Health Info

How You Can Help Your Immune System

We’ve all heard the term “immunity” at some point in our lives. But why is it essential to take care of our immunity?

What does the immune system do?

 

 

 

Your immune system is your body’s natural defense mechanism that helps fights against pathogens like viruses, bacteria and fungi. It detects, control and prevent infections inside your body.

How does it work?

The immune system contains a number of essential cells that defend against infections. However, to make it simpler, there are 3 main cells we can take note of.

First, we have macrophages, which are specialized cells that detect, eat, and destroy pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

Second, after digesting these pathogens, it processes them and then passes them on to T cells, which research and develop antibodies to combat these pathogens.

Third, we have NK Cells, which are specialized cells that are known for their ability to kill virally infected cells as well as detect and control cancer cells.

With these three primary cells, along with additional cells that are as important inside the immune system, it identifies, controls, and prevents infections within the body.

Problem: Waking up in the morning feeling cold and having a runny nose

This happens when you wake up in the early morning feeling chilly. Also, you have a runny nose despite turning off your air conditioning. This is a clear indication that your immune system is struggling to keep up, and it is time to do something.

 

Problem: Frequent Diarrhea

This occurs when you experience irregular stomach aches that occur more than once each day and this symptom last for weeks.

 

Problem: Feeling of fatigue

Even though you may have slept for 8-9 hours, you still feel exhausted and appear to have not slept well.

 

Problem: Higher body temperature

This is the situation where your temperature is higher than that of your peers and colleagues. It actually indicates that your immune system has been overworked and there is a risk that your immune system is now attacking your body rather than defending it!

 

Problem: Gets sick easily after a stressful experience

This happens when you get ill after a major assignment at work or after something stressful happened at home. This is due to the fact that when you are subjected to stress on a regular basis, the amount of lymphocytes, white blood cells responsible for combating infection, in the human body decreases. As a result, over time, the body’s immune system weakens and becomes less effective in handling stress, inevitably leading to getting sick following a stressful experience.

 

What You Can Do: Exercise

According to ScienceDaily, exercise improves the immune system’s ability to detect and respond to pathogens in the short term. In the long term, it delays the changes that occur in the immune system as we age, lowering the risk of infection. So go for a short run outside, walk down the stairs, or perform some simple air squats at home!

 

What You Can Do: Consume more fruits and vegetables

There are several foods that can help boost the immune system. However, because there are far too many listed on healthline site, we will only list those that are readily available in our local wet markets and supermarkets. Here are 8 of them!
1. Red bell peppers – high in vitamin C and beta-carotene.
2. Broccoli – high in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fiber and antioxidants.
3. Garlic – contains allicin, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Ginger – high in antioxidants
5. Almonds – high in vitamin E
6. Papaya – high in vitamin C and papain enzyme.
7. Kiwi – high in vitamin C

 

What You Can Do: Get enough rest

According to Mayo Clinic, when we sleep, our bodies produce proteins called cytokines that helps in immune system regulation. As a result, if we do not get enough sleep, the number of cytokines released is reduced, making us more vulnerable to illness. So, get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per day, and let your body build up its defense mechanisms while you sleep!

 

What You Can Do: Keep stress to a minimum

Based on a research done by Cleveland clinic, high levels of stress can lead to depression and anxiety, which can lead to increased inflammation. In the long run, persistently high levels of inflammation will lead to an overworked, overtired immune system that is unable to adequately protect you. So, whenever you’re stressed, take a break. Drink some water, go for a walk in the park, or watch a few Tiktok videos. Less stress = improved immunity!

 

What You Can Do: Try immune-boosting herbs or supplements

In the western world, there are supplements that have immunity-boosting properties. WebMD provides several examples, including but not limited to: vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, echinacea, zinc, probiotics, glutathione, elderberry extract, and golden root extract.

In the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine, we have a variety of herbs that can help boost the immune system, such as astragulus root (黄芪根), angelica root (当归), Ginseng (人参) or Ganoderma Lucidum (赤灵芝). You might think that Gingseng is the best of the four herbs listed. In fact, it isn’t. Ganoderma Lucidum, as recorded in the archaeological materials, Shennong’s Herbal Classic of Materia Medica and Compendium of Materia Medica, is a top-grade Chinese Medicinal fungus that ranks higher than the premium herb Ginseng.

