If you didn't have an immune system, your body would be defenseless against illnesses non-threatening as the common cold and injuries as simple as a scratch on your finger. Without an immune system, people wouldn't exist. You know you have an immune system, but what more do you know about this mysterious system that you can't see or feel? Here are some surprising facts to help familiarize you with your amazing immune system.
1. Most of Your Immune System is Located in Your Gut
When you think about your immune system, do you ever consider where it's located? Perhaps you thought your lymph nodes were doing all the work, or the white blood cells pumping through your veins.
While your immune system certainly needs your lymph nodes and your white blood cells, nearly 70 percent of your immune system can be found in your gut. That's where you'll find the good bacteria that aids in the development of T-cells. T-cells help your body differentiate between cells, tissue, and threats, such as harmful bacteria.
For a healthy gut, be considerate of what you consume. The more natural nutrients you eat, the healthier your gut will be. You can also give your get a boost with a supplement such as green superfoods powder.
2. Exercise May Strengthen Your Immune System
The healthier you are, the stronger your immune system will be. It makes sense that because exercise contributes to good health, it would also help strengthen the abilities of your immune response.
One of the most obvious ways exercise benefits your immune system is that exercise improves circulation which allows for those warriors of your immune system to effectively move through your body. While you knew exercise could make you look better and feel better, you can also count on exercise for helping to keep you well.
3. Having a Fever Is Good
When you have a fever, your natural reaction is to feel alarm. However, having a fever is actually a good thing. The fever is a result of your white blood cells going off to war against a foreign invader.
So why does this make your body get warmer? Your white blood cells are increasing in number, or creating an army. As they increase, your hypothalamus tells your body to generate and retain more heat.
While scientists aren't sure why your body believes it should heat up, one theory is it creates a less tolerable environment for unwanted germs. It's also a way of letting you know it's time to take it easy.
4. Lack of Sleep Can Weaken Your Immune Response
Researchers have been able to prove that lack of sleep has a host of negative consequences. One of the worst consequences from lack of sleep is a weakened immune system.
This is because sleep is your body's opportunity to repair itself and strengthen its defenses for the following day. One of the ways your body does this is through cytokine production, which is released by your immune system while you sleep. These cytokines are needed for fighting off infection and inflammation.
You should always try to get seven or eight hours of sleep each night. While the right amount of sleep will vary from person to person, getting only five hours of sleep isn't going to cut it.
5. Stress is Also Bad for Your Immune System
Like lack of sleep, stress also isn't good for your immune function. When you're stressed, your body's ability to fight off infection is decreased. Stress also causes the production of the hormone corticosteroid which can also reduce the abilities of your immune system.
Stress is bad for your health for a number of reasons, which is why you should make an effort to reduce stress. If you find yourself experiencing stress often, talk to your doctor and start adapting exercises that help you to relax, such as meditation and yoga.
6. Your Immune System Needs Exposure to Germs
While you know you should wash your hands often, did you know being exposed to some germs is actually good? If your body isn't exposed to germs, then it doesn't have a chance to build a strategy to fight off those germs. It makes perfect sense.
While you shouldn't stop washing your hands, you also shouldn't prevent your little ones from playing on the floor. If our only exposure was sterile environments, we would have no defenses the minute we stepped outdoors.
Scientists don't pretend to know everything about the immune system. In fact, there's a lot of learning to still do. From what they do know, you can take away some interesting facts to help you develop daily habits aimed at keeping you well. Everything you do in your day has a direct correlation to the health of your immune system. Be sure you eat your fruits and vegetables at dinner tonight, and get to bed at a decent hour. Your immune system will thank you.