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Immune system

immunity

What can we know about the immune system?

From early schooling, we have learned that our body has an inbuilt defence mechanism known as the immune system. The immune system is essential for survival.  

Bacteria, viruses, parasites and other harmful foreign agents attack our body if the immune system is absent.  

The wide network of tissues and cells keeps checking on foreign agents in the body, and if it is found harmful, it eradicates the foreign agent.  

The immune system consists of various cells, tissues, proteins and organs that would fight against bacteria.  

If the immune system in our body encounters a threat or a pathogen, it will automatically provide an immune response.  

What is an immune response? 

The way in which our body defends itself against harmful substances is called an immune response. Our body’s natural defence mechanism recognises the threats present on the surface of substances and attacks to destroy them.

How does an immune system work? 

Basically, the immune system differentiates between the body’s natural agents and antigens. The body will perform this detection of proteins that are found on the surface of the cells.  

The body, at the early stage, by default, learns to ignore its own proteins.  

An antigen is a substance that can trigger an immune response.

In most cases, the antigen usually is a bacteria or a fungus virus or other toxic substances in the body.

Sometimes it can also be our body’s own cells that are non-functioning or dead.  

A particular group of cells would recognise the antigen as a foreign invader in the body.

The cells that work together as part of the immune system are the white blood cells, also called leukocytes.

Some of the white blood cells called phagocytes would consume the invading organisms. The other cells called lymphocytes would help the body remember the invaded organisms and destroy them.  

One particular type of phagocyte is the neutrophil. The neutrophil is responsible for fighting bacteria.  

There are two types of lymphocytes – B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes.

In simple terms, the B lymphocytes are like the body’s natural intelligence system, which finds the enemies and sends a signal to the T lymphocytes cells, which fight against the enemies.

What are the types of immunity? 

Immunity exists in four types.

They are  

  • Active immunity  
  • Passive immunity  
  • Innate immunity  
  • Adaptive immunity  

Active immunity is a type of immunity, which is created by our own immune system, which activates itself when it comes in contact with the harmful pathogen. These immunities are exposed to us throughout the day of our life. Thankfully most of these could not result in chronic or harmful diseases as a new system works to eradicate them.  

The importance of active immunity is the quick response it provides to the outside agents.  

The passive immune system is a type of immunity that is triggered when something other than our bodies in the immune system is detected.

Passive immunity is prevalent for a shorter time as the antibodies are not continuously replenished.  

Passive immunity can occur from antibodies that may be maternal, like the antibodies that protect the unborn child.  

After birth, the mother produces the mother’s milk which is rich in protein, providing this immunity.  

Innate immunity is a type of immunity that will protect the body against various infections by triggering a quick response once the pathogen attacks. This is built of various barriers that would fight against the bacteria, viruses and other parasites and block their path and growth inside the body.  

Adaptive immunity is the immunity that occurs after exposure to a pathogen or when we get a vaccination. This is called acquired immunity. This immunity is injected when there is not sufficient immunity present in the body to fight harmful substances.  

How to improve immunity? 

Boosting immunity would help the body fight illness.  

Here are some of the ways we can improve the immune system.

  1. Getting adequate sleep
  2. Eating whole foods
  3. Consuming a balanced diet
  4. Including probiotics and fermented food
  5. Restricting sugar intake
  6. Adequate hydration
  7. Moderate exercise
  8. Managing stress level

Sleep is directly linked to health. Inadequate sleep is linked to higher chances of developing sickness. Adults should consider getting seven hours of sleep every night, while children require around 10 hours of sleep.  

Getting enough sleep would strengthen the immunity naturally.  

Consuming whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and legumes, which are nutrient-dense and rich in antioxidants, helps the body fight against harmful pathogens.  

The antioxidant content in the food will help decrease inflammation by fighting the free radical cells in the body.  

Consuming healthy fat would boost the body’s immune response to pathogens. The fatty acids or the healthy fats we consume would fight inflammation.  

Including fermented foods in the diet is useful. Fermented food is rich in bacteria called probiotics which would promote gut health. Gut health and immunity are interconnected.  

Restricting sugar intake and refined carbs decreases inflammation and helps in weight loss. Reducing sugar intake would also reduce the risk of developing Type II Diabetes, weakening the new system.  

Moderate exercise will reduce body inflammation and promote the growth of healthy cells. Performing activities like jogging, walking, swimming or playing sports is essential for a healthy lifestyle.

There should be no scope for dehydration as it would make our body more susceptible to illness. It is necessary to consume adequate water every day.

It is also important to consider lowering the stress level through various practices like yoga and exercise in order to maintain a strong immune system that functions properly.  

To sum up  

It is important to know that a person can make various lifestyle changes or dietary changes to strengthen the immune system.  

The immune system is essential to fighting against various infections and diseases. It is important to keep our health in check.  

Taking advice from a medical professional is essential.  

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is important to maintain a healthy immune system.

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