What is the immune system? How can you strengthen it?
The term “immunity” is normally seen more frequently on social media and TV broadcasts during the emergence of new communicable diseases, especially now during the Covid-19 pendamic. By May 26th the number of global infected cases had reached 5.5 million, with many patients having had severely different experiences. Some infected people barely showed symptoms, while others were in critical and life-threatening situations.
Many cases of death associated with Covid-19 have been people who have had compromised immune systems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. identified people over 65 years of age as having weak immune systems, and those who have underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, pneumonia, coronary artery disease, and diabetes as having higher risk of severe illness caused by Covid-19. Although age and many health conditions are out of people’s control, we can understand what the immune system is and how to boost it.
What is the immune system?
The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that defends the body against infection. The system is composed of white blood cells, antibodies, the complement system, spleen, bone marrow, and the thymus.
Strong immunity means the body will be able to attack bacteria and viruses, lessening the effects of severe illnesses. However, people with weakened immunity are more likely to contract a viral infection.
The immune system keeps a record of every microbe it has ever defeated, meaning it can recognize and fight off the microbe quickly in the case of reentry. For Covid-19, experts have not been able to determine whether our immune system can recognize and attack the virus after the virus has entered the body. The WHO has found that there is currently no proof that those recovered from Covid-19 are immune to reinfection by the unprecedented virus.
Helpful ways to strengthen the immune system
Immunity can be boosted through various steps, although each step requires patience and balance.
Below are 12 healthy-living strategies to naturally keep your immune system strong:
- Do not smoke
- Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and nuts
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get adequate sleep
- Eat well-cooked meat or food
- Wash hands regularly
- Try to minimize stress
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Reduce sugar intake
- Take a multivitamin and mineral supplements
- Drink plenty of water