What Is Immunity?
Immunity Write For Us: Immunity is the mechanism used by the body as a response against foreign substances present in the body. It is triggered by the immune system, which acts through the action of defense cells and the production of antibodies (proteins produced in response to the presence of antigens), which will work against specific antigens.
Immunity is essential in the body’s defense against various diseases caused by chemical or biological agents, thus maintaining homeostasis. In addition to protecting and preventing the emergence of diseases, immunity can prevent an infection from progressing and acts to identify or destroy foreign, damaged, or mutated cells. Still, and in that way, immunity helps in cancer prevention.
Different Types Of Immunity
There are four types of immunity – 3 natural and an additional one:
Innate immunity – the one we are born with. This is our innate immune system. It varies in strength; some people are born with a healthy immune system, while some are born with a more compromised one.
Adaptive immunity – also called “acquired immunity.” The adaptive immune system protects us based on past “experience.” This is why, after being infected with something and getting better, we are not (at least for a while) susceptible to the same infection.
Passive immunity – Temporary immunity, also called “borrowed immunity.” This is an immunity from someone else, i.e., a child borrowing temporary immunity from the mother through breastfeeding.
Immunizations – we can make ourselves immune to something – typically by getting a vaccine.
How To Improve Immunity?
You can adopt several lifestyle factors and habits to improve immunity. Here are some practical ways to boost and support your immune system:
Healthy diet: A well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats is essential for a robust immune system. Ensure you consume various nutrient-dense foods to provide your body with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some specific immune-boosting foods include citrus fruits, berries, garlic, ginger, turmeric, spinach, yogurt, and almonds.
Regular exercise: Engaging in moderate-intensity activity regularly has been shown to enhance immune function. Exercise improves circulation, helps reduce stress, promotes good sleep, and contributes to overall well-being. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week.
Quality sleep: Sufficient and restful sleep is vital for maintaining a healthy immune system. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, establish a regular sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and ensure your sleep environment is comfortable and conducive to quality sleep.
Stress management: Chronic stress can weaken the immune system. Practice stress-management techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or engaging in hobbies and activities you enjoy. Find healthy ways to cope with stress and prioritize self-care.
Hydration: Stay adequately hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Water helps flush out toxins, supports overall bodily functions, and keeps mucous membranes moist, which helps prevent infections.
Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption: Smoking weakens the immune system and makes you more susceptible to infections. Excessive alcohol consumption can also impair immune function. Minimize or avoid these habits to support your immune system.
Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity and excessive weight can contribute to a weakened immune system. Strive to maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular physical activity.
Practice good hygiene: Follow good hygiene practices such as washing your hands regularly with soap and water, especially before eating or touching your face. Practice proper coughing and sneezing etiquette, and avoid close contact with individuals who are sick.
Consider vaccinations: Stay up-to-date with recommended vaccinations to protect yourself from vaccine-preventable diseases and boost your immune response.
It’s important to note that while these lifestyle factors can support and strengthen your immune system, they are not foolproof and cannot guarantee complete immunity against all infections. If you have specific health concerns or questions about your immune system, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional.
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