Who loves apples!? These delicious little morcels, as it turns out, according to the findings from a study performed by the University of Michigan, don't really keep the Doctor away as the Welsh from 1866 would have you believe. The correlation of Apples and good health was found to be due to those eating apples generally having better all around nutrition. Which is really where an optimised immune system is forged with a few other things like managing stress, moving, getting proper sleep.
Check out our Blog – 6 Habits to Reduce Stress and Boost the Immune System
As our barometer for health and optimum performance, a super immune system is something we should all be striving for. But often times, we take this spectacular bodily system for granted, or are unwittingly steaming ahead, with this thing called life, while it works its magic to keep us safe. I for one, LOVE full steam ahead, with my plate full to the brim I'm focused and get all the things done.
However sometimes, this lifestyle comes at a cost. If at the same time we aren't, exercising, staying nourished and managing any excess stress, we run the risk of compromising the function of the immune system, making us more susceptible to all kinds of bugs, inflammation, pain, degeneration, depression and reduced quality of life – and nobody wants any of that.
We've all been there, I know I have. The thing I've learn't (with years of overdoing it) is the importance of taking a moment for "me", not in a narcissistic way, but just making sure that i put the "symbolic oxygen mask" on myself first. Because without it, i'm potentially no good to myself or anyone else.
The importance of this moment and action always took me back to the nourishment of the whole by keeping a keen eye on the Immune system.
The Immune system is the bodies defence against invaders (external and internal), our own personal army with divisions that work together, supporting each other as they combat unwanted intruders and the bodies waste.
Our first line of defence is called the Innate immune system. This is made up of our external physical defences in the form of our skin, mucous membranes and some internal defences such as inflammation, fever, anti-microbial substances, natural killer cells and phagocytes (they eat microbes and cell debris - pretty cool).
Our second line of defence is our adaptive immune system, which comprises of cells that defend against pathogens by initiating an immune response. Throughout life, as you’re exposed to more invaders (pathogens) the adaptive immune system learns to recognise the features of a pathogen and the next time responds more quickly, and you become more resilient.
Throughout the body all systems at some point or another are working to supporting each other to keep the body healthy and maintain homeostasis (balanced). Along with the nervous system (our own internal postal system sending messages / feedback around the body), the immune system is key to maintaining homeostasis by defending the body from being compromised. The following organs and systems are those directly responsible and related to a healthy Immune system:
The Lymphatic System
A network of vessels that transport the lymph fluid (similar to blood) that contains infection fighting white blood cells. The lymphatic system also contains organs and structures that filter toxins, waste and unwanted debris.
White Blood Cells (WBC / Leukocytes)
Leukocytes refer to all WBC involved in Innate and Adaptive Immunity.
A sub group called Lymphocytes (found mainly in the lymphatic system) are those involved only in adaptive immunity, these guys seek and destroy pathogens (antigens) and there are 3 main types:
This little guy stores white blood cells, filters blood, recycles old blood cells and helps fight certain bacteria.
The Respiratory System
Airways of the respiratory system are coated in mucous which captures pathogens and particles that we don’t really want getting in. (As well as the obvious filtering and provision of oxygen for all cells in the body to function).
The Integumentary System (the skin)
The skin is the bodes largest organ, serving as a barrier to the outside and keeping all our insides, inside. It also contains an estimated 20billion T-cells (lymphocytes), which control skin microbes and send feedback to the the immune system.
The Digestive System / Gastrointestinal Tract / Gut
60% of the immune system resides in the GALT (gut associated lymphoid tissue) with the intestines lined with mast cells, which are immune cells that activate and coordinate the nerves system and immune systems response. The Gut also contains a multitude of bacteria that supports the regulation of inflammation, helps kill bad bacteria and perpetuate good bacteria, it has a pH balance that creates a barrier against microbes, it fights pathogens and it produces anti-microbial substances - not to mention it makes around 90% of the bodies serotonin (a neurotransmitter that impacts mood).
If you're eating all the right things and want an inexpensive easy way to boost your immune system a little further, then vitamins can be a great option. We recommend the following top 3:
*NOTE We recommend that you have regular blood tests, either annually or every 6 months to determine you levels of things like Cholesterol, Vitamin D and Zinc. This will prevent overdoing it or being deficient, and enable you to better understand and manage your health.
These plants have been shown to help modulate and enhance the immune system as well as potentially improve the white blood cells NK (natural killer) cell response to infection and help to reduce inflammation.
Let us know how you go, if you have any questions or need a referral to a fabulous Naturopath, Ayurveda Practitioner, Fitness Guru or Sleep Health expert, we are here to help! As always, Take Care, Stay Safe, Stay Positive and Love Life.
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"Let Food be your first Medicine and Kitchen be your first Pharmacy."