What is the Immune system?

Lots of people don’t understand what the immune system is.  The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins which play a vital role in our health and well-being. The immune system protects our body from colds, flues, infections and diseases. It does this by protecting our body from outside invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and toxins which are chemicals produced by microbes. This system is made up of different organs, cells, and proteins that all work together.

How does your immune system work?

The system is a complex network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to defend our body against invaders. A healthy immune system protects us by first creating a barrier that stops those invaders or antigens, from entering the body. If the barriers fail, the immune system produces white blood cells and other chemicals and proteins that attack and destroy these foreign invaders.

The main parts of the immune system are: white blood cells, antibodies, the complement system, the lymphatic system, the spleen, the thymus and the bone marrow. These parts of your immune system actively fight infection. Abnormalities in the immune system can lead to allergic diseases, immune-deficiencies and auto-immune disorders.

Why is your immune system important?

Your immune system acts as a defence force to protect your body against germs or invaders. The immune system keeps a record of every germ or invader it has ever defeated so it can recognise and destroy the microbe or invader quickly if it enters the body again.

The invaders can include bacteria, viruses, parasites and even fungi. All these invaders have the potential to invade our body and make us sick. They are everywhere – in our homes, offices, shops and backyards.

Could your lifestyle habits be influencing your immune system?

We all have habitual eating habits we’ve developed over time.  Our habits are influenced by our environment. In some cases, these habitual actions might not benefit our immune system.

Have you ever experienced the following?

  • Feeling under the weather
  • Under a lot of stress
  • No time to prepare healthy meals
  • No time to exercise
  • Not sleeping enough

Besides the immune system, the body has several other ways to defend itself against foreign invaders 

  • Skin – a waterproof barrier that secretes oil with bacteria-killing properties
  • Lungs – mucous in the lungs or phlegm, traps foreign particles and small hairs called cilia, that wave the mucous upwards so it can be coughed out
  • Digestive tract – the mucous lining contains antibodies and the acid in the stomach can kill most microbes
  • Other defences – body fluids like skin oil, saliva and tears contain anti-bacterial enzymes that help reduce the risk of infection. The constant flushing of the urinary tract and the bowel also helps

If we have these defence mechanisms, why do we still become sick?

Our immune system does an incredible job of defending us against disease-causing micro-organisms or invaders. However, sometimes it fails and a germ invades successfully and makes us sick.

How can you boost your immune system?

For the immune system to function well, it requires balance and harmony.

The best thing you can do to help boost your immune system is to adopt healthy eating and lifestyle habits. This is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system working properly. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when you adopt healthy eating and lifestyle habits.

Habits you can change or include to boost your immune system

  • Stop smoking and avoid second-hand smoke; this includes vaping and hubbly
  • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables and eat the majority of your fruits and vegetable raw
  • Avoid highly processed foods
  • Include pre and probiotic rich foods
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Take steps to avoid infection – wash your hands frequently and practice good food hygiene
  • Decrease and manage stress

Which Supplements can I take to boost my immunity especially during Covid-19?

  • We suggest your start with a scoop of good quality pure Bovine or Marine Collagen in your morning coffee, tea or juice
  • After breakfast, take Metagenics or Medford D3 5000, any Vit C 1000, Zinc and a good Pro-biotic
  • Pumpkin seeds are loaded with Zinc, so it’s an excellent immune-boosting snack
  • If you battle to sleep, take one or two Magnesium capsules before bedtime

If having healthy eating & lifestyle habits were so easy, why doesn’t everyone do it?

This is because our brain is in automatic mode of doing and following the one way it has been habitually exposed to. Trying to change, disrupts the balance and you brain will always move back to the more familiar actions, because it is easier.

Therefore, you need to look at changing one habit at a time instead of changing them all at once. Your brain and body adjust to this better and this will ensure that you achieve the habit and make is sustainable. So try and change one habit at a time!

Imagine if our lives consisted of healthy eating habits?! Could we be healthier and happier?

We encourage you to contact your nearest dietician to find out more about changing your habits – one habit at a time – and by doing this, you will be strengthening your immune system!

For more information and contact details for Tanya Alberts, Dietician at
TYHN – Transform Your Health Network 
please contact info@thegoddessfactor.co.za  
Phone or WhatsApp us @ 063 292 8968