In every war, soldiers are tasked to fight and defeat their enemies. They need to be resilient and get enough supplies of food and weapons to protect them to the end. Soldiers who lose their strength and run out of ammunition are usually vulnerable to attacks from their enemies. As soldiers, our immune system is a set of organs and vessel systems that help fight disease-causing organisms.
The body has both internal and external protective barriers. The internal barrier consists of the white blood cells and antibodies while the external surface comprises the skin and the mucous layers in the body. These mucous membranes produce protective fluids that help in killing germs.
When one comes into contact with bacteria or viruses, the skin serves as the first barrier that prevents these organisms from getting into the bloodstream. When proper hygiene such as hand washing is practiced; these pathogens get eliminated. In situations where hand washing is not practiced and the germ is being introduced into the eyes, nose, or mouth; there are equally potent barriers, in this case; tear, mucus, and saliva that can help to eradicate these disease causing organisms.
In the worst-case scenario, if the germ happens to get into the body, there are some protective agents such as; stomach acid, normal flora or white blood cells that can also fight to protect the body against these organisms. The body puts in so much effort in combating disease-causing organisms and toxins; hence it would be in our interest to equip our immune system.
There are many ways to boost the immune system. However, six ways of doing it would be explored in this article. First, good hygiene is a great way of equipping the immune system. Good hygiene such as the washing of hands with soap and water keeps bacteria and viruses away from contaminating the body.
Also, bathing helps to protect the body from pathogens that would have found themselves in our bodies if they were not checked. Good hygiene usually reduces the pathogen load; hence helping our bodies to get sensitized to germs in smaller quantities that the body can conveniently fight. In contrast, the lack of hygiene makes the body susceptible to an overload of germs which can overwhelm the body and cause diseases.
Another great way of boosting the immune system is to exercise. Exercise is one of the ways to keep healthy. It helps us keep in shape and also helps in reducing stress that could compromise our immune system.
Besides, a study by Bollinger et al. (2010) confirmed that sleep was essential in promoting immunity and that a lack or restriction could alter immune function. Clearly, getting enough rest has been shown to boost the immune system.
Furthermore, some nutrients in some herbs and foods have been found to enhance the immune system. Fruit and vegetables like lime, lemon, oranges, broccoli, green tea, ginger, kontonmire (coco-yam leaves), spinach, onion; and other foods like almonds, oats, and mushrooms also boost the immune system. In a study by Naik et al. (2010), they identified that some herbs were important for daily maintenance of the immune system. Therefore, eating balanced meals is a sure way to be nourished and also enhance your immune system.
Aside from performing a vital function in development and metabolism, some supplements, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals play an important role in boosting the immune system. Vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin D, and minerals like zinc have very strong immune-boosting activity. Most of these supplements can be found in the pharmacy and they surely help in enhancing one’s immunity.
Research about alcohol intake and immunity indicated that even acute or moderate alcohol intake can affect one’s immunity by decreasing it. In another study, it was noted that though effects of alcohol on the immune function was debatable, they found out that high doses of alcohol intake can directly suppress a wide range of immune responses and are connected with an increased occurrence of several infectious diseases; hence alcohol intake should be limited.
Vaccination is another way of boosting the immune system. Sometimes certain disease-causing organisms are extremely contagious and there is a need to prevent one from contracting it. In an instance where a pregnant woman with hepatitis B goes into labor, it is prudent to give vaccines to the unborn child to prevent transmission to the baby. In children, vaccines against chickenpox and measles have been given for decades to protect children from getting these diseases.
War with disease-causing organisms is a daily one and it is important to be equipped at all times to protect ourselves from being victims to diseases. Boosting the immune system is like equipping body soldiers for victory.