In the same way that exercising keeps our body in good shape, there are a number of things we can do to keep our immune system in good shape, especially during the winter months. There are some basic guidelines such as eating healthy, exercising moderately and enjoying a good rest, however, many times this is not enough.
What is the immune system?
It is a natural defense system that our body has in order to fight off external and harmful agents, and works 24 hours a day every day of our life and is designed to be highly effective. When we speak of external agents we refer to bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi and when necessary also infections. Therefore, the stronger and more active our immune system is, the better.
Our immune system can also be altered through stress (very common nowadays) and not sleeping enough hours. These two things, so normalized in our society, can make our immune system more vulnerable for attack.
Explained very simply, our immune system is composed of two parts, the innate and the acquired immune system. The first is our first line of defense. Innate immune cells are programmed to recognize external agents and then kill them, speaking clearly and directly.
The acquired is that part of the immune system with memory. After an infection or vaccination, the cells will remember the characteristics of the infectious being and generate an immune response to fight against it.
What is the problem?
Over the years our lifestyle has changed so much that we have become vulnerable to new threats. We must be aware that we live in an environment where everything is not natural (we live surrounded by toxins), we take antibiotics, there is an increase in type B malnutrition, public transport is full of people, we live with constant stress, we are exposed to radiation etc. All this affects our immune system.
How can we solve it?
There is a ” thing ” called beta-glucans that can be the solution to many of our problems with the immune system. As explained in another article, beta-glucans are nutrients that form the cell wall of yeast, fungi, bacteria and some grains such as oats or barley, and its function is basically immunomodulatory. They increase the resistance of the organism against the invading pathogens, or in other words, they help to prevent colds and flu, for example.
Technically, beta-glucans activate the production of macrophages, neutrophils, monocytes and Natural Killer cells, thus modulating the immune response. Speaking more mundanely, beta-glucans act as if it were a virus or pathogen that enters our body. This causes our defenses to start up and, thus, remain active for when our body really suffers a harmful attack.