 

References

https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2020/march/weakened-immune-system
https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/immune-system-disorders
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200331162314.htm
https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757#:~:text=Yes%2C%20lack%20of%20sleep%20can,if%20you%20do%20get%20sick.
https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-happens-when-your-immune-system-gets-stressed-out/#:~:text=High%20stress%20levels%20also%20can,can’t%20properly%20protect%20you.
https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20201117/can-supplements-boost-your-immunity-this-winter

 

 

 

 

What does the immune system do?

Your immune system is your body’s natural defense mechanism that helps fights against pathogens like viruses, bacteria and fungi. It detects, control and prevent infections inside your body.

How does it work?

The immune system contains a number of essential cells that defend against infections. However, to make it simpler, there are 3 main cells we can take note of.

First, we have macrophages, which are specialized cells that detect, eat, and destroy pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

Second, after digesting these pathogens, it processes them and then passes them on to T cells, which research and develop antibodies to combat these pathogens.

Third, we have NK Cells, which are specialized cells that are known for their ability to kill virally infected cells as well as detect and control cancer cells.

With these three primary cells, along with additional cells that are as important inside the immune system, it identifies, controls, and prevents infections within the body.

Problem: Waking up in the morning feeling cold and having a runny nose

This happens when you wake up in the early morning feeling chilly. Also, you have a runny nose despite turning off your air conditioning. This is a clear indication that your immune system is struggling to keep up, and it is time to do something.

Problem: Frequent Diarrhea

This occurs when you experience irregular stomach aches that occur more than once each day and this symptom last for weeks.

Problem: Feeling of fatigue

Even though you may have slept for 8-9 hours, you still feel exhausted and appear to have not slept well.

Problem: Higher body temperature

This is the situation where your temperature is higher than that of your peers and colleagues. It actually indicates that your immune system has been overworked and there is a risk that your immune system is now attacking your body rather than defending it!

Problem: Gets sick easily after a stressful experience

This happens when you get ill after a major assignment at work or after something stressful happened at home. This is due to the fact that when you are subjected to stress on a regular basis, the amount of lymphocytes, white blood cells responsible for combating infection, in the human body decreases. As a result, over time, the body’s immune system weakens and becomes less effective in handling stress, inevitably leading to getting sick following a stressful experience.

What You Can Do: Exercise

According to ScienceDaily, exercise improves the immune system’s ability to detect and respond to pathogens in the short term. In the long term, it delays the changes that occur in the immune system as we age, lowering the risk of infection. So go for a short run outside, walk down the stairs, or perform some simple air squats at home!

What You Can Do: Consume more fruits and vegetables

There are several foods that can help boost the immune system. However, because there are far too many listed on healthline site, we will only list those that are readily available in our local wet markets and supermarkets. Here are 8 of them!

1. Red bell peppers – high in vitamin C and beta-carotene.
2. Broccoli – high in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fiber and antioxidants.
3. Garlic – contains allicin, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Ginger – high in antioxidants
5. Almonds – high in vitamin E
6. Papaya – high in vitamin C and papain enzyme.
7. Kiwi – high in vitamin C

What You Can Do: Get enough rest

According to Mayo Clinic, when we sleep, our bodies produce proteins called cytokines that helps in immune system regulation. As a result, if we do not get enough sleep, the number of cytokines released is reduced, making us more vulnerable to illness. So, get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per day, and let your body build up its defense mechanisms while you sleep!

What You Can Do: Keep stress to a minimum

Based on a research done by Cleveland clinic, high levels of stress can lead to depression and anxiety, which can lead to increased inflammation. In the long run, persistently high levels of inflammation will lead to an overworked, overtired immune system that is unable to adequately protect you. So, whenever you’re stressed, take a break. Drink some water, go for a walk in the park, or watch a few Tiktok videos. Less stress = improved immunity!

What You Can Do: Try immune-boosting herbs or supplements

In the western world, there are supplements that have immunity-boosting properties. WebMD provides several examples, including but not limited to: vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, echinacea, zinc, probiotics, glutathione, elderberry extract, and golden root extract.

In the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine, we have a variety of herbs that can help boost the immune system, such as astragulus root (黄芪根), angelica root (当归), Ginseng (人参) or Ganoderma Lucidum (赤灵芝). You might think that Gingseng is the best of the four herbs listed. In fact, it isn’t. Ganoderma Lucidum, as recorded in the archaeological materials, Shennong’s Herbal Classic of Materia Medica and Compendium of Materia Medica, is a top-grade Chinese Medicinal fungus that ranks higher than the premium herb Ginseng.

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