What is the Immune System & How Does It Work?
There is lots of talk in our present day about the immune system. You might hear the terms “herd immunity” or “building immunity” tossed around more than usual and wonder, how does immunity really work? What is the immune system, and how can you improve yours?
How Our Immune System Works
The human immune system is the natural defense mechanism used to fight against bacteria, viruses, and toxins. This system consists of several organs, cells, and proteins that work together to defend you from foreign substances not natural to the body.
There are two main parts of the immune system: the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system. The innate immune system is the one we are born with that recognizes foreign substances and kicks into action to kill them. The adaptive immune system then learns from the innate immune system and begins producing antibodies, building up your body’s protection from those same foreign substances in the future.
Importance of a Healthy Immune System
A healthy immune system is a vital part of an overall healthy body. A weakened immune system will have several adverse symptoms. People with weakened immune systems may experience frequent infections, fatigue and overall low energy levels, and slow-healing wounds. Poor digestion and gut health are also signs of weakness in the immune system. Over time, these symptoms increase stress on our bodies and harm our overall well being.
How to Boost Your Immune System
It’s clear that our immune system is vital for our overall health, so how can we work to improve it? While vitamins and supplements may help, there is no quick fix or magic pill you can take to build a healthy immune system. However, the concrete steps you can take to improve your immunity are more obvious than you might think:
- Exercise regularly: even if it’s just a walk, regular movement increases overall well being and releases helpful endorphins throughout the body.
- Practice proper nutrition: sticking to a whole foods, balanced diet and cutting out high-sugar foods will help your body get the vitamins and antioxidants it needs.
- Prioritize sleep: sufficient sleep allows your body adequate time to rest and recover, while getting too-little or poor-quality sleep will increase stress and strain on your body.
These steps might seem overly simple. Sleep, eat well, and exercise? As simple as it sounds, yes—these are the keys to maintaining a healthy immune system and an overall healthy body.