The immune system is your body’s natural defense system. It is an intricate network of cells, tissues and organs that band together to defend your body against invaders, which are called antigens. Antigens can include – bacteria, viruses or parasites – all which have the potential to make us sick.
The immune system’s job is to create a barrier that stops antigens from entering the body. If an antigen happens to slip by, the immune system produces white blood cells that attack and destroy it before it can reproduce. If the antigen has already reproduced, your immune system will rev up even more.
When working properly, the immune system is capable of keeping health problems at bay. This can range from the common cold to serious illnesses such as cancer. The immune system can recognize millions of different antigens and can produce what it needs to eradicate nearly all of them.
Our bodies are pretty amazing machines on their own, but our lifestyle choices play a key role in how well (or not) our immune systems are functioning. It may seem obvious, but taking care of yourself before you get sick is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Washing your hands often, getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet are effective ways of protecting yourself against viruses and other germs.
However, other factors in your life could be compromising your body’s ability to protect itself. How you spend your free time, your stress levels, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, how much physical activity you get and even the air you breathe can take a toll on your immune system.
Your diet plays a tremendous role in immune function. Ideally, it should consist of whole plant foods and healthy fats, with limited added sugars. Proper hydration is also important.
In addition, the following foods are known for their immune boosting properties. Try to incorporate them into your diet as much as you can for optimal immune health:
- Citrus fruits
- Red bell peppers
- Sunflower seeds
- Green tea
Did you know that the microorganisms residing in your gut comprise more than 75% of the immune system? Keeping your gut healthy is imperative to maintaining a heathy immune system. The easiest way to accomplish this is by eating a diverse range of healthy foods – including those with generous amounts of fiber. You can also incorporate fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut or kombucha and supplement with a high-quality probiotic daily.
Supplementation is another great way to help your body keep its immune system strong. These are the top recommendations of what you should be taking right now because they are especially targeted for respiratory health.
Vitamin C contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of the immune system. It helps encourage the production of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, which help protect the body against infection. Vitamin C also helps these white blood cells function more effectively while protecting them from damage by potentially harmful molecules, such as free radicals.
Vitamin C is an essential part of the skin’s defense system. It’s actively transported to the skin, where it can act as an antioxidant and help strengthen the skin’s barriers. Low Vitamin C levels have been linked to poor health outcomes. For example, people who have pneumonia tend to have lower vitamin C levels, and vitamin C supplements have been shown to shorten illness recovery time.
Zinc is vital to our immune system function. It is responsible for the activity of more than 300 different enzymes in our body. Zinc helps control infections by slowing the immune response in a way that prevents out-of-control inflammation. People who are zinc deficient are more susceptible to infection. Zinc is an essential mineral that our body cannot make itself. This means we must obtain it from our diet and/or supplements.
EGCG is categorized as a flavonoid polyphenol, a compound typically found in plants. Polyphenols can help promote antioxidant processes in the body.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a metabolite of the Sulphur-containing amino acid cysteine. NAC stimulates the biosynthesis of glutathione, a key antioxidant produced in the body. Glutathione plays an important role in protecting the body against oxidative stress and supporting healthy liver detoxification processes.
Quercetin is a polyphenolic flavonoid substance present in a variety of plant foods. Quercetin helps protect cells from harmful free radicals. Preclinical studies demonstrate that quercetin affects immunity by acting on leukocytes and other immune cells.
You can now find all of these immune-boosting ingredients combined in one supplement. Immune Active provides high potency vitamin C and zinc and features quercetin, NAC, and EGCG to help support a healthy immune response and promote antioxidant processes. Call us at (281) 894-9992 for curbside pickup at the spa or order from our online store www.beclinicalspa.com/shop. Stay healthy everyone!