Important cornerstones of the immune system

The main function of our immune system is to protect the body from viruses and bacteria that are present in the external environment. An innate immune response is a fever that denatures foreign proteins in our body. However, the lifelong immune system is responsible for producing antibodies, helping to kill pathogens. In order for all processes in the body to work, it is necessary to monitor how we feed our body. In addition to a healthy and balanced diet (including nutrient-rich foods), adequate physical activity, water intake, sleep and leisure are also important. This is the lower level of the food pyramid on which everything else is based.

Healthy food choices, a balanced diet and a variety of food groups allow us to eat everything but in the right amount. No food group should be left out of the menu without a reason. For example, it is not necessary to give up gluten without a medical reason. With any restriction for non-medical reasons, we inevitably narrow down our choices and thereby interfere with the normal functioning of the body. Allergy is also one of the body's reactions to show sensitivity to an irritant. There are allergies from which one grows out. However, some allergies develop over a lifetime and some of them pass when you start eating a varied diet again. Our body is a wholesome machine that requires versatile and nutritious fuel.

What does nutritious food mean? Garlic and ginger are familiar to everyone in terms of immunity, but less is known about the effects of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. These are important structural components of our cell membranes. At the molecular level, the structure of the smallest unit in our body, the cell, depends on fatty acids and other nutrients, thus affecting the functioning of our entire body. Protein intake is also important here (0.8-1.5 g / kg is normal). When we compare proteins of plant and animal origin, the latter have a higher bio-value, therefore our body absorbs them better. For example, eggs contain all the essential amino acids that our bodies do not produce themselves, but that are needed for various functions to work.

It is estimated that 80% of the body's immune system depends on our intestinal microflora. The more one-sided the choice of food, the poorer the species is our intestinal microflora. The consumption of acidified foods and probiotics is beneficialbecause they help to enrich the composition of intestinal bacteria. Malnutrition, nutrient deficiencies and menu one-sidedness have been identified as the leading causes of immunodeficiency worldwide. The degree of food processing and the method of preparation are no less important. The more food is processed (it is a so-called food-like product), the less complete it can be considered.

From the point of view of immunity, attention must also be paid to physical activityWhen we are physically active, it affects our metabolism, emotions and thus our overall energy level. Moving is often equated with exercise alone, or it is thought that physical activity depends on each individual's energy level. To support health, the Institute for Health Development recommends exercising for 300 minutes a week, which can include cleaning and gardening in addition to traditional sports.

Fresh air and adequate physical activity relieve tension and stress, thus ensuring better quality sleep.The need for sleep and sleep time varies from person to person. Adequate sleep is even more important than any food for the body to recover and increase resilience. We often tend to compensate for the lack of sleep with food to restore our energy stores. Unfortunately, we do not make very informed choices in this situation.

As you can see, our way of life significantly affects the ability of the whole body, including the immune system. It is recommended to eat a varied diet, be physically active and get enough sleep.


Author: Nutritionist and trainer Kendra Vaino 

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