes in humans. However, scientists already note that the data available in this regard look promising.
Vitamins A can be obtained from carrots, grapes, greens — it is in all red and orange fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin C is in citrus, rosehip, cranberries, cabbage, especially sauerkraut.
Vitamin E – in sunflower, olive or corn oils.
B vitamins in many legumes, cereals, eggs, and greens and nuts.
Zinc and selenium have a positive effect on the immune system . Zinc is found in fish, meat, liver, nuts, beans, and peas. Selenium should be “extracted” from fish, seafood, garlic.
Minerals-iron, copper, magnesium, and zinc — are found in the liver, kidneys, heart, nuts, beans, and chocolate.
It is believed that the vitamin C is very important for the immune system, the main source of which are the fruits of rose hips, rowan red berries, black currant, feijoa, citrus (lemons, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit) cabbage, etc.
However, the place of vitamin C in strengthening the immune system is not the first, though very important. Vitamin C normalizes metabolism, increases vitality.
Iodine is another very important element for the immune system, the main sources of which can be found in sea kale, seafood, feijoa, iodized salt.
Flavonoids have strong anti-cancer properties and boost the immune system. They block the beginning of tumors. Powerful flavonoids include quercetin (in onions), lycopene (in tomatoes) and ellagic acid (in walnuts).
Sometimes we find really hard to get all these necessary vitamins from food sources and there may be all kind of excuses. In this case, it’s best to take Immune System Complex Vitamins and then we know that our body gets all of them in one easy capsule a day.
Among the plants and additives that attract special attention of scientists, there are: Aloe Vera Root of Astragalus Echinacea Aged garlic extract Ginseng Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) Probiotic
Immunity and Exercise
It is difficult to imagine a healthy lifestyle without regular training. As well as a balanced diet, physical activity contributes to the maintenance and improvement of health, in which the immune system occupies an important place. Training promotes good blood circulation, so that immune cells and other substances move freely through the bloodstream and perform their work as expected.
Some scientists are trying to figure out whether regular exercise affects a person’s susceptibility to infections directly. For example, researchers are investigating whether excessive amounts of intense training can disrupt immune function and cause frequent colds. In the course of their experiments, scientists ask athletes to train intensively, while taking their blood and urine before and after training sessions in order to identify any changes in the level of cytokines, white blood cells, and antibodies.
We do not know exactly if or how exercise increases your immunity to certain illnesses. There are several theories. However, none of these theories have been proven. Some of these theories are:
- Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness.
- Exercise causes a change in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC). WBCs are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease. These antibodies or WBCs circulate more rapidly, so they could detect illnesses earlier than they might have before. However, no one knows whether these changes help prevent infections.
- The brief rise in body temperature during and right after exercise may prevent bacteria from growing. This temperature rise may help the body fight infection better. (This is similar to what happens when you have a fever.)
- Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones. Some stress increases the chance of illness. Lower stress hormones may protect against illness.
As noted by scientists, although there is no direct link between exercise and immunity, it is advisable to consider the regular exercise of moderate intensity as one of the potentially important tools that contribute to the maintenance and strengthening of the immune system.
In one study in the American Journal of Medicine, women who walked for a half-hour every day for 1 year had half the number of colds as those who didn’t exercise. Researchers found that regular walking may lead to a higher number of white blood cells, which fight infections.
Folk Remedies For Strong Immunity
An old folk remedy for immunity, to fight diseases and melancholy is ginger root. Grated ginger mixed with honey, lemon juice, dried apricots and take a few spoons a day.
If you turn to seasonings, you can select cinnamon, turmeric, bay leaf, and pepper. They not only add flavor to your dish but also become quality prevention to maintain immunity.
Astragalus Tea is a powerful immune booster known for centuries. In China, it is widely used to improve the immune system, especially for patients who undergo chemotherapy. You can include Astragalus root in your daily diet by adding dry root to your herbal chicken soup, or you can use it to brew a herbal tea tonic to improve and straighten your immunity. For more information and recipes on Astragalus, please fill free to visit my article “Astragalus for Immune system”
Pomegranates are fun-to-eat fruits and they packed with powerful antioxidants and vitamin C to help boost your immune system. Pomegranates are also high in fiber, which can help support healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels and they also help to slow the progression of prostate cancer. If you want to learn more about this miraculous fruit read my article “Pomegranate Benefits” here.
We must not forget the garlic and onions. Garlic is an essential product that’s easily available at home and within your budget. Garlic enhances immune functions with its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. It does not only work as an antibacterial but is also a source of Vitamin C and B6 along with minerals manganese and selenium.
Several studies have shown that people who consume fresh garlic regularly are twice as likely to catch a cold.” If you’re worried about fresh breath, eat garlic best a slice with a glass of cool water.
Onions are filled with immune-boosting nutrients like selenium, sulfur compounds, zinc, and vitamin C. Plus, they’re one of the best sources of quercetin, a potent flavonoid, an antioxidant that has antiviral properties as well as histamine.
Aloe juice contains a number of all vitamins and amino acids that are necessary for the body to have a good metabolism. Is better to mix the juice with honey in a proportion of 50/50 because otherwise, it is very bitter. Unfortunately, all the nutrients in it live only a day, so it’s better to prepare it just before use.
Diet And Your Immune System
Foods that boost the Immune System
Stage of prevention. At this stage, the use of some products will be very useful for general health. Let’s figure out which ones to keep on your table daily.
