Among many systems of the human body, one of the most important is undoubtedly the immune system, which is responsible for our immunity and is a natural barrier protecting us against infections and diseases. Its importance is particularly felt now, in autumn and winter, when it is easiest to catch a cold, which when ignored and untreated can quickly become a cause of much more serious diseases. Unfortunately, our immune system does not always work as we would like it to, so it is so important to strengthen it properly, and the best way to do it is to use natural, homemade methods already known to our Mums or Grandmothers. Under no circumstances should this be neglected, the immunity changes throughout life and the current level of its effectiveness depends solely on us.
- 1 Immunological (immune) system – what is it actually and what is its significance for our health
- 2 What factors are responsible for the impairment of the immune system?
- 3 Diseases and other ailments resulting from a reduction in the body’s resistance
- 4 How to strengthen your immune system with natural, homemade methods
Immunological (immune) system – what is it actually and what is its significance for our health
Defining the concept of the immune system in the most comprehensible way even for laymen, one can say that these are all elements of our organism which are directly responsible for protection against various factors posing a threat to it. When we talk about elements, we mean, of course, organs, cells and tissues that together form a complex defence mechanism that prevents the development of diseases that threaten health. Our body in the course of evolution has developed a multi-level protection, which consists of 4 closely cooperating “lines of defence”, and we divide them into:
- barrier no. 1, whose most important element is the skin and its products, such as hair or eyelashes, preventing larger harmful factors from penetrating our body,
- barrier no. 2, which includes, among others, mucous membranes, lining the respiratory tract or walls of the digestive system, intestines and stomach, secreting mucus with bactericidal, antifungal and antiviral properties;
- barrier No. 3, which includes enzymes and other body secretions, full of specialised cells, called feeding cells, phagocytes produced primarily in lymph nodes. Their action can be safely compared to a vacuum cleaner, which absorbs bacteria that threaten us, e.g. bacteria, which is surrounded by phagocytes and is digested by them without leaving any trace;
- barrier 4, which contains our strongest antibodies, which are undoubtedly white blood cells, also known as lymphocytes. They enter the action in the most unfavourable situations, when the organism has already been infected with one of the pathogens, as a result of which an inflammation threatening health has developed. Lymphocytes attack the opponent with their own produced antibodies, successive proteins differentiated according to the type of infection being fought.
The immune system is also characterized by an extremely complex structure, being to some extent evenly distributed in different parts of the body, and nature itself took care to ensure that the body reacts rapidly to anything that may threaten it at any given time. Antibodies, including lymphocytes, phagocytes and monocytes, are found, among others, in lymph nodes, intestines, spleen, thymus and other internal organs, and especially in bone marrow. It specialises in the production of various types of proteins that move freely throughout the body with blood and lymph, locating all potential sources of danger. Such a high level of protection should always be guaranteed, but sometimes the reality is no longer so rosy, so we must take care of the proper functioning of this mechanism ourselves, and we must know how to strengthen the immunity of the body, because even the slightest negligence has serious health consequences.
What factors are responsible for the impairment of the immune system?
We already know how important the immune system is, but we still do not know what can cause the slightest disruption to its proper functioning. As we have already mentioned, it is a natural line of defence for the body, a series of interconnected, interdependent barriers that can be weakened by the following factors:
- taking large amounts of antibiotics, which doctors attribute to all possible diseases, which is often a serious mistake, because many of them can be cured in a different, milder way. The use of constantly strong drugs results not only in immunization of the body to their effects, but also in gradual weakening of the immune system. Similar effects are also caused by hormonal drugs, steroids or abuse of popular stimulants, especially alcohol and cigarette smoking;
- improper diet, the cause not only of growing overweight or obesity, but also having a direct, in this case negative impact on our immune system. The greatest havoc is caused by eating fatty, hard-to-grasp foods that interfere with the digestion and functioning of many important internal organs, including those responsible for the production of the antibodies mentioned above. That is why it is so important to consume products that accelerate this process, full of nutrients, whose positive effects will be felt by the entire body at the same time;
- unhygienic lifestyle, lack of proper care for personal hygiene, which immediately increases the susceptibility to various types of infections, which in this case can occur extremely often. On the other hand, living in too sterile conditions, even obsessive paying attention to our own cleanliness and the environment in which we live, may bring exactly the same effects. This is because we are unable to correctly shape our natural resistance, thus making us more susceptible to almost all, external pathogenic factors. It is also worth paying attention to cosmetics and household chemistry used at home, some of which may contain harmful ingredients that negatively affect the work of the immune system;
- strong stress, probably already an integral part of our lives, one of the most important, but usually underestimated symptoms of which is just an almost immediate decrease in immunity. States of nervous tension, disrupting the functioning of virtually the entire body, also open the way to diseases and infections that threaten it.
