The Immune System – Your Fighter Cells | Know all about it
When you were young, you would have often fallen sick and experienced cold and cough many times in a year. But as you grew older, the frequency of falling sick reduces. Have you ever wondered why? Have you ever thought about your immune system? Why is it that young kids always get sick more often than adults? One reason for this is the undeveloped immune system. As a child, our immune system is still developing. It takes a few years for the body to build its immunity. The body is yet to recognize and learn about all the foreign objects that try to enter it. As the years go by, your body learns to recognize them and fights against these infections.
What is the immune system or immunity?
In technical terms, immunity is the state of an organism to resist harmful organisms. The immune system of our body help do this job. This is a network of cells, and tissues are in a constant lookout for foreign invaders. Once a parasite or a bacterium or a virus enters, our body produces antibodies to fight against them. Sometimes, the same antigens (disease-causing organisms) attack our bodies again. Then these antibodies will be ready to fight against those antigens. Therefore, a person does not get infected by the same virus again. People usually say if you get Chickenpox or measles once, you will not get again in your life. The reason behind saying this is that of this antibody mechanism. Therefore, children are more prone to get infections than adults. Adults would have already produced antibodies for these viruses or parasites.
Why is it important to have a good immune system?
When our daily life goes about with no hustle, we don’t realize the importance of immunity. Only when we face some illness, do we understand that we should take care of our immune system? If a person can do all his daily activities without feeling tired or sick, then his immune system must be good.
1) Every day we come across many infectious organisms through the air, water, and touch. Without a good immune system, we could become infectious easily. Sometimes, these infections can be fatal too.
2) Immunity is something many people have taken for granted. If not taken care of, well, a human body can lose its immunity power because of our current lifestyle.
3) These days most of the food we consume comes with a lot of preservatives and pesticides. They do not do any good to our body. Along with this, lack of exercise, stress, and pollution further harm our body.
4) Having a good immune system helps us stay strong and fit every day. A few germs or infectious particles doesn’t affect us much. We do not become sick often and hence will be more productive in our daily work. Battling cold, cough or the usual flu is easier when your immunity power is good.
What are the main components of the immune system?
Many parts of our body act as a barrier to foreign objects. These organs look very simple on the outside but play a very important role. They are a part of our immune system and helps the body fight against germs. Below are a few components that play a crucial role:
This acts as the first layer of defense when any germs or infectious objects try to enter our bodies. Therefore, if we have any wound or cut in the skin, it can lead to infection if not treated on time.
2) Tears and Saliva:
These are another type of barrier against infections. They help remove the germs that enter our body via mouth or eye.
This sticky thing surrounds your lungs and stops germs from passing into the blood. They are also present in the nose and nasal passage to filter germs that get in through the air.
Most of the immune system cells are present in the stomach. This is necessary because the stomach is the hotspot of all viruses and bacteria. It is important to keep your stomach in a healthy condition. This will help in better digestion and absorption of nutrients.
There are many other cells that support our immune system. Bone marrow, spleen, lymph nodes, white blood cells, and thymus are also part of the immune system.
How to boost our immunity power?
Now that you have understood the benefit of the immune system, let’s see how can we improve that. Our daily lifestyle and food habits influence us a lot for maintaining a good immune system. There are many ways to boost immunity system. The early you start, the better results. Hence it is important to give importance to immunity at a very young age. Below are a few ways to boost immunity:
1) Healthy diet:
As with many other issues in our body, immunity also depends on the food we consume. Our body needs enough nourishment to fight against the invaders. Studies have found that malnourished people are likely to have weaker immunity. We can observe that even people who eat well can also suffer from a lack of immunity. This is because of the shortage of what we call ‘Macronutrients’. These are zinc, copper, vitamin B6, B12, and similar nutrients. These are absent in the common food we consume and hence most people have a deficit of them. Your diet should include all these elements to have a healthy immune system.
Regular exercise plays a major role in stabilizing immunity. We all know it helps in fighting heart diseases, control body weight, and many such diseases. In the same way, any form of exercise can help boost our immunity. It helps improve blood circulation and hence increases the flow of immunity cells. Moderate exercise daily can help keep your body fit and strong.
Stress is also a major contributor affecting the immunity of our body. A person leading a stress-free life is more likely to have a good immune system. Stress is the foremost reason for several issues in our bodies. Likewise, stress also affects the circulation of immune cells in our bodies. Meditation, yoga, or any breathing exercise can help in managing stress.
4) Herbal lifestyle:
Herbs and spices have been a part of our cuisine for ages. One reason is that these herbs comprise immunity boosters. Our ancestors used these herbs in their daily cooking. So, with minor effort, it would help in improving our immunity.
5) Positive attitude:
Being positive helps boost up a person’s immunity. Avoid negative thoughts and laugh many times a day. Feeling thankful for all that you got and expressing gratitude keeps you cheerful. Many studies have pointed out that our attitude towards life can cure many diseases.
How do herbs help improve immunity?
Following a herbal lifestyle since a small age helps in increasing our immunity. Ayurveda recommends using many herbs as medicines to small kids to boost immunity. Many herbs are famous as immunity boosters. Below is a list of a few of them:
1) Garlic –
This is an age-old spice that has good anti-bacterial property. Including it in our daily cooking keeps our immune system up and running. They help control the secretion of certain chemicals that help immune cells communicate.
2) Ginger –
Ginger is another herb that contains a vast amount of anti-viral compounds. The leaf and the root of the herb are especially beneficial in treating the common cold. You can include it in a recipe or prepare ginger tea and consume it.
3) Turmeric –
This herb in powder form is not only famous for its color but also has other properties. Curcumin, the chemical compound present in turmeric has a lot of medicinal value. Using it daily can help improve immunity and well-being of an individual.
4) Green tea –
Having a cup of warm tea provides a lot of relief when you are suffering from a cold or sore throat. Instead of normal tea, having a cup of green tea gives added benefits. It not only soothes the throat but also contains compounds that help fight viruses.
5) Tulsi –
Tulsi is another herb ignored by most of the people. Though many Indians grow this herb in their backyard, only a handful are aware of its medicinal value. This is a herb that can purify toxic substances in the air surrounding it. Consuming it daily can fight any germs present inside our body. It also increases our immunity power and keeps us prepared against infections. Chewing on the leaf or drinking it as a tea is one of the few ways of consuming it.
There are many more such herbs and spices ignored by people. Many have become a part of our cuisine, helping us to improve our immunity without our knowledge.