The role of our immune system is to protect us from any foreign substance that could harm the body. These foreign substances are also known as antigens. Antigens include bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. When those organisms are found in the body, they trigger the immune system, which, in return, try to destroy the antigen with various mechanisms.
Our immune system can be divided into two categories; innate and adaptive.
Innate Immune System
The goal of the antigen is to get into the body. Our innate immune system is the first responder of our body, which includes our skin, immune system cells, and some chemicals in our blood.
Our skin is the first line of defense, which serves as a surface barrier to stop the virus or bacteria from getting into our body. That also explains why, when we are in flu season, you see signs of washing your hands everywhere. By washing your hands, you destroy the antigen before it harms the body.
Immune cells are also essential components of our immune system. Some cells are more selective than others in the type of antigens they attack. The three main categories of immune cells are phagocytes, T cells, and B cells.
The large white cells called phagocytes are antigen eaters. They can be found in our blood and tissues. These cells are often the reason why we will notice inflammation in the body. Inflammation increases blood flow, which serves a fundamental purpose when it comes to sending immune cells to a specific area of the body. In chapter 3 of this guide, you will learn about the food that you can eat to reduce body inflammation.
T cells are there to regulate the immune cells. It can eliminate them or activate them. You might have heard of the term killer cells. That term is used to describe a type of T cell whose purpose is to kill any cells that are infected with the antigens or cells that seem abnormal.
Have you ever heard the word antibodies? B cells are responsible for activating the antibodies, a protein that destroys antigens in the bloodstream.
Now let’s explore the second category of our immune system, the adaptive immune system.
Adaptive Immune System
We should be very grateful for our adaptive immune system since it is the system that remembers past attacks from antigens and is triggered to combat the same antigen more effectively.
Have you ever received a vaccine? The chances are that you probably have. Vaccines will trigger your immune system to create an adaptive immune system so that when you reencounter the antigen, it’s easier to fight it.
The adaptive immune system remembers the antigen and can send immune cells that will specifically attack that type of antigen. This process is why it is much quicker at resolving the issue and gives less time for the antigens to multiply in the body.
Another vital system in your body that prevents you from getting sick is the lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system is composed of tissues, vessels, and nodes that allow the body to get rid of toxins, and any waste that can be harmful to the body. His role is primarily to circulate a liquid called lymph, which contains white blood cells (like T cells and B cells) in the body.
To help you increase your ability to fight antigens, let’s look at habits and lifestyles you should adopt or avoid to boost your immunity.
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