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Power Up! Healthy Ways to Strengthen Immunity

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The innate immune system is what we were born with. It is the first line of defense and provides general protection to ward off non-specific harmful substances within minutes. The adaptive immune system makes antibodies to tackle specific pathogens.

The main defenders of the immune system are white blood cells, also known as leukocytes, which originate from bone marrow and migrate into the bloodstream and lymphatic system to perform the security work of immunity. Phagocytes, belonging to innate immune cells, are deployed in the first place when foreign pathogens enter the body. They then engulf unwelcome substances. Another cellular group, the lymphocytes, and phagocytes work together to assemble a more sophisticated guarding system.

Our gut also plays a crucial role in immunity. The more health-promoting microbes there are in the gut, the better the immune system functions. Therefore, the food we eat is an important factor in strengthening our immunity. Eating a plant-based diet is the most fundamental way to achieve optimal health. For example, foods like garlic, ginger, cabbage, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, echinacea, and oil of oregano, as well as grapefruit seed, myrrh and olive leaf extract are natural remedies that have antibiotic properties.

A review study published in the journal “Nutrients” found out that, “Vitamin C deficiency results in impaired immunity and higher susceptibility to infections.” A study published online in the journal “Brain, Behavior and Immunity” found that “just 20 minutes of moderate exercise stimulated the immune system, which, in turn, produced an anti-inflammatory cellular response.” When we are exposed to sunlight, the body will convert it to vitamin D, which is essential for proper immune function.

According to a review published in the journal “Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry,” chronic drinkers have lower levels of B-cells and T-cells, which are both important for coping with infections. As a result, habitual use of alcohol may hinder the normal functions of the immune system and slow down the time of recovery. While you make a switch to adopting a healthier lifestyle, please also keep in mind to protect our animal-people friends by ditching meat.
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