It is the most basic instinct of any living thing to fight to survive.
It is for this same reason why the history of mankind has been constantly marked by various armed battles. Disputes arise because of conflicts between ideologies and religion.
The desire to acquire others’ resources and dominate other territories have spawned wars.
Since the beginning of time, man has not experienced a respite from bitter struggles that have brought terrible death and destruction.
In a smaller scale, another battle rages on.
Bacteria, viruses and other molecular elements can be seen as parties in conflict inside the new battlefield — the human body.
People are already familiar with the methodology of warfare maybe because it has been frequently taught in history classes and shown in movies.
However, maybe only a few are aware of how this same process occurs within the human body.
In this case, a person’s body is considered the territory with all its abundant resources.
The division that protects the territory, just like the armed forces in different countries, is called the immune system.
If the armed forces makes use of a group of people and weaponry for defense, the immune system also has its group of cells and chemicals.
As a systemic and carefully organized scheme is needed in fighting in order to win, the protecting system of the human body also makes use of what seems to be a well-planned strategy.
Like any other system, however, human immunity also has its weaknesses and imperfections.
The immune system
The immune system is created to protect the body from dangerous intruders called pathogens.
A pathogen, upon invasion of the territory, will seek to utilize its resources in order to survive. The survival of the pathogen within the body results to infections.
The type of infection that develops corresponds to the kind of pathogen that has formed it. It can either be a viral infection such as in common colds, a bacterial infection like cholera, a fungal infection such as candidiasis (yeast infection) or a parasitic infection like malaria.
Either way, infections cause diseases that are detrimental people and may further lead to their death. However, the human body, just like any other territory, will not just stand by during the invasion.
Upon detection of intruders, its immune system will automatically react with the similar instinct to survive.
Coded instructions within cells
Coded instructions within cells and other substances enable a strategically implemented process of protection. When pathogens enter the initial barrier of the body, they instantly harm the cells that they come upon.
As the cells are injured or infected, it instantly releases eicosanoids and cytokins. These two serve as signals that will cause further reaction within the immune system.
Eicosanoids cause the blood vessels to dilate so that the blood will rush in to the area and it also attracts white blood cells to respond.
The increased blood flow results to inflammation which is characterized by redness and and swelling.
Cytokins on the other hand help in the communication between white blood cells that will eliminate the pathogen.
Attract more immune cells like killer T-cells and promote healing of the area damaged by pathogens.
This mechanism of the immune system, however, as said earlier has its weaknesses and imperfections.
Some pathogens, being more complicated to destroy, sometimes have better chances of survival and to proliferate.
When a human’s immune system is not anymore able to fight, external help is already needed such as antibiotics. Several antibiotics, however, are not 100% efficient and leave some bacteria to survive.
These remaining bacteria often develop antibiotic resistance, particularly to those that have already been used against them and can cause a more dangerous health problem.
Newer antibiotics are then necessary in these situations.
7 Foods That Boost the Immune System
Feeding your body certain foods may help keep your immune system strong. If you’re looking for ways to prevent winter colds and the flu, your first step should be a visit to your local grocery store.
Plan your meals to include these 7 powerful immune system boosters.
Red bell peppers
If you think citrus fruits have the most vitamin C of any fruit or vegetable, think again. Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus.
They’re also a rich source of beta carotene. Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C may help maintain healthy skin. Beta carotene helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.
Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as many other antioxidants and fiber, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table.
The key to keeping its power intact is to cook it as little as possible — or better yet, not at all.
Garlic is found in almost every cuisine in the world. It adds a little zing to food and it’s a must-have for your health.
Early civilizations recognized its value in fighting infections. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, garlic may also help lower blood pressure and slow down hardening of the arteries.
Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.
Papaya is another fruit loaded with vitamin C. You can find 224 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C in a single papaya.
Papayas also have a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects.
Papayas have decent amounts of potassium, B vitamins, and folate, all of which are beneficial to your overall health.
You may know turmeric as a key ingredient in many curries. But this bright yellow, bitter spice has also been used for years as an anti-inflammatory in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Also, research shows that high concentrations of curcumin, which gives turmeric its distinctive color, can help decrease exercise-induced muscle damage.
This is another ingredient many turn to after getting sick. Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and other inflammatory illnesses. This may also help decrease nausea.
While it’s used in many sweet desserts, ginger packs some heat in the form of gingerol, a relative of capsaicin.
Ginger may help decrease chronic pain and may possess cholesterol-lowering properties, according to recent animal research.
Both green and black teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Where green tea really excels is in its levels of epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, another powerful antioxidant. EGCG has been shown to enhance immune function.
The fermentation process black tea goes through destroys a lot of the EGCG. Green tea, on the other hand, is steamed and not fermented, so the EGCG is preserved.
Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.
6 Ways to Boost Your Immune System Naturally
The good bacteria in your gut are known as probiotics and are responsible for supporting digestion, combating harmful organisms, and keeping your immune system in check.
Considering that 70% majority of your immune system resides in your gut, maintaining a balance of probiotic bacteria is essential for nurturing your immune defenses.
Probiotic-rich foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, and kefir, or a high-quality, probiotic supplement can 6 Ways to Support Your Immune System Naturally help balance your ratio of good to bad bacteria.
Organic Oregano Oil
Oregano oil, one of the most antioxidant-rich oils on the planet, is extremely beneficial for immune system support by defending against dangerous organisms.
Organic oregano oil’s potency is due to a compound called carvacrol, which has been shown to promote a healthy balance of good to bad bacteria.
Enzymes are essential for digestion and metabolic function and research even suggests they’re beneficial for your immune system.
Part of the reason for this is because, as you get older, your body produces less of its own enzymes.
Supplementing that gap can help you absorb more nutrients from your food to better support your immune system, and overall health.
As mentioned, your gut is where 70% of your immune system originates, so introducing enzymes to support gut health and digestion only makes sense.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
Emotional, mental, and physical stress takes a toll and can age you — and your immune system — beyond your years.
Research has shown that immune system activity drastically decreases when you’re stressed.
Finding productive ways to deal with it is important for keeping your body strong and resilient.
While stress is part of life and can never be totally avoided, meditation, exercising, and eating a healthy diet can really help ease its effects.
Vitamin D, AKA the sunshine vitamin, is another nutrient that keeps your immune system strong. In fact, vitamin D deficiency has been directly linked to a compromised immune system.
Exposure to sunlight is the best way to encourage your body to produce vitamin D, but it’s not always accessible.
Vitamin D supplementation is an easy way to fill the gaps, and make sure to choose vitamin D3 over vitamin D2.
The importance of sleep simply cannot be overstated.
Sleep resets your entire system and provides an avenue through which you can relieve stress and improve not only your immune system, but your overall health.
Without adequate sleep, your immune system will suffer and be far more susceptible to invading microbes and harmful organisms. In general, seven or eight hours of sleep a night satisfies most people.