WHAT IS (REALLY) GOOD FOR MY IMMUNE SYSTEM?
They say it is a natural defense system … but what is the immune system? a small refreshment course for those who forgot biology lessons.
The immune system.
The immune system is the system that protects us against microbes, viruses, and bacteria that enter our body … It is our ally and we must be able to count on this system in all circumstances.
Here is the definition: WHO (World Health Organization) defines the immune system as “a system of complex interactions that activates many organs, cells, and different substances.” This means, of course, that we are not protected by one organ (which would be too simple), but by all kinds of mechanisms that are activated in different places of the body. This system has one basic mission: to recognize what is ‘our’, or ‘compatible’ (our cells, our food …), and what is foreign to our body (the rest). So it unleashes actions to defend our body. The bone marrow and thymus, in particular, produce immune cells: lymphocytes, the soldiers of our immunity.
The intestinal tract, our guardian angel, plays a major role because it is the first organ for immune defense. Thanks to a complex ecosystem, it is always at the front. More than half of the body’s defense cells are located in our intestinal tract. They detect nutrients and bacteria from the intestinal flora and attack everything foreign to our body. They then trigger an alarm procedure. Sometimes the alarm is unjustified: there is an intolerance or an allergy. This sometimes happens when the flora is out of balance.
Long live the intestinal flora
Our intestinal flora consists of hundreds of billions of bacteria of a thousand different species, of which only 20% are known to them. Everyone has a unique combination of those bacteria (just as personal as our fingerprints!). When the intestinal flora is in good health, it protects us better against attacks. But fatigue, pollution, stress, medicines or simply getting older can weaken the intestinal flora. It is then less effective, and our resistance decreases.
Give a boost?
To help the gut flora we can, of course, tackle the causes, such as fatigue and stress, watch what we eat and drink, but we can also feed the flora with good bacteria.
5 tricks to strengthen your immune system naturally.
1. Balanced diet
Nutrition is the basis of strengthening your immune system. If you have not yet started, now is the time to switch to a healthy and balanced diet. It is preferable to avoid too much sugar, fat and meat. And choose a light kitchen rich in fruit and vegetables with a high nutritional value.
2. Good night’s sleep
No, you don’t dream! You need to sleep more!
An adult needs an average of 8 hours of sleep to resist stress and fatigue. Attention! You must relax before going to sleep. Don’t go to sleep late and prefer reading over one of your many screens considered a source of sleeplessness.
3. Daily movement
It is no secret that people who are regularly physically active are better able to withstand stress, have a better quality of sleep and a relaxed nervous system. But physically active people are not alone in that! Adequate exercise also reduces diabetes and cardiovascular risks.
Let’s do this! From tomorrow we go for that daily movement!
4. Use natural food supplements
Easy to add to your daily routine. Natural food supplements become your best friend! Take goji berries, for example, which contain polysaccharides that help the body protect itself against external infections. Spirulina, on the other hand, is the ideal ally to purify your organisms and boost your energy.
5. Reduce stress and negative thoughts
A well-functioning immune system protects you against infections and viruses. And are you stressed now and then? Then there is no harm in that. However, does your stress situation last for months or longer? Then you can get sick. How the stress mechanism works and the effect on your immune system.
Stressed out? Ill during your holiday
Stress. We all suffer from it at least once. Especially mental tensions, irritations, and crowds. From that super long to-do list, problems in your relationship and daily traffic jams to economic setbacks and worries about your kids.
Maybe you think: Just bite. I will pass again. I will soon be on holiday and then I can refuel. And then you continue at the same dizzying pace. In short: you do not take the time to charge and recover in the meantime.
Has your holiday arrived and have you reached your destination? Then suddenly it strikes. You get sick. Coughing, sniffling, getting the flu or a nasty allergy.
Do you recognize that? You wonder how this is possible. You now take the time to catch your breath. You laze around, do fun things and relax. That’s right, but simply put sick is the toll you pay for the ongoing stress of the past period. Or better: ignoring it and that does not miss its impact. You’ve undermined your immune system and now it’s trying to rebalance.
This happens when you are stressed
No matter what the cause of your stress is. At such a moment you trigger the well-known fighting and flight mechanism. That is determined evolutionarily. It protected your ancestors in prehistoric times. Made them run fast or battle a wild beast or rival tribe that crossed their path.
Are you stressed? Then the alarm bells in your body go off. The result is a hormonal chain reaction.
For example, the hormone adrenaline ensures that your muscles tighten and your blood pressure plus heart rate rise. Your breathing accelerates and becomes shallower. Blood vessels contract to avoid wasting blood. Your digestion slows down and you sweat to avoid overheating.
Then the hormone cortisol becomes active. It causes your blood sugar to rise and your metabolism to accelerate. After all, you need fuel to cope with the stressful situation. At the same time, cortisol production suppresses the immune system. Because, surviving the danger is more important than fighting germs, healing wounds, digesting your food, etc.
No, nowadays you no longer have to flee or fight, like your evolutionary ancestors. The stress system, on the other hand, has no distinction. Because, as soon as stress rears its head, your body reacts identically. Initially, your defenses are strengthened against possible injuries and infections. But, does the tension persist …
The negative effect of chronic stress on your immune system
Does your tension last briefly? And do you then take the time to recover? Then little will happen. After you have completely calmed down, you will happily continue your life.
However, do you remain exposed to stress? And don’t you charge your battery? Then your cortisol production remains high and that makes your immune system vulnerable. Because, the focus is not on keeping you healthy, but on surviving. The consequence? Your body is less well protected against all kinds of pathogens and in the long run that will hurt your health.
For example, chronic stress through the overproduction of cortisol has been linked to diabetes 2, obesity, digestive complaints, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. Besides, the stress can cause you to produce too little cortisol, as a result of which your immune system becomes overactive and, as it were, turns a mosquito into an elephant. It then sees its body tissue as a threat that can cause allergies, but also autoimmune disorders.
In short: do you want to stay fit and healthy? And let your immune system function properly? Then make sure you recover from stressful situations in time and be kind to yourself. Pay attention to what you eat, get enough sleep, move daily, relax by doing fun and creative things, live in the now, think positive and don’t forget to laugh regularly.
Empower yourself and take control,
it makes all the difference
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