Have you been inundated with tips on how to boost your immune system? So much so that your overwhelmed and can’t figure out which way to turn?
This comes as no surprise as everyone is trying everything they can to ward off COVID-19. The pandemic has changed our lives in more ways than we can count, but it is also giving us a chance to slow down and return our focus to our health.
This particular virus can stop you in your tracks, and the odds are that you or someone you know will not only contract the virus but suffer its symptoms.
So what can we do other than stay at home and practice social distancing to make sure that we get through the pandemic with minimal physical discomfort?
Support our immune system. And that is why your inbox is overflowing with tips and tricks on how to boost your immune system.
In this post, we won’t give you tips and tricks; instead, we will help you better understand how your immune system works and what you can do to support it- as well as your overall health.
Let’s keep it simple. The immune system defends the body against infections by attacking germs. It is made up of many cells and organs that work together.
For example, white blood cells play an essential role in the immune system. A category of white blood cells called phagocytes chews up invading organisms while their counterparts, lymphocytes, help the body remember the invaders and destroy them.
Consider the B lymphocytes as military intelligence— they find targets and send defenses to attack them. T cells are like the soldiers sent to destroy the invaders.
Antibodies also neutralize toxins and activate a group of proteins called complement that kill:
- Infected cells
How It Works
When foreign substances called antigens invade your body, the immune system goes on high alert. B lymphocytes gear up and make antibodies, which are specialized proteins that lock onto specific antigens.
The antibodies created are customized to the antigen. They stay in your body, so if that particular antigen returns, the immune system will immediately attack it. That’s why someone who gets sick chickenpox usually won’t contract it again.
Although antibodies can recognize an antigen and lock onto it, they need the help of T cells(aka killer cells) to destroy it. T cells destroy cells that are infected or somehow changed as well as antigens that have been tagged by antibodies. T cells also signal other cells to do their jobs.
The Three Types of Immunity
You may be surprised to learn that there is more than one type of immunity.
The first type is innate (natural) immunity. We are all born with this one as a general protector.
The second is adaptive (active) immunity. This one develops throughout our lives as we are exposed to diseases or when we get vaccines.
The third is passive immunity. Passive immunity is “borrowed” from another source, like the antibodies present in breast milk. Passive immunity only lasts for a short time.
Supporting Your System
The fact is that no tip or trick is going to work if you are not in good health to begin with. The reason that there is no single cure-all for a healthy immune system is that the immune system is a system, not a single entity.
The immune system interacts with all of the other systems in the body. This suggests that for the immune system to function at its fullest, the systems of the body need to be in harmony with one another.
A Strong Immune System Stems From a Healthy Lifestyle
Although there are no scientifically-proven direct links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function, scientists are intrigued and continue to study the effects of:
- Psychological stress
- Other factors on the immune response
And we at Neighborhood Wellness believe, and have seen it from our patient’s experiences, that a strong immune system stems from a healthy lifestyle.
You have probably heard the saying, “your body is your temple.” If you have trouble believing that, just consider this – you do everything in your body.
You can’t live without it. It is your most valuable tool. Why would you not take care of it and do everything in your power to keep it functioning at its best?
Let’s start with the basics. To function at its best, your body needs:
- A well-rounded diet high in fruits and vegetables.
- Regular exercise.
- To maintain a weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) that is appropriate for your build.
- Plenty of sleep.
- Proper hydration.
Your body also needs you to protect it from environmental assaults. You can do this by:
- Taking appropriate steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
- Trying to minimize stress and addressing chronic stressors.
- Not smoking
- Drinking alcohol in moderation, if at all.
If you are in good health and practicing healthy lifestyle choices, then your immune system will take good care of your body.
It’s remarkable how the body knows exactly what it needs to do to function correctly. It’s our job to support it by making good choices.
Call to Action
Use COVID-19 as a call to action to practice better lifestyle choices. Now more than ever, you need to do everything you can to support your immune system.
A healthy immune system can be vital in minimizing symptoms of infection or even not getting sick at all!
How We Can Help
Our staff is available for telemedicine appointments! At your appointment, we will discuss your concerns, go over your medical history, and design a whole-health program tailored just for you!
Once a plan is in place, we will support you in making the changes that you need to make and getting the treatment you need to feel healthy and happy!