Health is one of the most important and valuable asset you can have in life. WIthout it, you can't truly enjoy the things life offers. Especially during this pandemic, you should be paying extra attention to your immunity, as it is your first line of defense against illnesses. On this week's journal, we will be giving overview of our immune system, as well as simple ways to maintain it through daily habits. Read on!
Understanding the parts of our immune system
The immune system comprises of organs and cells that protect the body from germs (bacteria), viruses, and other parasites that may harm health, by causing various infections and diseases. It works by recognizing discrepancies between your body’s cells and invading cells, allowing it to destroy foreign cells that could be potentially harmful. These important organs includes skin, which is the largest organ found in humans and also acts as a physical barrier that keeps bacteria and germs away from invading the body. Next is liquid barriers, like tears, saliva, and mucus. The latter lines your nasal passage through your lungs and traps germs before getting into your bloodstream, preventing you from getting an infection. The gut also acts as an important element in your immune system, as 70-80% consists of immunity cells. Lastly, your lymph system is also a crucial part in your immunity, as it detects foreign invader or infection in cell and removes it through lymph nodes. That is why your lymph nodes are often swollen when you're sick. The bone marrow, which is a part of your lymph system, also produces white blood cells, an important component in fighting foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses.
Things you can do to boost immunity
While eating a healthy diet is just one part of maintaining your immunity, living an overall healthy lifestyle is your best bet to get a solid immune system. Here are some simple ways you can incorporate to your daily life to put up a strong armor against bacteria and viruses.
1. Performing daily exercise
Exercise has been mentioned so many times in numerous health articles since its effectivity and array of benefits can't be denied. Some of them includes prevention of cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and diabetes. Exercise has also been shown to improve sleep quality and enhance immunity. If you haven't already, start doing routine exercise, like jogging, cycling, swimming or yoga for at least 30 minutes per day.
2. Get sunlight exposure
During this pandemic, a lot of health experts recommend increasing vitamin D intake through supplements or by exposure to sunlight. You can obtain this by doing exercise outdoors in the morning, between 6 - 9 am, as the UV levels are still considered safe for your skin. Besides, being outside exposes you to fresher air and a change of scenery after spending most of your time indoors.
3. Keep stress at bay
While a lot of people consider stress as a nomal part of life and might not seem that significant, it actually holds a major factor for overall health. Stress can affect appetite, disturb your sleep at night and suppress your hormones, indirectly affecting your level of immunity. Therefore, keep stress to a minimal by giving yourself a break, both physically and mentally, every now and then. If you're working a busy day job, learn to slow down and rest, as well as allocating your time more wisely in order to have a more relaxed state of mind.
4. Maintain gut health
It's no secret that your digestive system plays a huge part in determining your overall immunity. At least 70-80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut, along with trillions of bacteria that makes up for the gut microbiota. Your diet plays an important part in determining the strength of your immune system. Therefore, consumption of healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, as well as foods rich in probiotic can help balance good and bad bacteria in your gut, leading to better health and immunity.
5. Obtain enough sleep
Lastly, getting enough sleep is crucial to nurture immunity, as it gives the body a chance to rest and replaces old cells with new cells while replenishing your energy levels. Aim to get between 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Lesser duration of sleep or going to bed too late may cause vast health problems, including reduced production of infection-fighting cells and antibodies. Therefore, try to eliminate distractions before bed, like television and other digital devices. Eating not too close before bedtime as well as cutting off caffeine may also help your sleep better.