The immune system is considered to be an essential system to maintain human health. The immune system in the body defends against invading pathogens. The immune system consists of the organs, cells, and tissues that work together to defend the body against foreign invaders. The immune system in the body is a defense system as it recognizes millions of pathogens, produces secretions and cells to match up with and wipe out each one of them. The cells of the immune system are classified into two groups – innate cells and adaptive cells.
- When innate immune cells encounter a pathogen, it reacts immediately to kill and remove it from the host. The innate immune cells can include granulocytes, mast cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells. Mast cells are known for its ability to quickly release granules of histamine and heparin in response to an infection.
- When adaptive immune cells encounter a pathogen, its reaction can be delayed and can take days to respond. Adaptive immunity is considered to be one of the most powerful elements of the immune system as it selects the most appropriate receptor in order to target the pathogens. Also, the adaptive immune system remembers the pathogens by maintaining pathogen-specific memory cells.
If an individual has impaired, the defense system in the body could be affected, resulting in serious infections, illness and sometimes seven death. Immune function protects healthy tissues from disease-promoting factors. Sometimes, the immune system in the body becomes overactive, means that the immune system mistakenly harms the healthy cells in the body and lead to the development of diseases. It is believed that the hygiene hypothesis is the most common cause of an overactive immune system.
Ways to boost immunity
There are certain natural ways that can help you boost immunity and reduce the risk of developing an infection. Some of the natural ways are as follows:
Diet plays an important role in keeping the immune system healthy as the availability of nutrients has the ability to affect all aspects of the immune system. In other terms, deficiency of certain nutrients can lead to impaired immune responses and increases the risk of suffering from infections. Vitamins are vital constituents of our diet that have long been known to influence the immune system and primarily there are nine water soluble vitamins including the eight in the vitamin B complex and vitamin C, that has a role to play. Other than this, Iron, Zinc, Vitamin D, Vitamins A, E, and phytochemicals including beta carotene, play important roles in immune function. Some of the food items that can boost immunity include:
- Turmeric is known to have an amazing effect on the immune system. Curcumin, which is the main active constituent in turmeric is the main reason for it. Studies have stated that turmeric has the ability to modulate the growth and cellular response of various cells in the immune system.
- Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetable, filled with multiple nutrients and vitamins. Broccoli is one of the richest sources of vitamin A and C, hence promotes a healthy immune system. There are various mechanisms through which broccoli can be considered to be an effective way to boost immunity.
- Ginger contains many influential factors that can help in maintaining the normal functioning of the immune system and reducing the risk of infections.
We all know that regular exercise is one of the best things we can do to stay healthy. Exercise has benefits to almost all the organs of the body, including immune system. Multiple studies have been conducted to demonstrate the benefits of regular exercise on the immune system and it was observed that there are multiple ways through which exercise boost immune system such as:
- Regular exercise increases the phagocyte activity and function and an increase in the function helps to take the harmful substances out of the bloodstream and helps to fight against active infections.
- Exercise increases the blood flow to the cardiovascular system and flushes the toxins and germs out of the body, in the form of sweat. Also, increased blood flow keeps the antibodies and white blood cells needed to fight infection.
- It is believed that exercise has a direct impact on the temperature of the body and an increase in the body temperature can help to kill and inhibit the growth of unwanted pathogens.
Sleep is an essential process in life. Many studies have stated that there is a strong relationship between the sleep and the immune system. Researchers concluded that sleep deprivation alters immune function and that any immune challenge will eventually alter sleep quality. There are various mechanisms that state the relationship between sleep alteration and impaired immune response. One of the mechanism include, sleep and immune system share regulatory molecules and these molecules, especially cytokines are involved in both physiological sleep and in the disturbed sleep that is observed during the acute-phase response to infection. It can be said that sleep has an effect on the immune system through the action of cytokines that are regulated during the sleep.
QUIT SMOKING AND DRINKING
Cigarette smoking is one of the most common addictions in modern times and there is no doubt in saying that cigarette smoking adversely affects the health of an individual. No single organ or the part of body is spared by it. The smoke from cigarette contain thousands of chemicals and many of these chemicals are poisonous in nature. Nicotine and tar are considered to be the most harmful chemicals present in cigarette smoking. It affects the entire body, including immune system. Cigarette smoke contains high levels of tar and nicotine that induces many immunologic changes. Tar and nicotine affect the innate immune response of the host and increases the susceptibility to infections.
Consumption of alcohol is also associated with an impaired immune system. Excessive consumption of alcohol can alter the numbers and functions of most immune cells and can make the immune system weak to fight against infections. The effects of alcohol on the immune system largely depend on how often and how much a person drinks. Alcohol has an adverse effect on the immune system through its effect on the liver. Normally, the liver produces various antibacterial proteins and whenever the liver is damaged, the capability to produce these antibacterial properties is affected, hence an increased risk of bacterial infection. Consumption of excessive alcohol is one of the most common causes of liver damage.
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