In this article I’ll cover the types of immunity, foods that helps in strengthening your immunity and tips to boost your immunity naturally.
What is immunity?
Immunity is the defensive power of the body which helps the body in protecting against various infections or pathogens.
There are two types of immunity-
1. Innate immunity
2. Adaptive/acquired immunity
What is innate immunity?
· This type of immunity is present since birth
· It acts as the first line of defence.
· No previous exposure of antigen is required for activation of innate immunity.
· It is non-specific in nature.
· No memory is seen in innate immunity.
What are the components of innate immunity?
The major components of innate immunity are-
1. Epithelial barriers like skin which helps in blocking the entry of environmental microbes/ pathogens.
2. Various cells- like phagocytic cells composed mainly of the neutrophils and macrophages, natural killer cells, dendritic cells.
3. Plasma proteins- these are the protein of the complement system, mannose binding lectin and C- reactive protein.
The innate immunity is due to the presence of pattern recognition receptors (PRR). These are mainly the peptide molecules present on the leucocytes or the white blood cells (WBC), which helps in the recognition of particular structural pattern on a particular pathogen also known as pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs).
The PRR is further of two different types-
1. Soluble pattern recognition receptors-
· Mannose receptors
· C-reactive protein.
2. Surface pattern recognition receptors-
· Scavenger receptors
· Toll like receptors
· NOD-like receptors
· RIG-like receptors.
What is adaptive or acquired immunity ?
· Adaptive/ acquired immunity is acquired in nature.
· It acts as the second line of defense.
· Prior exposure to a particular antigen is required for its activation.
· It is highly specific.
· Memory is seen in this type of immunity which results in activation when the body is again exposed to the same pathogen/antigen.
What are the various components of adaptive immunity?
The adaptive immunity system consists of-
Lymphocytes and their products like antibodies.
It has two components-
· Cellular/cell mediated immunity- helps in protection against intracellular microbes.
· Humoral immunity- helps in protection against extracellular microbes.
What are the various immune system cells ?
Immune system cells are further divided into various types-
· Lymphocytes- T-cells, B-cells, Natural Killer cells
1) T-cell are further divided into-
2) Helper T Cells- activation of B/T lymphocyte of macrophage.
3) Cytotoxic T- Cells – for killing of infected cells.
4) Regulatory T Cell- suppress immune response.
· Antigen presenting cells-
1) Professional antigen presenting cells
2) Non-professional antigen presenting cells.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is body’s immune system response aginst various infections.
There are two types of inflammation- acute and chronic.
When inflammation persists for a longer period of time it converts into chronic inflammation resulting in decreasing the immune system response making the person immune-compromised.
What are the different foods that are anti-inflammatory in nature which helps in boosting immunity?
The various foods which helps in boosting immunity by acting as a natural anti-inflammatory agent and also preventing free radical damage are as follows-
· Lemons- rich in Vitamin C
· Ginger- gingerol contains anti-inflammatory properties
· Turmeric- curcumin is anti-inflammatory in nature.
· Garlic- anti-inflammatory and analgesic
· Spinach- rich in iron and beta carotene
· Broccoli- sulphoraphanes present in them helps in activating the immunity genes and enzymes.
· Beetroots- rich in iron and beta carotene
· Oranges- rich in vitamin C, antioxidants
· Papaya- rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and papain enzyme.
· Kiwi- rich in vitamin c, actinidain enzyme and antioxidants
· Blueberry- rich in antioxidants
· Tomatoes- contains lycopene.
· Red bell peppers- rich in vitamin C
· Probiotics- yogurt, buttermilk, kefir.
· Salmon- rich in zinc, helps in immunity boosting
· Eggs- rich in protein, vitamin D
· Chicken soup/ poultry- Chicken soup have anti-inflammatory properties.
· Ginseng tea- good for respiratory tract infections
· Japanese matcha tea- rich in antioxidants
· Green tea- rich in antioxidants
· Nuts- almonds, peanuts- contains vitamin E
· Seeds- pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds.
· Mushroom- good source of vitamin D.
· Fennel seeds- phytochemicals acts as antioxidants
· Extra virgin olive oil- anti-inflammatory in nature
What habits should one acquire in their daily routine in order to strengthen your immunity?
Apart from the foods and diet there are certain steps which you can include in your daily routine such as-
1) Don’t smoke
2) Keep yourself hydrated
3) Do medication to reduce cortisol levels and anxiety levels in the body.
4) Eat more vegetable and whole foods.
5) Don’t go for crash diets. Provide proper nutrition to your body.
6) Avoid alcohol consumption as much as possible.
7) Get at least six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep at night.
8) Avoid midnight snacking.
9) Exercise regularly- either in the form of cardio or yoga.
10) Wash your hands properly and sanitize them as required.
11) Limit the consumption of added sugar in your diet.
Hence, adding these simple steps and habits in your life will help to promote a healthy body and boosting the immune system of the body.
Have a commitment and consistency to a better and healthy lifestyle. Follow a well balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight.
Hope you found it useful