As we move into the chaos of the holiday season it’s all too easy for self-care to take a back seat. From family commitments to social engagements and everything in between, the plates of delicious sugary treats and creamy mugs of rum and eggnog are oh so tempting – and although this is the season to eat, drink and be merry, your immune system often ends up the sacrifice for all that fun! Why does it even matter? What is an immune system? Today, we’re taking a closer look!
What is an immune system?
The ‘immune system’ is a general term to describe a very complex system in the body made up of different organs, cells and proteins. This system protects the body from harmful invaders and infectious organisms through a series of steps called the ‘immune response’. The immune system attacks any invading organisms and substances that are recognized as different from the body’s normal healthy tissues and brings the body back to a state of balance.
What makes up an immune system?
The immune system is made up of various organs, antibodies and tissues that all play a role in keeping the body healthy. This includes:
- Tonsils + thymus: which make antibodies
- Lymphatic system: made up of lymph vessels and nodes, this network carries nutrients, lymph fluid and waste between body tissues and the blood stream.
- Bone marrow: a soft tissue found mostly within the long bones of the arms and legs, vertebrae and pelvic bones of the body. It is made up of red marrow, which produces red and white blood cells and platelets, and yellow marrow, which contains fat and connective tissue and produces some white blood cells.
- Spleen: filters blood by removing old or damaged blood cells and platelets and supports the immune system by destroying bacteria and other foreign substances.
- White blood cells: made in the bone marrow, white blood cells are vital in protecting the body from infection. When an infection does develop, white blood cells rush to the rescue and destroy whatever is causing it.
So you can see that maintaining a well-balanced, highly functioning immune system is incredibly important, and as there are so many pieces that go into maintaining this complex system, it can be fragile and susceptible to imbalance if not properly supported! This can result in a sensitive system that falls victim to any cold or virus going around, and nobody has time for that – especially this time of year!
How Do I Support My Immune System?
Your first line of defense is to maintain healthy lifestyle habits that will naturally support immunity. This means:
- Don’t smoke
- Exercise regularly and work to maintain a healthy weight (whatever that means for your body!)
- Prioritize high quality, deep sleep and incorporate healthy sleep hygiene habits
- Work to manage stress levels with holistic and healthy coping strategies
- Eat a whole foods diet full of brightly coloured fruit and veggies, lean protein and healthy fats – and of course, fresh spirulina!
Looking for more info? Leave a comment below - we love hearing from you!
What role does spirulina play in immunity?
Spirulina is packed full of special phytonutrients, which function as the basic nutritional elements in plants. Spirulina is an amazing source of plant based protein (up to 70% protein by weight!) and has a perfectly balanced array of amino acids. Spirulina also has many of the more common vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid) which are essential for overall health, but also contains special immune boosting elements such as phycocyanin, polysaccharides, and sulfolipids. Finally, spirulina is also rich in detoxifying chlorophyll!
A number of studies have shown spirulina’s ability to increase antibodies (remember, infection fighting proteins!) as well as important antiviral and anticancer properties! Spirulina has also been shown to increase the body’s balance of ‘good’ bacteria which has a beneficial impact on your body’s ability to digest and assimilate nutrients – and thus, immunity! We're proud to say that our SpiraVeg Fresh Spirulina is live, unprocessed and 100% bioavailable, meaning your body knows what to do with it!
Our favourite seasonal immunity boosting elixir
Looking for an easy way to incorporate our immune boosting spirulina into your diet? Try our favourite seasonal immunity boosting elixir!
½ cup cooked + cooled yam, sweet potato or pumpkin puree (potent source of beta-carotene)
1 frozen organic banana (amazing source of potassium)
1 pinch cinnamon (blood sugar balancing chromium)
1 knob fresh minced ginger (antiviral properties)
½ tsp turmeric (antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory… anti-EVERYTHING!)
1 cup coconut milk (delicious healthy fats)
1 tsp fresh spirulina (see above – a super powerhouse of nutrients to keep you healthy!)
Add yam, banana, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and coconut milk to blender
To mixture, add 1 tsp of fresh spirulina and stir in well!