What is the immune system?
The immune system is a complex of molecules, cells that make up organs protecting the body against intruders like germs, fungi, parasites and viruses. Another role of the immune system is to protect the body from developing cancer.
Actually, your immune system works non-stop, while we notice it only when it fails to protect us. Different parts of your immune system collaborate in fighting different pathogenic organisms dangerous to your body.
The classical outlook sees the immune system as two parts: Inherited immune system and acquired immune system. The inherited immune system is, in fact, the first line of defense, which protects the body against any attack in general. On the other hand, the acquired system reacts to each invader in a specific way. T and B cells are cells that learn and accumulate knowledge when they encounter infection in the body. This way they create an “immune memory”, which helps develop abilities to react in a more precise and powerful manner next time when the same virus or parasite is encountered.
However, nowadays, we know that this division of the immune system in two parts is not completely precise, and there are elements in the inherited immune system that are also able to develop.
What causes weakness of the immune system?
Not everything we do on a daily basis is good for us. Most of us know this, but we often prefer to not think about it and continue following our bad habits without delving into how they can affect us.
For example, drinking alcohol. Everyone knowns that heavy drinking can cause loss of control, road accidents, that it can lead to damage of your liver and other organs, but it can also damage your immune system.
A study conducted in the USA showed that two hours after heavy drinking (4-5 glasses), the function of the immune system decreases.
Smoking causes a lot of damage to your immune system as well. The smoke that enters the body of a smoker contains dozens of different toxic substances, which causes the immune system to work non-stop just to fight them. If a smoker gets sick with an infection or a virus, his body has less resources to handle it.
A stressful lifestyle or an unbalanced and poor diet can weaken the immune system. Different diseases or chemotherapy treatments can also harm the immune system.
Natural solutions to strengthen the immune system
There are several ways to strengthen the immune system, however, it is important to remember to do this in moderation and after consulting with a physician. If the immune system gets strengthened too much, it can cause the body to attack itself, which is called an autoimmune disease.
Nature, as is well known, gave us solutions for almost every medical problem. For example, dietary supplements for strengthening the immune system, which include herbs like Uncaria tormentosa (Peruvian marigold), which increases the production of white blood cells in the body, or Black elderberry, which helps fight upper respiratory infections. These remedies can definitely contribute to your immune system. Also plants like Echinacea, Calendula, Red clover and Melissa have been scientifically proven as remedies that contribute to strengthening the immune system.
Different “granny’s remedies” can be helpful as well. For example, chicken soup is a “mini-pharmacy” of anti-inflammatory substances, as well as tea with lemon or ginger or honey – these can help eradicate invasive bacteria.
Some healthy lifestyle habits can also change the picture. Exercising on a regular basis and staying in the sun (while taking the necessary precautions) can help create anti-inflammatory substances in your blood.