How to Boost Your Immune System
What is the Immune System and its Function?
The Immune System is a network of different organs and substances in the body that protects our bodies from foreign bodies and their harmful effects such as infections and diseases.
When these foreign bodies such as bacteria, parasites and viruses attack healthy cells, the Immune System responds by releasing antibodies to combat them. This is called an Immune Response.
However, sometimes, the Immune System fails or gets weak, and the foreign bodies successfully invade our healthy cells, making us sick. To prevent this from happening, we should take active measures to strengthen our immune system.
How do I Know if my Immune System is Weak?
The following are signs that you may have a weakened Immune System:
1. You get tired easily and feel tired all the time –
If after very little activity, you feel burned out, or you are getting enough rest, and you still feel exhausted, your immune system may be trying to tell you something.
When your immune system is struggling, you tend to be low on energy. It is our bodies’ way of trying to preserve itself by conserving energy.
2. You Always Have a Cold –
Colds normally occur in people, especially adults, two to three times a year. During that time, the immune system develops antibodies to fight off the germs, and in days, the cold should be gone. However, if you are constantly catching a cold, that is a clear sign your immune system is having a hard time.
3. You have Digestive Issues
According to research, the digestive tract houses close to 70% of the body’s immune system. So if you frequently have diarrhea, constipation or any other stomach-related disorders, it may mean that your immune system is weakened.
4. Your Wounds Are Slow to Heal
Whenever we get injured, the body protects the injury by sending nutrient-rich blood to the injury to help regenerate new skin. This healing/skin regeneration process is made possible by a healthy and functional immune system.
However, if your wounds linger, and are slower to heal than normal, it may be a sign that your immune system is weak.
5. You Have Frequent Infections –
If you discover you are always treating infections, your immune system might be compromised.
According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, common signs of an immunity deficiency in adults include:
- Having more than four infections in one year
- Developing Pneumonia twice during a one-year period
- Suffering from chronic sinusitis or bacterial sinusitis more than thrice in a year.
- Needing more than two courses of antibiotics a year
However, it is important to note that the above listed items are not an extensive list of symptoms of a weak immune system. Also, the above symptoms may be indicators of other conditions beside a weak immune system.
Immune System and Age
As we grow older, our immune system’s response becomes reduced, making us more prone to illnesses and diseases. Owing to a number of factors such as reduced appetite and micronutrient malnutrition (deficiency of essential minerals and vitamins), elderly people are more likely to fall ill and contract infectious diseases than younger ones.
However, there are diet and lifestyle choices that allow elderly people to age healthily and keep their immune systems relatively strong. Dietary supplements may help to solve the problems of reduced appetite and the lack of diet variety in old people.
Stress and Immune Function
The relationship between mind and body is one of the most important components of modern medicine. At the root of several illnesses is either or both physical and emotional stress.
Have you noticed how you tend to get sick after a long stretch of work or in the middle of an emotional situation? This is because long-term or chronic stress slows down the body’s immune responses.
Healthy ways to Strengthen your Immune System.
The Immune System is not a single entity. It is a system, a complex collection of different organs, tissues and substances. To function properly, all of the components are required to work in harmony.
Following years of research, a number of factors that can have an effect on the immune system and its response such as diet, lifestyle, age and physical activity have been identified.
Every part of our bodies, including our immune systems function better when they operate under proper maintenance and care. Hence, a few lifestyle changes and new habits can help to keep your immune system strong and healthy:
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet
- Get enough sleep
- Drink lots of water
- Exercise regularly
- Keep your hands clean
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Limit or avoid smoking and drinking
- Minimize/avoid stress (Physical and mental)
- Consult with your doctor on dietary supplements.
The immune system is an important aspect of our overall health. We must actively protect it, as it protects us.