During certain times of the year we let our guard down and modify our routines: we change meal times, sleep times, etc. This type of behavior tests our defensive mechanisms, thereby compromising our state of health. On the other hand, the environment poses a continuous challenge to our defenses: pollution, toxic chemicals, bacteria, viruses and fungi add stress to the immune system.
There are many factors that can alter our defenses; some will not depend on us, since they are internal factors (autoimmune diseases, seasonal changes, extreme ages of life …), but there are other external factors on which we can act.
Surely, among the following examples we all recognize at least a couple of enemies of the immune system present in our daily lives: an unbalanced diet, tobacco smoke, caffeine, environmental pollution, stress, sedentary lifestyle, excess physical exercise , cause our body and immune system to weaken, facilitating the spread of infections despite the main vaccines (colds, flu, cystitis, etc.) and their longer duration.
Diet is a very important factor for the immune system. If it is inadequate or insufficient, there is a drop in the defenses; if balanced, it keeps them fit or strengthens them.
When should we suspect that our defenses are low?
There are symptoms that can give us clues, such as pupae on the lips, tiredness “higher than usual”, wounds that take time to heal, muscle aches without having practiced exercise and brittle hair.
The end of the summer holidays is a good time to help our immune system cope with the pathogens that attack it. Good strategies to increase natural immunity can be found in diet and physical exercise.
Diet is a very important factor for the immune system. There is a direct relationship between the two, since if it is inadequate or insufficient there is a drop in defenses, and conversely, if it is balanced and complete, it helps keep them in shape or even strengthens them.
By following some simple food tips, we will be energized to face the return to work, and in the case of children, the return to school. Let’s not forget that you have to eat everything: a varied diet with an adequate proportion of all the nutrients (fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals) guarantees an internal balance that at the same time serves as a protective shield.
High fat diets reduce the immune response; However, it is not only a matter of quantity, since the origin of the fats that we introduce into our diet is also important. It is convenient to include monounsaturated fats, present in blue fish, nuts, olive oil, sunflower or soy. Regularly consuming fermented dairy products (yogurt, kefir) contributes to increasing defenses.
Other nutrients related to the immune system
- Vitamin C: reduces the duration and severity of colds and flu. We find it in fruits, vegetables and vegetables, such as strawberries, kiwi, citrus, melon, pepper, tomato and cabbage.
- Vitamin A: helps maintain natural barriers against infections (mucous). We find it in liver, butter, cream, eggs, dairy products and some fruits such as apricots, cherries, melons and peaches.
- Vitamin E: increases the immune response. Present in wheat germ oil, soybean oil, cereals (bread, rice, wholemeal pasta …), olive oil, green leafy vegetables and nuts.
- Other vitamins: vitamins of group B are especially important; both plant and animal foods are rich in it: meat, organ meats, fish, shellfish, eggs, cereals, legumes, fruits, green leafy vegetables …
- Iron: liver, meat (especially horse meat), fish and eggs.
- Zinc and selenium: present in almost all food groups.
Regular physical exercise
In general, it is preferable to practice some type of aerobic exercise, which allows you to move many parts of the body at once, such as swimming or cycling. The intensity of the exercise must be moderate, straining until you lose your breath is never recommended.
Avoid overexertion. If you are not used to exercising, you should start practicing it in moderation, adapting it to your physical condition and age. You can gradually increase the intensity of physical exercise, but always avoid getting too tired.
We must not forget two other important factors: night rest, respecting sleep time (between 6 and 8 hours), since some of the defense cells are produced during rest; and caring for our skin, the physical barrier that keeps infections at bay.
It is important to have a medical check-up once a year to control your health. MAPFRE Salud Insurance includes a comprehensive Preventive Medicine Program (Consultation, exploration and diagnostic tests) that will offer you an assessment of your health status and recommendations for taking care of yourself.
3 ways to boost immunity
Immune is an indispensable and excellent system that people have acquired to connect their lives to each other. It is no exaggeration to say that human history was a battle between hunger and infectious diseases.
The immunity can be said simply as the number of police officers who patrol, the skill of catching, the police radio, etc. White blood cells, which are the main constituents of immune cells, have a division of roles and are responsible for eliminating dead cells, reporting the presence of intruders, directing attacks, directly attacking bacteria, and virus We are able to keep up without being conscious of the pathogen, because we are constantly working on complicated and strange functions such as making antibodies and eliminating cancer cells.
