Today’s topic, which is the immune system.
First we are going to explore how the immune system works and then we'll talk about some steps you can take to strengthen your immune system and boost your immune function!
There are 2 layers to the immune system:
There is the innate immune system that you were born with. When it detects a foreign invader, it goes into action immediately.
As you grow up and go through stages of life, you develop a second layer of defense that is called the adaptive immune system.
When your body is exposed to microbes like bacteria and viruses or the chemicals that are released by these microbes,
the adaptive system will help the innate system to produce antibodies to protect your body from a specific invader.
The efficacy of your immune system can affect much more than just whether or not you catch a cold in the winter time.
It can impact your ability to digest and tolerate certain foods, such as dairy or gluten, it can change the quality of your skin by inducing breakouts or eczema, and it can also be misdirected to attack your own tissues and organs, leading to autoimmune conditions.
To understand how to boost your immune system, we have to first understand how the immune system works!
When a virus or bacterial invader enters your body, it will aim to change or destroy your human cells. This makes you sick and makes your body malfunction.
Your immune system will send 3 types of white blood cells to help you get rid of this problem:
First it sends macrophages to swallow and digest some of the viral cells and infected human cells but it will leave behind the virus’ name tag, which is called the “antigen”.
This name tag is going to help another white blood cell called B-Lymphcyte develop an antibody to attack alll the other cells that carry this name tag.
Then, Memory Cells or T-Lymphocytes come in and they attack the rest of the infected human cells.
The reason why they’re called memory cells if because if you encounter this virus again, these memory cells will act very quickly.
This whole process can take up to several days. But isn’t it awesome?
It sounds kind of like a very well planned battle strategy in The Art of War but this complex and sophisticated pathway takes place in your very body!
Now that you know how the immune system works, you should know that the gut and gastrointestinal tract is a highway with lots of pathogens and microbes passing through every single day.
If your digestive system has healthy intestinal mucosal lining and great stomach acidity then it is able to neutralize and keep out a lot of the household harmful bacteria.
In fact, 70-80% of your immune system resides in the GI Tract. The gut bridges your innate immune system with the activation and regulation of the adaptive immune system. You need the latter to remain healthy!
When it comes to promoting immune function and keeping the immune system healthy, lifestyle factors are MAJOR.
Managing stress, minimizing processed foods, regular exercise, healthy human connection are just a few things that are researched.
Additionally, here are some foods to pay special attention to:
Mushrooms for their beta glucans, healthy omega 3 fatty acids from fatty fish and flax, minerals like magnesium, iron, and zinc from leafy greens and grassfed meats, vitamins A, B, C, and D from colourful vegetables like carrots and peppers
As well as probiotics from live fermented foods, such as R’s Koso!
Koso is fermented with over 100 different plant foods including mushrooms, fruits, and veggies. It is rich in probiotics and prebiotics which are essential for a robust gut flora. Studies have shown that probiotics play a vital role in promoting the innate immune system.
For more information on Koso or the immune system, check out the R’s Koso website!