There’s been a lot of talk about the immune system lately but what exactly is it? Is it a body part? An organ? How does it function? Most importantly, how do we protect our immune system from infection and disease? Here’s 5 things you may not know about your immune system.
Our immune system is an ‘environment’
The immune system is actually an environment or a network of cells and proteins that protects our body from infection. It’s an extremely important defence mechanism that can identify invading organisms and destroy them.
Why is our immune system so important?
Our immune system plays a vital role in our health as it protects us from harmful substances like germs and cell changes that can make us ill. The immune response happens when it is alerted that something forign has entered the body – how amazing is that!
Our immune system has a ‘memory’
Did you know our immune system actually keeps a record of every germ (microbe) it has ever defeated so it can recognize and destroy the microbe quickly if it enters the body again? Again, our bodies are truly incredible machines!
So how do we strengthen our immune system?
Each and every part of our body (including our immune system) is thought to function best when protected from both unhealthy lifestyles and environmental pollution. We’ve heard it before: don’t smoke, get good quality sleep, maintain a healthy weight, eat lots of fresh and pesticide-free fruit and veggies, drink alcohol in moderation, minimize stress, and exercise regularly (preferably outdoors in fresh air).
Our immune systems weaken as we age
Unfortunately, most health experts say our immune response capability reduces as we age which is why the elderly catch more infections and chronic diseases. Make sure you get plenty of micronutrients (essential vitamins and trace minerals) in your diet or take them as supplements. And remember, there’s something to be said about getting healthier as we get older…