It is known that loss of immunity causes various infectious diseases and malignant diseases, but the famous disease in which this immunity collapses is called AIDS (AIDS), which is an acquired disease that can cause death by just catching a cold. Also called immunodeficiency. You should be aware that your immune system is weakened if you get a cold more than once a year, get flu often, and develop cancer.
How to boost immunity?
① Make intestinal bacteria a dominant advantage
② Increase metabolism of the whole body
③ Add sharpness to the autonomic nerves
① Make intestinal bacteria a dominant advantage
Although the entire digestive tract is inside the body, in reality, the “tube = outside world” that connects the mouth and anus, so various foreign substances come in. Therefore, 60% of cells involved in immunity are located at the forefront of the digestive tract where they come into contact with foreign substances. The basis of immunity is to distinguish between self and non-self, but this mystery of the digestive tract allows the passage of nutrients that should be non-self, and does not allow other non-self to pass. However, this mechanism is not well understood and it is one of the seven mysteries of the human body.
Also, it is said that about 100 trillion intestinal bacteria, which are said to be 500 types or 1000 types, live in the intestine (about 1 kg in weight), but if this bacterium is superior bacteria, it is digested. They have a symbiotic relationship that helps them and makes some of their vitamins and hormones. It is known that maintaining the superiority of this intestinal bacterium to good bacteria also enhances the immunity, so products that try to deliver live bacteria to the intestine have become more and more noticeable. Since fermented foods are said to be good for the body, it seems that the predecessor knew that putting live bacteria into the body was good for health (immunity).
② Increase metabolism of the whole body
Even if we say metabolism in one word, there are various metabolisms such as basal metabolism, metabolism and energy metabolism. Immune cells are constantly undergoing metabolism and are newly replaced, so it is necessary to supply materials (nutrients) that continue to create new immune cells. Moreover, it is necessary to have an environment where the cells can easily work, and the place of work is blood, so the blood must be clean. Furthermore, communication substances (cytokines, etc.) that keep the immune cells in contact with each other must also be spread smoothly. For that reason, if various metabolisms do not become smooth, blood will not be able to function as intended.
A simple way to increase metabolism is exercise or bathing that raises body temperature. It can be said that it is reasonable to have a long-term medical treatment at a hot spring. A bedrock bath is also good, but anyway, a lot of sweat loses important water and minerals, so it is important to keep replenishing diligently.
(3) Add sharpness to the autonomic nerves
Even if the autonomic nerves say that they are sharp, I don’t think it will come as a hit. “Autonomy is a nervous system that acts according to the norms established by itself, without being governed or restricted by others,” and is simply explained: heart, blood pressure, digestive tract, sweating, hormone secretion, etc. It is a system that cannot be adjusted by your own will.
The autonomic nerve is regulated by two systems, the sympathetic nerve and the parasympathetic nerve. The sympathetic nerve becomes dominant during awakening (during tension), and in familiar places, when I was nervous just before the presentation, I think that I had an experience that my throat was dry and my chest was pounding. Also, if you are constantly stressed, your sympathetic nervous state will continue, and you will be in an abnormal situation where you will not be able to get out of combat (such as insomnia). On the contrary, the parasympathetic nerve becomes dominant when resting (relaxing), and works in the direction of resting the body. However, living a lazy life is not good because the parasympathetic nervous state continues. It is known that the tension of one of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves continues to weaken the immune ability in both cases. Therefore, it is considered necessary to have the appropriate tensions (dominant sympathetic nerve during the day) and relaxation (dominant parasympathetic nerve during the night).
Another important thing is to get rid of stress. If you have a hobby, immerse yourself in the world of hobbies. If you don’t have a hobby, you can relax in any way, such as shouting into the sea or listening to the babbling of the stream. In addition, mineral deficiency disturbs the stability of the autonomic nerves, leading to a state of autonomic imbalance. As a basic mineral supplement, add natural salt until it tastes delicious (it is not good for your body and mind to bear the light taste). I also recommend fruits.
I focused on the story of immunity, but it is not possible to try to boost immunity alone. Please think about improving the work of the whole body. The human body is not that simple. Anyway, stop sweating and reduce salt as it is unhealthy. In diabetes (abnormal glucose metabolism), it is obvious that the immune system is weakened, so strict management is required.