How Strong Is Your Immune System?

A healthy immune system is your last and only guard against all kinds of illness.

The strength of the human immune system is dependent upon literally hundreds of often-minute factors, most of them pertaining to general health and well-being. Your vitality, fitness, and even life-span are in turn dependent upon the strength of your immune system, which protects you from invaders like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and multicellular organisms that can all cause illness or a decrease in overall health. Your immune response is also your first protection against cancerous tumors, which often are nipped in the bud by a healthy immune system without our even knowing it.

The most comprehendible portion of your immune system actually consists of whole cells whose job it is to protect your body from foreign invaders. These include most notably phagocytes and lymphocytes, but can be described in incomprehensible detail without delivering a great deal of understanding, so such specifics seem inappropriate to this explanation of immunology. Regardless of their names and shapes, these cells and their chemical and physical reactions to invasion are imperative to the proper defense of your body, and their health and numbers have a significant impact upon the prevention of illness.

The first medical sign of illness is the body's first defense against it: the production of white blood cells, the metaphorical soldiers of the body's immune system, to be hackneyed but accurate. However, in order to efficiently and sufficiently produce these cells, your body needs certain minerals and proteins, which if inadequately supplied it might be forced to sap from existing tissue. Without proper nutrition, your body may not be able to produce as many nor enough white blood cells to successfully ward off infection, and so inadequate nutrition leaves you vulnerable to disease of all sorts.

Because the body's immune system is closely tied to glandular and nervous systems, your state of mind may actually have a noticeable effect upon your immune condition. It is for this reason that great mental stress and exhaustion can undermine the immune process, leaving you vulnerable as well. It is also because of this that maintaining a good mental balance, sometimes nurtured by a positive outlook toward recovery while fighting off a disease can help an individual's chances of survival or speedy recovery. Much of this is theory, of course, but controlled medical studies have indicated nothing less than that positive attitudes are conducive to good immunological health.

In addition to sufficient cell production, cell integrity, or the health of each individual cell is potentially of great importance in the prevention of illness. Cells receive natural wear in response to oxidation (among other things). Studies suggest that some of this wear can be prevented with the adequate intake of antioxidants, such as those found in white or green tea and red wine, and such as ascorbic acid, vitamin C. Antioxidants bind to so-called free radicals in the blood that may cause the deterioration of immune cells and in fact all cells, making them more prone to illness, decay, and eventual lysis, or rupture. Prevention of this process seems to lead to better health overall, and may help guard significantly against the threat of disease.

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