All you need to know about the human immune system
We might be familiar with how important the immune system is and that we need to eat certain types of foods or do certain types of exercises to boost the immune system. But some of us might be unfamiliar with the functioning of the immune system, and how it is linked to immunity. That’s no reason to worry. Given below are some important things to know about the immune system.
What is immunity?
In simple terms, immunity is the ability of the body to remove foreign objects and to tolerate internal systems. The internal systems and organs can be referred to as “self” whereas external or foreign objects can be called “non-self.” This ability of the body to realize the difference between self and non-self materials is what helps us stay alive.
There are two primary systems through which immunity can be achieved — active and passive. Active immunity is the immunity produced by the body. On the other side, passive immunity is introduced to the body in the form of medication or injections.
What is the immune system?
We know that our body has immunity but how does it implement this to know the difference between healthy tissue and viruses. It does so in the form of the immune system, which is a complex network of cells. Their work is to identify non-self objects such as viruses and bacteria. These non-self substances in the body are called antigens.
Once the presence of antigens is detected by the immune system, it begins to develop a defense response. The defense response is usually present in the form of antibodies who exist only to destroy the antigens.
This means that without the immune system, our body would be left prone to all kinds of diseases and disorders, leading to fatalities. But simply having an immune system will not suffice; it should be strong enough to kill the antigens before they cause harm to the body.
How to maintain a healthy immune system?
Maintaining a healthy immune system can be easy. Here are some pointers that’ll support your immune system on its journey to being healthy.
- Including a decent amount of vegetables, fruits, and grains in your diet is essential to maintain a strong immune system. Such foods give your body the essential nutrients and minerals it needs to stay strong.
- Exercise on a daily basis. Nothing says healthy like 30 to 60 minutes of any exercise form that suits you.
- Get a decent amount of sleep. Health experts recommend seven to eight hours of sleep in a day.
- Keep yourself clean. Wash your hands and feet with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds.
- Get your vaccinations right. Every child needs to get their vaccinations on time, and everyone who is at least 6 months of age should get an annual flu shot.
- Avoid drinking and smoking.
- Stress can also stop your immune system from functioning well. If you feel overwhelmed by stress, try to get in touch with a counsellor. Build a network of people whom you can talk to, and even exercise to keep stress levels to a minimum.
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