The Immune System: How to take care of your body and mind to prevent the spread of COVID-19
Our Immune System is a set of cells, molecules and tissues in charge of protecting us against the permanent invasion of pathogens such as parasites, bacteria, viruses, the formation of cancerous tumors and other environmental attacks (for example, allergies, etc). In other words, it is body´s natural defense against infections through a well-organized reaction that consists of attacking and destroying the infectious organisms that invade it.
Its components – but not the only ones- are all white blood cells, mainly lymphocytes, capable of distinguishing what is our own and what is foreign to our body. Tissues such as the thymus, the bone marrow, the spleen and the lymphatic system also form an important part of this system.
From a molecular point of view, the best known components of our immune system are antibodies with dozens of components called cytokines, chemokine, defensing, etc. All these elements interact forming an extensive and intricate network that turns our immune systems together with the nervous system into the most complex in the body.
The disorders of the immune system that we can suffer are numerous and diverse, but we can summarize them into two large groups:
Defects that impede the total or partial functioning of the immune system. They are the so-called immunodeficiency’s. In extreme cases this translates into serious and repeated infections that put our lives at serious risk.
Other diseases that affect the immune system correspond to a group in which the immune system works, but very uncoordinatedly, causing damage to the tissues of the person suffering from them. This includes allergies, allergic asthma and autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system (aggressive and destructive by nature) is confused and reacts by destroying its own tissues, causing diseases such as type I diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematous, etc.
How can we take care and strengthen our Immune System?
Any decrease or alteration of the defenses makes us susceptible to contracting diseases, ranging from a common cold or an allergic reaction, to diseases that put our quality of life at risk or strongly decrease, such as autoimmune diseases and cancer.
The need to take care of the Immune System arises from the moment we are born. Newborns’ immune system mature very slowly. So one of the main functions of breast milk (the first healthy, perfect and free nutrient) is to transfer natural defenses such as maternal and other protective substances.
Sleeping well, taking care of our weight and a healthy diet is necessary to maintain a healthy immune system as well as the consumption of fruits and vegetables such as citrus, red grapes, cherries, strawberries, blackberries, and berries in general and vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, cabbages, among others. These are rich in vitamins, have great antioxidant power and at the same time strengthen and are directly related to the activities of the immune system. Other super foods are also garlic, green tea, honey, and nuts like walnuts that help boost the immune system. Probiotics (made up of selected, live, non-pathogenic microbes) are stimulators and protectors of the immune system.
Stress and the Immune System: The relationship between mind and body
Not only food is important. We must pay great attention to our nervous system if we want to fully protect the immune system, it is recommended to use relaxation techniques (getting enough sleep, tai chi, cultivating laughter, meditation) in order to manage the stress so common in our days. In the face of stress, the body releases corticosteroids (among many other mediators) and the excess of corticosteroids acts as an immunosuppressant that slows down and prevents the normal functioning of the immune system, also favoring allergic manifestations and worsening asthma. The same occurs when you sleep less hours than necessary, hormonal cycles are modified which leads to a greater secretion of cortisol.
Other natural and simple ways to help to take care of our immune system are the practice of activities such as running, walking and in general all kinds of physical exercise.
Exercise among many other beneficial effects has been shown to help release fewer corticosteroids, contributing to a more stable and healthy immune system, making clear that the connection between mind and body is clear.
If you want to receive more information about taking care of your inmune System to prevent spread of COVID-19, you can contact us here.
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