How To Support a Normal Functioning Immune System

woman drinking green smoothie

People often  look into different ways that they can help support a normal functioning immune system,  But oftentimes, even after all that research, most people are usually left wondering: is it even possible to help support the  immune system in the first place?

That’s why we’re going to explain how our immune system works and share five ways to help support the immune system , as well.

How Does The Immune System Work?

Our immune system is made up of various organs, cells, and proteins that work together.  protect our body White blood cells play an important role in our immune system since phagocytes (a type of white blood cells) chew up invading organisms, while lymphocytes (another type of white blood cells) help our body remember the invaders and destroy them.

The main tasks of our body’s immune system are to fight disease-causing germs (pathogens), to recognize and neutralize harmful substances from the environment.Without an immune system, our bodies would be open to attack from viruses, bacteria, and parasites. But since we do have an immune system, we’re able to fight any foreign substances (called antigens) that enter our body from the outside, as well as harmful changes that occur inside our body, since our immune system works to recognize the antigens and get rid of them.

B-lymphocytes are triggered to make antibodies (immunoglobulins) and then these proteins lock onto specific antigens. After antibodies are made, they usually stay in our bodies just in case we need to fight the same germ again. And for that reason, our immune system generally becomes stronger during adulthood since we have been exposed to more pathogens and developed more immunity.

What Are The Types Of Immunity?

Innate, adaptive, and passive are the three types of immunity that humans have.

Innate Immunity

The innate immune system is our first line of defense against infection or tissue injury. We’re all born with some level of innate (or natural) immunity to invaders. This innate immunity includes the external barriers of our body, such as our skin, which acts as a barrier to block germs from entering our body. When this system recognizes an invader, the cells of this immune system surround and engulf the invader, killing the invader inside the immune system cells (phagocytes). However, if the pathogen manages to dodge our innate immune system, our adaptive (or acquired) immunity then kicks in.  

Adaptive (Or Acquired) Immunity

Adaptive immunity develops throughout our lives. When we’re exposed to diseases or when we’re immunized against them with vaccines, we develop adaptive immunity. This acquired immune system produces cells (antibodies) to protect our body from a specific invader. Since the adaptive immune system is constantly learning and adapting, our body can also fight bacteria and viruses that change over time.

Passive Immunity

Passive immunity is ‘borrowed’ from another source and lasts only for a short time. For example, antibodies in a mother’s breast milk may give a baby temporary immunity to diseases the mother has been exposed to. This passive immunity can then protect the baby from some infections early on in life.

How To Support a Normal Functioning  Immune System

The cells of our immune system are made in various organs of our body, including our adenoids, bone marrow, lymph nodes, lymphatic vessels, Peyer’s patches, spleen, thymus, and tonsils. Since our immune system is a complex system rather than a single entity, it requires balance and harmony to function well.

5 Simple Strategies To Help Support  the Immune System

Even though there’s still a lot that we don’t know about our immune response because it’s so complex, we do know that there are some diet and lifestyle factors that influence our immune response. So, here are five ways that we can help support our immune system.

1. Eat A Healthy Diet

A diet lacking in one or more nutrients can impair the production and activity of immune cells and antibodies. That’s why it’s important to eat a healthy diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables. Eat colorful fruits and vegetables, olorful fruits and vegetables  along with healthy fats, including those found in salmon and olive oil.

 Well-cooked lean meat, fish and eggs, pasteurized low-fat milk, low-fat cottage cheese or low-fat pasteurized yogurt, and canned or dehydrated soup are some good sources of protein.  Some of these proteins also provide vitamin D. You should also avoid raw vegetable sprouts, raw eggs, unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juice, raw or undercooked meat and poultry, and tofu packed in water.

2. Regularly Engage In Moderate Exercise

A review found that exercise has a profound effect on the normal functioning of our immune system. However, the key is to engage in regular moderate intensity exercise.. Moderate exercise can reduce inflammation and promote the healthy turnover of immune cells, too.

In terms of the types of physical activity that you should be doing on a regular basis, jogging, walking, biking, swimming, and hiking are all excellent options.

3. Prioritize Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep is a time of restoration for your body so it makes sense that a lack of sleep can affect your immune system, as well as how quickly you’ll be able to recover if you do get sick.  Research suggests that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick.

When you sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re stressed out. Too little sleep may decrease production of these protective cytokines. Infection-fighting antibodies and cells are also reduced when you don’t get enough sleep.

4. Do Your Best To Minimize Stress

Long-term stress promotes inflammation and imbalances in immune cell function. Lowering your stress levels through activities like meditation, exercise, and yoga can help keep your immune system functioning properly.

5. Consult with Your Doctor Regular check ups can help ensure you’re in tip top health. Your doctor is the best person to help you make lifestyle recommendations to help you stay healthy and fit. With the magic of the internet some doctors can even address your concerns online, making it more convenient to stay in touch.

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