The key to a healthy body is a strong immune system. The Immune System is a network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to defend the body against attacks by foreign" invaders. These are primarily microbes or germs, tiny organisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. As the human body is very much exposed to the environment, many microbes can break in. It is the immune system that will protect the body from organism attack. Anything that can trigger the immune response is called antigen.

The organs of the immune system are positioned throughout the body. They are called Lymphoid organs. The Lympathis system has three main funtions:

1. Conservation of plasma proteins and fluids.
2. Defense against disease.
3. Lipid absorption.

The human lymphoid system are composed of the following:

1. The Primary Organs: Bone marrow (in the hollow center of the bones) and the thymus glands (located behind the breastbone of the heart).

2. The Secondary organs at or near the possible portals of pathogens: Adenoids, tonsils spleen (located at the upper abdomen lymph nodes (along the lymphatid vessels with concentration in the neck, armpits, abdomen and groin), Peyer's Patches (within the intestine) and appendix.

The tonsils are patches of lymph tissue at the upper rear part of the throat. They help destroy foreign substances that are breathed in or swallowed. The adenoids are similar patches at the rear of the nasal cavity in the nose. Thymus glands in the front chest are large during childhood, but shrinks away during adulthood. It helps certain white cells and the immune system to develop and play their part in the body's defense. Spleen is just behind the stomach on the left side. It makes and stores various kinds of white cells, especially the phagocytes that eat germs. It also makes and generally cleans and filters the blood.

Occasionally, the tolerance mechanism goes untrue and the immune system attacks one's own tissue. The resulting disorder is called autoimmune disease (i.e. arthritis, diabetes). In other cases, the immune system responds to a seemingly harmless foreign substance like pollen that may result to allergy.

Immunity can be strong or weak, short-lived or long-lasting depending on the type of antigen, the amount of antigen and the route by which it enters the body. Immunity can be influenced by inherited genes and can also be transferred from one individual to another by injection of serum rich in antibodies against a particular microbe (antiserum).

Immunodeficiency disorders can be inherited, acquired through infections, or produced unintentionally by drugs such those to treat people with cancer or those who have received transplant.

Common Causative Factors that may affect your immune system:

1. Pathogens - examples: bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.

2. Toxic Pollutants - examples: smog, industrial smoke, cigarette smoke, harmful vapors, vehicle emission.

3. Potential antigens - examples: medications, pollens, dander, toxins and chemicals.

4. Foreign cells and tissue - example: malignant cells, foreign tissue such as from transplanted organs or transfused blood.

5. Stress - stress is a definite culprit that weakens the immune system because it affects the production of interferon and cortisols.

6. Digestive Disturbance can also result in the build up of toxins because of inadequate elimination thus, the accumulated toxins may overpower the immune system.

Create a healthy lifestyle by:

Observing Proper diet. Eat the right kinds of food such as vegetables, fruits and food rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and fibers. Good eating habits will make your immune system healthy.

Sufficient intake of water. Drinking 8-12 glasses of water a day removes toxin in the body and moisturizes the skin.

De-stressing yourself. Sleep at least 8 hours daily.

Exercising. Taking exercise is good for the heart, digestive function and circulation of blood in the body.

Do not allow infections to persist. Never ignore such symptoms as unexplained fevers, night sweats, or tender, swollen lymph nodes (gland). These signals can indicate a hidden infection. Observe good sexual hygiene and good hygiene of body orifices. Limit the number of sexual partners and make a habit of practicing safe sex.

Proper Medication. Take antibiotics as prescribed by the doctors. Antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by organisms that are sensitive to them. If too much antibiotics were used, resistance may develop in the microorganism being treated. Antibiotics should not be used for minor infections. Some antibiotics may cause allergic reactions. Do not practice self-medication.

Avoid exposure to harmful chemicals. Combustion pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, kerosene, charcoal, tobacco, paints and varnishes can be harmful. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals may affect the nervous system, liver and kidney.

Take Antioxidants Supplements. Antioxidants are substances that inhibit the destructive effect of oxidation in the body and they are mostly found in fruits and vegetables. These antioxidants block the chemical reactions that generate free radicals and also destroy ones already formed. Asian mushrooms such as Shitake and Reishi are known to be rich in vitamins and minerals with antioxidant properties.

Learn about food and herbs that enhance Immunity. According to Traditional Chinese Herbal repertory, mushroom acts as tonic that can help the body improve its resistance to all kinds of stress as well as to extend longevity. Tonic mushrooms are: Shitake (Lentinula edodes), Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus), maitake (Grifola frondosa), enoki (Flammulina velutipes) and Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum).

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