Diseases and other ailments resulting from a reduction in the body’s resistance
As you can see from the above examples, most of the causes of immune deficiency are our own fault and it depends only on us whether we are able to strengthen it properly. This is an issue that should not be underestimated in any way, unless we want to expose our bodies to such burdensome ailments as..:
- recurring infections, with time more and more difficult to cure. These are usually upper or lower respiratory tract colds, but equally often they affect the digestive tract, manifesting themselves as constipations or diarrhoea. Sometimes the infection also reaches the urinary tract, gums and can cause serious parasitic, fungal or bacterial infections;
- the feeling of constant tiredness, lack of energy not only for work or sport, but even to perform seemingly ordinary, everyday activities. We should be particularly worried about the situation when these symptoms appear even with the right amount of rest during the day and do not disappear for a long time;
- susceptibility to allergies, particularly increased during the pollen season of many plants responsible for emerging symptoms of this disease. Increasing tearing of the eyes, breathing problems or acne changes appearing on the skin, herpes or particularly troublesome in the treatment of hives, are the effect of reducing the production of appropriate antibodies. Skin problems during the period of weakened immunity are also manifested by slower wound healing, which may cause further serious infections;
- excessive appetite, over which it is sometimes difficult to control, constant desire to eat a specific, specific group of foods such as sweets, which means that the body lacks certain groups of necessary nutrients.
How to strengthen your immune system with natural, homemade methods
When we notice at least one of the symptoms of weakened immunity in our body, we immediately ask ourselves how we can effectively counteract it. There are many methods we can use, but our grandmothers already knew how to strengthen the immune system with home-made, natural and completely safe methods. Of course, you can immediately reach for strong pharmacological agents or dietary supplements that have an equally intense effect on our body, but when you take them, you have to take into account the possible side effects of their effects. They are sometimes so troublesome, that it is better to rely on whatever e.g. folklore medicine brings, and the positive outcomes that we accomplish for sure are going to be the same. There are several effective ways to fully immunize your body before the coming winter, which will allow us to survive without any infections. It is enough to follow certain rules, their effectiveness will surely be confirmed by doctors and specialists, and the most important is this:
1. an appropriate, well-balanced, easily digestible and healthy diet
Our way of life should definitely be dominated by dishes composed of healthy ingredients, full of vitamins, minerals and other equally valuable nutrients. Everything that is hard to digest, oily and excessively burdensome for the digestive system should be eliminated, e.g. red pork meat should be replaced by easily digestible poultry or fish. In a diet it is worth to take care of large amounts of vitamin C, which is definitely the most important from the point of view of our immunity. Equally important are vitamins from group A, B and vitamin E, thanks to which the immune system will always work at its peak and we will not have to take influenza vaccines, for example, whose effectiveness is still the subject of much scientific discussion. When composing a daily menu, it is worth taking care to include in it, apart from vegetables and fruits, such products as..:
- Fats of plant origin, preferably omega-3, which are beneficial for the organism and can be derived from rapeseed oil or olive oil;
- Honey, which can be used to replace the sugar used to sweeten tea, but of course with its amount also should not be exaggerated. In appropriate portions it provides us with many ingredients improving the functioning of the immune system, functioning of many important organs and body systems, headed by the heart and cardiovascular system;
- legumes and nuts, definitely the richest source of minerals needed to maintain healthy bones and joints and immunity. They contain large amounts of zinc, iron, copper, manganese and a whole range of vitamins, without which we cannot resist autumn and winter infections;
- natural probiotics, which primarily care about the proper functioning of the digestive system, and yet our intestines also produce important antibodies. Therefore, in order to support the processes of their production it is worth consuming dairy products, drinking milk, eating yoghurts, but only natural ones, without the addition of artificial sweeteners, or white, lean cottage cheese.
