Keeping Your Immune System Healthy
Our immune system is made up of the spleen, bone marrow, thymus and lymph nodes, and it is constantly busy doing an amazing job at protecting us from bacteria, viruses and other unwelcome invaders.
Spleen: This is an organ located in the upper left side of the abdomen. The spleen filters the blood by discarding old blood cells and microorganisms. It is also responsible for the production of antibodies.
Bone marrow: Located inside long bones and produces blood cells that start out as stem cells and later become red or white blood cells or platelets.
Thymus: Located behind the sternum and is responsible for producing T cells.
Lymph nodes: These are located throughout the body and act as filters for foreign invaders.
Our immune system produces Y shaped proteins called antibodies that bind to antigens (foreign invaders) and destroy them, and will continue to make antibodies for the antigens that have invaded it. Our immune system does an extraordinary job at remembering this antigens and the next time they attack it recognizes them and sends the appropriate antibodies to destroy them.
There is a very important connection between diet and health. It is crucial to provide the body with the necessary tools to keep our immune system working at it's best. A balanced and varied diet is essential for
keeping the immune system healthy. By providing the body with the adequate vitamins, minerals and nutrients you can ensure that your body gets what it needs to stay healthy.
Essential nutrients for immunity:
- Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant that protects our cells from free radicals, and also important for wound healing. Vitamin C is present in berries, peppers, tomatoes, kiwi, brussel sprouts and citrus fruits.
- Vitamin E: increases the production of natural killer cells.Vitamin E is abundant in avocados, nuts, seeds and wheat germ.
- Omega 3: Increases phagocytosis (the process by which phagocytes engulf bacteria). Omega 3 rich foods like salmon, walnuts and flax protect the lungs from infection.
- Zinc: Enhances the function of T cells.Zinc is found in beans, whole grains and nuts.
- Probiotics: Help with nutrient absorption and colonize the intestines with beneficial bacteria.Fermented foods are rich in probiotics as well as yogurt and kefir.
I'm a specialist in fitness nutrition, personal trainer, author, dietetic technician and an R.N.
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