Now that winter is approaching, suddenly everyone is running around with flu and colds. Paying attention to your resistance, is the frequently heard advice. But how exactly do you do that, strengthen your immune system ? Do you have to work an orange every day, or can you improve your resistance in other ways?
In today’s blog, we explain how your body defends against diseases and damage. And of course we give you practical tips with which you can help the defense yourself!
How does your immune system work?
Your immune system consists, in short, of all the mechanisms that your body uses to protect itself. It is used for all kinds of threats – not just viruses and bacteria, but also fungi, parasites, toxins, and so on. That means it has to be very versatile, and therefore very complex!
We can hardly discuss the entire immune system here, but a number of important components are:
1. Physical barrier.
The physical barrier is largely formed by your skin. This ensures that harmful substances from outside can not enter your body. Your mucous membranes are also part of the physical barrier. These filters include the air you breathe and the food you eat, and fish out the first harmful substances.
2. White blood cells
The general defense is a kind of cleaning system in your body. This task is largely performed from white blood cells. They develop into a kind of ‘vacuum cleaners’ that remove foreign substances. It is not only about bacteria, but also about damaged and dead cells.
However, there are white blood cells that are more specific to certain disease processors. These are the so-called lymphocytes. Every lymphocyte can recognize one specific type of disease processors. Once you have been in contact with a disease, your body can react to it much faster the next time! That is also the reason that vaccines work so well.
Finally, there are still antioxidants . This is a collective name for all kinds of substances that counteract free radicals : substances that damage your cells. You get free radicals through food and polluted air inside, but they also naturally occur in your body. Thanks to antioxidants, effects such as inflammation and unrestrained cell growth are prevented.
Immune system strengthening Tips
A complex system, therefore, that you can not turn on or off at the touch of a button. Yet strengthening your immune system is possible! We list below five important tips that help you advance your resistance in the winter.
1. Sleep well enough
Just when you sleep, your immune system is activated. After all, your body does not have to deal with other tasks and can focus entirely on clearing and repairing. However, it is important that you also sleep long and well enough. Stress and fatigue are actually the best ways to weaken your immune system … So go for about eight hours of qualitative sleep per day!
2. Drink enough
Strengthening your immune system is not possible without sufficient fluid in your body. Many of the functions described above need moisture to absorb and remove pathogens. Conversely, healthy nutrients can not be transported properly if you drink too little. So go for those 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day – and a little more as your sport.
3. Strengthen your intestinal flora
The bacteria in your intestines are also important to keep your body healthy. They respond to many unhealthy substances that you ingest through your food. The best way to keep your intestinal flora healthy is by eating probiotic foods. These are mainly fermented products, which release substances where your healthy intestinal bacteria grow well. A number of healthy probiotics are: