• Xiaoying or Elizabeth Yuan

How Your Immune System Protects Your Health

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Your body is protected by a complex, coordinated force of cells and systems:

A healthy, functional immune system is a complex machine. It contains many layers, subsystems, tissues, organs, and processes.


The first layer of defense:

Barriers –


o Skin-a good waterproof physical barriers protects you against pathogens o Upper respiratory tract-move potentially harmful material away from your lungs o Gut barrier-blocks absorption of possibly harmful substances o Mucus-an effective trap for invaders, produced by membranes throughout your body; the thick, gluey substance is your body’s sticky trap that grab microbes and not let them go.


Other chemical barriers: tears, saliva, stomach acid, and protective chemicals produced inside of cells and in your blood.


Innate Immune System-the non-specific immune system, provides general protection, destroying any microbes that enter your body.


Adaptive Immunity-an immunity database: after encountering a specific pathogen, you have immune cells can recall the best way to destroy it. That’s why it’s referred to as specific or acquired immunity.

Healthy immune function is a whole-body effort, and maintaining it takes a holistic approach. Here’s a few things that can help:

  • Get at least seven hours of sleep a night—and avoid pulling any all-nighters.

  • Exercise regularly to promote memory cells, enhance skin immunity, and mobilize immune cells.

  • Minimize stress as much as possible or practice healthy coping strategies, like exercise.

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins to provide essential micro- and macronutrients and important phytonutrients. A healthy diet (that includes healthy amounts of fiber) will also provide your microbiome with what it needs to maintain good gut barrier function.

  • Practice good hygiene, including frequent handwashing, so your body doesn’t have to deal with as many pathogens in the first place.

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