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What You Should Know About the Immune System
As we are living in the midst of a pandemic with the winter season approaching, you may be wondering how you can boost your immune system to better fight off infection.
The immune system plays a significant role in regulating our bodies and protecting us from illness. To stay healthy this season, we’ve laid out a few ways you can boost your immunity this year.
How does the immune system work?
Your immune system is vital to maintaining a healthy life. The immune system can help to protect you from infections, viruses, and other toxins.1 Every day, our immune systems fight off the bacteria that causes you to become ill.
The structure of our immune systems is extremely complex. The innate immune system, which is the first response when pathogens enter your body, is part of the immune system known as the rapid response team.2 This includes physical barriers such as skin and the respiratory tract, and defense mechanisms such as tears and sweat.3
The innate immune system quickly responds to anything that seems foreign to the body.2 This is the body’s response when it first comes into contact with a virus or bacteria. Think of the innate immune system as our first line of defense when we pick up bacteria or a virus that makes us sick.
There is another part of the immune system, known as the adaptive immune system, that is slower to respond.4 This is the part of the immune system that is activated when someone receives a vaccination.1
The adaptive immune system memorizes certain pathogens and helps to prevent us from getting the same virus over again. Our body remembers the viruses we’ve had to minimize our chances of getting ill again.
Your immune system may not be strong enough to fight off every infection you come across, and this is what causes us to get sick.
In an extreme case, this is known as immunodeficiency.5 Immunodeficiency disorders make it harder for the body to defend itself against infection or diseases, which also means it would be easier for someone with this kind of disorder to get sick.
An autoimmune disorder will cause the immune system to attack your healthy cells because it does not recognize what belongs to your body or not.
How to boost your immune system
Now that we have learned a little bit about the immune system and how it works, here is a breakdown of how you can boost the immune system.
Natural ways to boost your immunity
There are numerous ways to boost your immune system naturally, including getting enough sleep, eating whole foods and healthy fats, and staying hydrated.7
Sleep not only improves your brain’s functioning but helps to strengthen your immune system naturally. Not getting enough sleep can heighten your chances of getting sick since your immune system is not taking the time to recover.
Another easy option to strengthen your immunity is by incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Whole foods are loaded with antioxidants and other significant nutrients that your body needs to fight off disease.
Foods that are rich in Vitamin C can also help to boost the immune system. Vitamin C increases white blood cells, which help to fight infections.8 Healthy fats that are found in foods such as avocados and salmon help to ward off inflammation.
Moderate exercise can also promote a strong immune system.9 Not only can exercise reduce inflammation just as healthy fats do, but it is vital to helping restore and replenish immune cells. You can incorporate some activities that work within your day to keep your body healthy.
Another key to the immune system and overall health is hydration. Although hydration won’t prevent you from contracting diseases or viruses, having enough of fluids can help maintain your body’s daily regulation.
These are just a few easy, natural ways you can help yourself. You can begin boosting your immunity by incorporating these into your everyday life to stay healthy.
Aside from all the natural ways you can boost your immune system, there are also supplements of specific vitamins or nutrients that boost immunity if your diet is lacking them. However, you should always consult your doctor first before deciding what supplements to take.
Probiotics are good bacteria that line your gut and fight disease.10 You can build and maintain healthy probiotic levels by eating health foods and supplements.
Probiotics work to support your immune and digestive systems. The amount of good bacteria in your body can be thrown off when you come in contact with an infection and bad bacteria, which is why it’s good to add probiotics into your diet.
As mentioned earlier, Vitamin C is another great way to boost immunity. Although vitamins can be found naturally in foods, there are supplements available if you’re deficient in any category.
Saber Healthcare Supports a Healthy Immune System
Saber Healthcare wants you to stay healthy this winter season! Strengthen your immune system by eating right and building healthy habits now.
There are many ways you can remain healthy throughout the year and boost your immunity. Try one of these tips listed to start.
To learn more about Saber Healthcare and what we offer, click here.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “How Your Amazing Immune System Protects You From Infection.” Cleveland Clinic, health.clevelandclinic.org. April 23rd, 2020. Accessed November 3rd, 2020. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/q-amazing-immune-system-protects-health/.
- “Innate Immunity.” Khan Academy, khanacademy.org. Accessed November 3rd, 2020. https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/mcat/organ-systems/the-immune-system/a/innate-immunity.
- “Immune Response.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus. October 8th, 2020. Accessed November 9th, 2020. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000821.htm.
- “Adaptive immunity.” Khan Academy, khanacademy.org. Accessed November 3rd, 2020. https://www.khanacademy.org/science/in-in-class-12-biology-india/xc09ed98f7a9e671b:in-in-human-health-and-disease/xc09ed98f7a9e671b:in-in-types-of-immunity-and-the-immune-system/a/adaptive-immunity.
- Carey, Elea and Spriggs, Brenda. “Immunodeficiency Disorders.” Healthline Media, healthline.com. May 11th, 2019. Accessed November 3rd, 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/immunodeficiency-disorders.
- Watson, Stephanie and Sampson, Stacy. "Autoimmune Diseases: Types, Symptoms, Causes, and More.” Healthline Media, healthline.com. March 26th, 2019. Accessed November 3rd, 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/autoimmune-disorders.
- “How to boost your immune system.” Harvard University, Harvard Health Publishing. April 6th, 2020. Accessed November 5th, 2020. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system.
- Shoemaker, SaVanna and Warwick, Kathy. “9 Ways to Boost Your Body’s Natural Defenses.” Healthline Media, healthline.com. April 1st, 2020. Accessed November 3rd, 2020. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-boost-immune-health.
- “Exercise and immunity.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus. November 3rd, 2020. Accessed November 18th, 2020. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm#:~:text=Physical%20activity%20may%20help%20flush,system%20cells%20that%20fight%20disease.
- “How Healthy Food Affects the Brain.” Saber Healthcare Group, saberhealth.com. August 10th, 2020. Accessed November 5th, 2020. https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/how-healthy-food-affects-the-brain.