Your immune system is the complex protection system that is keeping your body healthy right now! The stronger your immune system, the greater your body’s ability to fight infection and protect you from falling ill.
How your immune system works
You probably do not think much about your immune system on a day to day basis when in reality it’s working very hard for you!
Your immune system is activated when your body encounters something it does not recognize. When your body encounters something new for the first time it remembers information about the germ and how to fight it – allowing your body to better fight the germ in the future.
Subsystems of the immune system
The immune system contains two subsystems: the innate and adaptive immune systems.
For general defense against germs, the innate immune system is used as this is the basic immune system you are born with and offers you lifelong protection.
On the other hand, the adaptive immune uses antibodies to fight specific germs that it has previously come in contact with. This adaptive immune system is the one your body learns over the course of your lifetime and can be further reinforced by vaccination and previous illnesses.
Does my immune system improve with age?
During a health crisis, there is always an emphasis to protect the elderly from exposure as they generally have weaker immune systems. However, as mentioned previously, your immune system does improve with age to an extent, often peaking during your reproductive years. After this, your immune system begins to deteriorate.
Some lifestyle behaviors may also have an impact on how soon your immune system begins to decrease in its effectiveness.
How can I strengthen my immune system?
Harvard shares a few great ways to keep your immune system powerful including:
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables
- Exercise regularly
- Get adequate sleep
- Work to minimize stress
Again, these are the type of lifestyle changes that are wide-reaching in their health benefits and can overall create a better quality of life. Dr. Milbauer had a great video from last spring on different supplements you could utilize to even further improve your immune system.
Make this a healthy new year with a strong immune system!