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:
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.