Immune system is a collection of special cells, organs, and substances that helps protect you from a lot of diseases, germs, and infections. It also helps protect you from cancer in some ways.
The image on the left is a man that depicts your immune system, and the green parts of the image represent bacteria, viruses, fungi, toxins, parasites, and pollution, which are called foreign invaders. In the image, you can see that the man fight against all these foreign invaders to keep them out of your body; and if in case these germs got into your body, your immune system will kill them to avoid harm and destruction to your body. That is exactly the role of your immune system – to protect you from all the foreign substances that may hurt you.
How Your Immune System Works
Your immune system works in various ways to help you maintain good health and body balance. It deals with the germs and microbes by:
- creating a barrier to prevent viruses and bacteria from entering your body
- detecting and eliminating the viruses and bacteria that managed to get into your body before they get a chance to reproduce
- eliminating the viruses and bacteria that managed to reproduce before they can start creating a health problem
- detecting unwanted (cancerous) cells and eliminating them
Most viruses and bacteria don't manage to get through your body's first line of defense, which are: your skin, eyes, nose, and mouth. However, for some that were able to escape and make it inside your body, your immune system will attack them to prevent viral and/or bacterial infections.
Disorders of the Immune System
The immune system serves as your guard against diseases and infections. When it fails to function properly, various diseases may occur such as Allergies and hypersensitivity to particular substances (Asthma). Other immune system disorders also include:
- Juvenile diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
- SCID (Severe Combined Immune Deficiency)
- CVID (Common Variable Immune Deficiency)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Grave's Disease
- Hashimoto's thyroiditis
- Myasthenia Gravis
Protecting Your Immune System
Because your immune system is your number one defense against infections and diseases, it is very important that you know how to protect it. The following are some of the ways to keep your immune system strong:
- Make sure that you get right amount of Vitamins A, C, and E, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, protein, calcium, iron, selenium, and antioxidants such as lycopene and beta-carotene.
- You may want to take natural health supplement products with complete vitamins and minerals to help boost your immune system.
- Get enough sleep as your body needs to rest especially when it's working to fight against diseases and infections.
- Exercise regularly (i.e. walking) to help stimulate your immune system's natural killer cells that fight against viruses and bacteria.
- As much as possible, avoid a lot of stress as chronic stress greatly reduces your immune system's effectiveness.
By changing your lifestyle a little bit, like avoiding too much alcohol, smoking, and drugs, and by eating a healthy diet (to avoid obesity), you may keep your immune system strong and healthy. You should not forget that you have to help your body to help you.