Your child picks up a piece of candy from the sidewalk. You grab the handle of the shopping cart. Someone sneezes in your elevator…You have been exposed!
Every day, our bodies are bombarded with germs – yet surprisingly, many of us don’t become ill. Our amazing immune systems work silently to protect us from bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungus, and other toxins that make us sick.
Usually, we only notice our immune systems when they fail to fend off an infection and we get sick – but even then, our immune systems continue to work.
The immune system protects the body in three ways:
- It creates barriers to prevent infection.
- It detects and fights bacteria or viruses before they can multiply.
- It works to eliminate disease that has reproduced in the body.
Bacteria are independent single-celled organisms that can live independently in the body. Some good bacteria are necessary for life. Bacteria multiply exponentially: two cells can become millions in a matter of minutes.
Viruses cannot live independently, but must attach themselves to healthy cells. As the virus injects its DNA into a healthy cell, the virus particles reproduce. When the injected cell dies or bursts, virus particles spill out and attach themselves to other healthy cells.
As a first line of defense, your skin secretes antibacterial substances. Your tears, mucus, and saliva also contain antibacterial agents that break down bacteria’s cell walls. If, in spite of these barriers, germs invade the body, your immune system increases white blood cell production. These specialized cells act independently, engulfing diseased cells and bacteria, to kill the infection.
The white blood cells, produced in the bone marrow, work together with other chemicals to eradicate germs from the body.
Feed it well
Good food builds a healthy immune system. Eat a well-balanced diet full of red, orange, dark green, and purple-colored fruits and vegetables, low-fat protein, and whole grains. Foods full of anti-oxidants that are rich in vitamins A, B, C, E, potassium, zinc, and folic acid are necessary for a strong immune system.
Avoid sugar and alcohol. One regular soda can suppress immunity by 30 percent for three hours. Not only that, microbes feed on sugar.