Let’s also follow the right times for these healthy meals, and the most important thing throughout the day is breakfast, which gives us strength for an active day.
2. a healthy lifestyle combined with a high daily dose of physical activity
Daily physical activity and outdoor activities are not only the basis for any effective weight loss treatment, but also for a long period of full health and resilience until late old age. Sitting at home all the time, we are not accustomed to changing weather conditions and when we go outside, we almost immediately fall victim to infection. So it is worth to harden your body properly, maybe not necessarily immediately bathing in the ice hole, but daily walks are certainly a good idea. Remember, however, to dress according to the weather, not too thick and not too thin, and the best solution is to dress for the so-called onion. If the temperature rises, you can take off a layer of clothing and reapply it if it falls sharply. With time we will manage to go from walking to practicing some sport, in unfavorable weather it is a good idea to go to the swimming pool, and swimming will have a great impact on increasing our physical condition, helping not only to strengthen immunity, but also cure such as spinal diseases. After physical exercise, we should also take care of the proper portion of rest, which is based on at least 7 – 8 hours of sleep per day.
3. natural herbal treatments effectively protecting against diseases
Although the progress in medicine is so rapid that it is difficult to keep up with it, when looking for an answer to the question of how to strengthen immunity without negative consequences for the body, it is worth betting on the strength of herbs. Their widespread use, including as an important component of many medicines and medical preparations, cannot be ignored, and they have been used in natural medicine for thousands of years. Appropriate species also have a great influence on the state of the immune system, quickly removing all disorders existing in it, so it is worth introducing extracts from herbs, both native and exotic, to your diet. As research has shown, increasing the level of our immunity is most conducive:
- lime and its infusions are characterised by a number of medicinal properties resulting from their high content of vitamin C, mineral salts, organic acids, flavonoids and phytosterols. Thanks to this, lime not only strengthens immunity, but also has diuretic properties, helps to cleanse the body of toxins, regulates the functioning of the digestive system, and is also used as a cold remedy. It shows high effectiveness in alleviating such symptoms as cough, rhinitis or accompanying high fever;
- Nettle, commonly used for many ailments, works well both in the treatment of acne and in the suppression of accelerated alopecia. As we have already mentioned many times on this page, nettle contains probably the largest amount of nutrients among all the herbs growing in our country. These are vitamins: A, B2 (riboflavin), B5 (pantothenic acid), C, K, and minerals: magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, sulphur, potassium, iron, silicon and iodine. They are also supported by tannins, organic acids, essential oils and chlorophyll, so we can count on anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, eliminating from the body all dangerous microorganisms and toxins that threaten its health;
- Ginger, one of the most effective natural remedies used to treat colds, its disinfecting and anti-inflammatory properties relieve sore throat, and hot tea with ginger helps to cough and warm up, thus supporting and restoring our weakened immune system;
- Ginseng root, a legendary plant, known, valued and widely used in natural Eastern medicine for 4000 years. A lot of unique active ingredients contained in it, having anti-inflammatory, antiviral and even anticancer effects, are responsible for its health properties. Ginseng root extract helps not only to strengthen immunity, it also lowers the level of “bad” cholesterol in the blood, significantly improves our physical and mental capabilities, alleviating the negative effects of strong stress.
I am 31 years old and I am passionate about everything associated with a healthy lifestyle. I try to live according to its principles, and I want to share my experiences with you on this blog. You can find here the necessary information about slimming diets that give the best results in the shortest time, and also reviews of dietary supplements supporting this process, in order to help you choose the most effective ones. I am also waiting for your comments, which certainly will not remain unanswered.