The immune system is a specialized defense mechanism adopted by the body to fight against foreign invaders. It consists of an interdependent and intricate network of cells, tissues and organs that works together to protect the body against pathogenic microorganisms.
The immune system works hard to keep germs away from the body, it destroys them or limit the extent of the harm they can cause to your body. When your immune system is working properly it can tell which cells are yours and which substances are foreign to your body. The immune system activates, mobilizes, attack and kills foreign invaders germs that can cause harm to your body.
Food and nutrition are a significant determinant of a person. Good diets do not only affect the development of the immune system, but it can also help in the maintenance of good immunity.
Types of immunity humans possess
As humans’ we posses two type of immunity that help to defend our bodies from any form of pathogens or foreign invaders and thy are as follows:
- Adaptive or acquired immunity: This is a system that help to defend recognizes a pathogen. It is regulated by cells and organs on our body like spleen, thymus, bone marrow and lymph nodes. Whenever foreign invaders enter the body, these cells and organs create antibodies and lead to multiplication of immune cells (different types of white blood cells) that are responsible to get rid of those harmful substances. Our immune system learns to adapt by remembering the foreign substances so that when it enters again, these antibodies and cells are mor ready to destroy them.
- Innate immunity: It is the first-line of defense from pathogens that try to enter our bodies, and this is achieved through protective barriers that includes:
- mucus that traps pathogens
- stomach acid that destroys pathogens
- skin that keeps out majority of pathogens
- enzymes in our sweat and tears that help create antibacterial compound
- immune system cells that attack all foreign cells entering the body
Factors that can contribute to weaken immune system
- lack of proper sleep and rest: sleep helps the body to relax, during these periods certain type of cytokine is release that fights against infection. Lack of proper sleep and rest lower the amount of cytokine and other immune cells.
- When under excessive stress, chemicals like cortisol are released, which are more potent than both inflammation (which is first required to activate immune cells) and the activity of white blood cells.
- Poor diet: lack of eating properly or lacking more in one or more nutrients can impair the production and activity of immune cells and antibodies.
- Fat tissues produces adipocytokine that can promote inflammatory process.
- Environmental pollution occurs when a contaminant, such as smoke and other airborne particles or too much alcohol, pollutes the environment. This substance can impair or suppress the normal activity of the immune cells.
Foods that can make your immune system weak
- Salty food: A high salty diet has been associated with specific level of inflammatory makers that indicates over-activity of the immune system. Salt may also inhibit the normal immune function, suppresses anti-inflammatory response, alters gut bacteria and promote the development of autoimmune diseases. Use acids like citrus and vinegar or find your favorite herb blend to sprinkle on your savory food instead of salt.
- Sugary food: consuming too much sugar can cause an increase risk of several chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Eating a diet high with sugar may limit he immune system’s ability to combat disease. It may also reduce the effectiveness of white blood cells and increasing inflammation.
- Processed food: A lot of processed food contains unhealthy fats, sugar and additives. Eating sugar and fats in processed food might lead to an overconsumption of calories which can increase the risk of obesity. Obesity can lead to inflammation which can cause insulin resistance as well as immune system dysregulation.
- Fried food: fried foods contain a lot of AGEs produced from cooking at high temperature, they are high in fat and sugar. Avoid food like potato chips and fried meat.
- Refined carbohydrates: refined carbohydrates like white bread bleached flour and sugar can cause imbalance in in gut bacteria, which can compromise the immune system. They are also high in glycemic food which can cause blood sugar and insulin level to rise which could result in free radicals and inflammatory protein roaming the body.
Signs your immune system is weak
- You feel tired all the time
- You have frequent infection
- Your wounds hardly heal fast
- You always have tummy troubles
- You always have a cold.
Tip on how to improve your immune system
- Always wash your hands at all time before eating and cooking
- Eat a healthy balanced diet
- Get enough rest
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Minimize stress
- Avoid smoking and drinking too much.
The immune system is a specialized defense system that the body uses to defend itself from outside invaders. It consists of an interdependent and intricate network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to fight and protect the body against pathogens.