Building and maintaining our immune systems are vital during any age and season, however, as the winter season is in full effect, your immune system requires some extra protection to avoid colds and flu.
What is the Immune System?
The immune system is a complex organ system in the body comprised of white blood cells, skin, mucus and bacteria. Its central role is to seek, recruit, attack and destroy foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses that enter the body. There are two main levels of immunity:
1. Innate immunity system
This system provides a quick first line of defence and acts against a wide range of pathogens. The innate immunity system refers to nonspecific defence mechanisms that come into play immediately or within hours of an antigen’s appearance in the body. These mechanisms include physical barriers such as skin, chemicals in the blood, and immune system cells that attack foreign cells in the body. The chemical properties of the antigen activate the innate immune response.
2. Adaptive Immune System
This level refers to antigen-specific immune response. The adaptive immune response is more complicated than the innate one. The antigen first must be processed and recognized. Once an antigen is identified, the adaptive immune system creates an army of immune cells designed to attack that antigen. Adaptive immunity also includes a “memory” that makes future responses against a specific antigen more efficient.
How to Support your Immune System
The immune system is precisely that – a system, not a single entity. For it to function well, it requires balance and harmony. Researchers are still exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors on the immune response.
Generally, a healthy lifestyle is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system strong and healthy.
Every system in your body, including the immune system, functions better when following balanced and healthy strategies such as these:
Eating a whole-food diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables
Maintaining a healthy weight
Getting enough sleep
Drinking alcohol in moderation
Speak with your healthcare professional for ideas on how to best support your immune system or try this delicious and easy Blueberry Smoothie Bowl recipe to keep you and your immune system strong and protected.
Blueberry Smoothie Bowl
Yields: 2 servings
1 c. frozen blueberries
1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk
1 1/2 scoops protein powder
2 tbsp. unsweetened almond butter
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 c. fresh blueberries
1/4 c. vanilla granola
2 tbsp. sliced almonds
2 tsp. hemp seeds
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
In a blender, puree frozen blueberries, almond milk, protein powder, almond butter, and vanilla until creamy. Divide between two bowls.
Top each bowl with fresh blueberries, granola, almonds, hemp seeds, and cinnamon before serving.
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