The most important function of the immune system is its defensive role in the human body. The immune system has an inherent ability to detect and challenge foreign substances and organisms within the body, acting as the crucial first line of defense. The immune systems plays a role in eliminating harmful organisms and substances by recognizing, destroying and finally removing various types of foreign particles and malignant growths like cancers wherever it detects them in the human system. It is therefore a totally independent and invisible shield, working unnoticed in our bodies and bringing attention to itself only when we get sick; we are otherwise unaware of its existence. But it must be mentioned here that the onset of an illness is by itself, not an indication of immune system impairment or weakness, it can also be due to the effects of recurring and lasting infections in the body. A permanent and constant fatigue in the body, the presence of swelling in the glands, the occurrence of colds and sore throats in a person are the more specific signs of a weakened immune system. A full and professional diagnosis of the condition must be taken in consultation with a medical practitioner, when and if such symptoms become aggravated and if they come accompanied by weakness or weight loss in the individual.
There are many ways to enhance the immune system:
1. Eating a well balanced diet is critical for a properly functioning immune system.
2. A diet high in fruits and vegetables has many of the phytonutrient critical to enhance immunity as well as many of the important vitamins and minerals. A steady and balanced intake of essential vitamins and mineral helps to keep our immune systems working properly by providing us protection from infections and disease. Fish, poultry, lean meat, low-fat dairy products, cereals and legumes (peas, lentils, beans) are all good sources of minerals. Foods such as cheese, eggs or liver, which supply vitamin A, and spinach, sweet potatoes or carrots, which are good sources of beta carotene, should also be eaten daily.
3. Plenty of rest- Body needs rest from the stress and strain of daily life to get recharged. We depend on adequate restful sleep to restore our bodies and refresh our minds. During deep sleep, our bodies release potent immune-enhancing substances that strengthen immune function. It is especially important to get additional rest when we are ill. Women generally tend to ignore this aspect of good health due to heavy demands placed upon them both at place of work and at home. The result becomes obvious through signs of extreme exhaustion, irritability, panic and tantrums.
4. Increase your vitamin C intake to 1000-2000 mg/d (this may reduce your histamine levels): a moderately large amounts of this vitamin (up to 200mg daily) increase levels of immunoglobulin - blood proteins that ac as disease fighting antibodies - which are produced by the immune system. Vitamin D (obtained from oily fish) and vitamin E (in olive oil, nuts, avocados and wholegrain cereals are also vital to the immune system's effectiveness, as are essential fatty acids found in vegetable oils and fish oils.
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