Our immune system is our defence against all pathogens, bacteria, and any other outside particle that can affect our health in any way. If our immune system is strengthened, we are protected from all kinds of diseases but if our immune system is weak, even the smallest microbe can cause a shift in our whole metabolism and we could have to face very serious conditions until we start medication.
Our defence system consists of white blood cells which engulf the outside agent and then start enzymatic action to destroy them slowly. This process is likely to produce symptoms that are often accompanied by the sickness.
The symptoms produced by the immune system range from fever and cough to phlegm and nausea which signify that some foreign agent has entered the metabolism. We will often head to the doctors and then start medication which is often decided by the doctor according to our specific symptoms.
Which Vitamins Boost the Immune System?
In most cases of people with strong immune systems, help from medications is needed sparingly as the body can fix itself slowly. But in the case of a weak immune system, the bacteria infects the body and can cause mild to serious health defects. To boost our immune system, we can however use vitamins that directly reinforce our immune system.
Starting with Vitamin A, which enhances the production of white blood cells in the bone marrow and as we know already that the white blood cells are the key figures of our immune system, an increase of these white blood cells will benefit us. You can get Vitamin A from supplements, but you can also find them from everyday foods including spinach, carrots, milk, mangoes, and apricots.
Next comes the Vitamin B complex which consists of Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12. All these play various roles for our immune system like enhancing the action and production of white blood cells as well as the circulating antibodies. You can get B vitamins from bananas, strawberries, and yoghurt or milk.
Vitamin C plays a huge role in immunity because it produces interferon proteins that help the body fight viral infections. Vitamin C is also a part of the skins defence system, it acts as an antioxidant to help strengthen the skin's barrier! It's present in most citrus fruits, guava, kiwi, and strawberries.
Can Exercise Boost Your Immune System?
Short-term and moderate exercise does help boost the immune system by helping the white blood cells to find pathogens and kill them. On the other hand, long-term exercise can slow down the changes to our immune system that occur as we age. As exercise improves blood flow in our body, it means that it also helps the nutrients and vitamins reach our cells more efficiently which improves the mobility of white blood cells to the site of infection.
Some studies do say that athletes can have an increased risk of infection and lowered immunity because of their high-intensity exercises but the latest research contradicts this theory and instead suggest that the lifestyle of athletes is too rough which makes them more susceptible to infections.
What Helps to Boost the Immune System if you are Pregnant?
Pregnancy is a very critical time for a mother and her baby and if the mother is facing any nutritional deficiencies or imbalances during this time then there could be complications. A healthy immune system is very important and in order to ensure this we need a healthy, well-balanced diet as recommended by our dietician. Micronutrients like zinc and vitamin C are crucial and requirements should be met while pregnant. Having a healthy gut microbiota is also important.
You have to stay hydrated and eat a healthy well-balanced diet where you have to make sure that everything is cooked well. If you eat 3 to 4 cloves of garlic per day, it helps them fight against bacteria while eating a sweet potato provides you with your Vitamin A needs for the day.
What is the Immune System and why is it Good to Boost it?
As we already discussed in the beginning immunity is our defence system but let's get into some more detail. There are two concepts related to this known as innate immunity and adaptive immunity. Innate is the non-specific defence mechanism that recognizes and neutralizes any foreign substance that enters the body whereas adaptive immunity is much more complex and recognizes antigens on the surfaces of the pathogens which get past the innate immunity. Adaptive immunity remembers the invaders and knows how to attack when they enter again.
Boosting the immune system means we are fuelling our body to give the correct responses to pathogens and disrupt their function. It saves our lives because without an immune system we will get every possible illness out there and not be able to survive even the common cold.
Hydration and the Immune System
The first thing I relate to hydration is to drink clean water. If we drink contaminated water it means we are at risk of allowing pathogens to enter our alimentary canal leading to sickness hence we should always consume filtered, boiled, and purified water.
Dehydration affects all our cells as they can’t replenish as efficiently, and this includes our white blood cells. If these cells are dehydrated, they will not be able to properly defend our bodies when dehydrated.
Our mucous linings in the alimentary canal also tend to release antibodies against any contamination particle in our food and these cells work better if they are well hydrated.
Another thing water helps with is to clean out our system by flushing out toxins or dead cells which have accumulated over time and without enough water, our blood won’t be properly filtered. When these toxins are removed there is a smaller chance of contracting an illness or disease.
To conclude, it is good to address the current Covid-19 situation which made us all much more aware of the immune system and its importance and almost everyone at one point was supplementing their diet with vitamin C and zinc to prepare their system for the completely foreign virus. Therefore, we should on normal days keep making the little tweaks in our diet and lifestyle to keep our immune system ready for any virus.