No wonder it is so popular during the winter season. Honey contains a number of vitamins a, B, C, E, K, and folic acid. But its main advantage is the content of flavonoids-substances that affect the activity of enzymes in the body.
It is very important to remember that honey should be natural, organic and certified.
Honey’s antioxidant and antibacterial properties help to improve the digestive system and boost your immunity. It is also a powerhouse of antioxidants, which are very effective for the removal of free radicals from the body. Start your day by adding a spoonful of honey and lemon juice (from half a lemon) to a cup of warm water.
Omega-3 fatty acids are not produced by the body but are necessary for its functioning. They are contained in walnuts or their mixtures. Useful minerals-potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus — will support a healthy immune system with daily consumption of nuts. At the same time, they clean the vessels from plaques, resist heart diseases, reduce the risk of stroke and atherosclerosis and are generally very tasty.
Dietary Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Healthy individuals readily absorb omega-3 fatty acids from food sources. Foods that are good sources of ALA typically differ from those that provide DHA and EPA. Food sources of ALA include (Jump, 2014):
- Walnuts: 2.6 grams per ounce
- Chia seeds: 5.1 grams per ounce
- Flaxseed oil: 7.3 grams per 1-tablespoon serving
- Canola oil: 1.3 grams per tablespoon
- Ground flaxseeds: 1.6 grams per tablespoon
- Tofu: 0.2 grams per ½ cup serving
Probiotics have been celebrated for some time for their use in improving digestion and reducing bloating. Our gut and immune system are sharing a very close connection. As much as 70-80% of immune cells are located in the gut, so the health of your gut can really impact on the health of your entire immune system.
Probiotics can be found in many foods, so it can be beneficial to include these in your diet. Look for fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, miso soup, apple cider vinegar, pickles, and tempeh. you can look out for yogurts that have live cultures added to them. These can be beneficial, but are not as natural as fermented foods and can be quite sugary.
A great way to ensure you’re getting the friendly bacteria you need is by taking a probiotic supplement. Get it here.
Improving the endocrine system, the elasticity of the walls of blood vessels, lowering cholesterol and enriching the body with a large number of vitamins and minerals-these are the merits of chokeberry. You can use it in the form of berries, and in the form of tinctures or supplements here.
Raisins have a positive effect on the treatment of cough, runny nose and bronchitis. Recommended 200 grams per day, minimum-50 grams. To improve the work of the heart and lungs soaked a handful of raisins in cold water, leave for the night and drink immediately after awakening.
Grapes reduce the risk of blood clots, contributes to the good work of the cardiovascular system, increases the level of hemoglobin, cleanses the blood and improves liver function.
This aromatic spice is not by chance considered a superfood-it is rich in antioxidants and has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show that these qualities turn turmeric into the perfect winter seasoning that helps prevent disease in the cold season, and if you’re already sick, relieve cough, runny nose and headache. Take the recipe from India: turmeric + honey + hot milk + a pinch of pepper.
You can consume it in the form of a daily supplement, click here.
PRODUCTS CONTAINING ZINC
Research suggests that zinc reduces the duration of the cold and relieves its symptoms if you start taking it immediately. In addition, this element helps to regulate the immune system, and at the same time supports muscle mass and promotes wound healing. So be sure to diversify your diet foods rich in zinc, including seafood (primarily oysters), cereals, legumes, and seeds.
Hot tea with lemon and a ginger-a great way to take care of hydration, warm up and provide comfort for an inflamed and irritated throat. At the same time, doctors advise avoiding sweet drinks, including soda and juices, as excess sugar in the body can increase the already existing inflammation.
Green Tea is high in antioxidants, including polyphenols. Polyphenols are natural immune-boosters that not only help prevent illness but also help to stop it in its tracks. For instance, one type of polyphenol, a group is known as catechins, may help kill the influenza virus. Get it here.
Chamomile tea contains compounds that may actually increase the production of white blood cells, macrophages and B-lymphocytes, which work to destroy viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Get it here.
Ginseng tea may be effective at warding off infections and improving immune function, as it encourages both interferon and white blood cell production. Get it here.
Elderberry tea elderberries have been used for centuries to help treat wounds, soothe respiratory illnesses, reduce inflammation in the mucous membranes, and relieve congestion. The best way to get the health benefits of the berry is in the form of tea. Get it here.
Holy Basil Those who follow Ayurveda, are abundantly familiar with holy basil as a medicinal plant. Holy basil, also called tulsi, is overloaded with antioxidants that work against invading viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Get it here.
The first line of defense
Following the principles of a healthy lifestyle is the main thing you can do to maintain health and strengthen the immune function of your body. Every organ and system in our body, including the immune system, function better when stimulated by habits that include: – Refusal of Smoking and alcohol, – A varied diet with minimal consumption of processed foods, – Regular training, – Maintaining a healthy weight, – Blood pressure monitoring, – Adequate sleep, – Regular medical examinations, especially for people of age and those at risk of disease.
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McLeod, S. A. (2010). Stress, illness and the immune system. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/stress-immune.html
The Immune System and Stress By Paige Bierma, M.A. https://consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/stress-management-37/stress-health-news-640/the-immune-system-and-stress-645924.html
Exercise and immunity https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm
Exercise and the Common Cold https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/exercise-when-you-have-cold#1
5 Foods That Boost Your Immune System https://www.healthydirections.com/5-Foods-That-Boost-Your-Immune-System