Your Immune System and Your Diet

The immune system is the body's defense against infectious organisms and other invaders. Through a series of steps called the immune response, the immune system attacks organisms and substances that invade our systems and cause disease. The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body. A strong immune system is your first defense against pathogens. Good nutrition, a non-toxic environment, pure water all help to keep our immune system strong. Malnutrition can result in immunodeficiency.

A combination of factors, including insufficient amount of protein, energy, and micronutrients, and not just an insufficient amount of food, are involved. Under nutrition can result from personal dietary choices such as nutritionally unsound fad diets as well as socio economic factors.

What Causes A Weak Immune System?

Overdosing on sugar: Eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp) of sugar which is the equivalent of about two cans of soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by 40%. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. In contrast, the ingestion of complex carbohydrates, or starches, has no effect on the immune system.

Excess alcohol: Excessive alcohol intake can harm the body's immune system in two ways. First, it produces an overall nutritional deficiency, depriving the body of valuable immune- boosting nutrients. Second, alcohol, like sugar, consumed in excess can reduce the ability of white cells to kill germs. High doses of alcohol suppress the ability of the white blood cells to multiply and inhibit the action of killer white cells on cancer cells. One drink (the equivalent of 355ml of beer (about 1 ½ glasses), 148ml of wine (1 wine glass), or a shot glass of hard liquor) does not appear to bother the immune system, but three or more drinks do. Damage to the immune system increases in proportion to the quantity of alcohol consumed. Amounts of alcohol that are enough to cause intoxication are also enough to suppress immunity.

Food allergens: Due to a genetic quirk, some divisions of the immune army recognize an otherwise harmless substance (such as milk) as a foreign invader and attack it, causing an allergic reaction. Before the battle, the intestinal lining was like a wall impenetrable to foreign invaders. After many encounters with food allergens, the wall is damaged, enabling invaders and other potentially toxic substances in the food to get into the bloodstream and make the body feel miserable. If food allergy is suspected it should be confirmed by medical tests. Symptoms of upset stomach do not constitute proof of food allergies.

Too much fat: Obesity can lead to a depressed immune system. It can affect the ability of white blood cells to multiply, produce antibodies, and rush to the site of an infection.

Enhancing Your Immune System the With Food.

Nutrients critical to the development and effective functioning of the immune system include protein (fish), vitamins A (carrots), C (oranges/citrus fruits), B6 (nuts & bananas), and E (sweet potato & broccoli), essential fatty acids (soya oil, canola oil, fish), beta-carotene (carrots, kale, mangoes) and the minerals manganese (raspberries, garlic), selenium (seafood), zinc (beef, cashew nuts), copper (dark chocolate), iron (beef, vegetables), sulfur (cabbage), magnesium (whole grains), and germanium (mushrooms, onions).

5 Tips For Making Over Your Immune System

The benefits of having a healthy immune system are absolutely essential to wellbeing. Without proper immune function, we quickly become the victims of disease - shortening our lives and impacting our capacity for happiness.

1. Get enough sleep:

Getting enough sleep is essential for a healthy immune system. When we sleep, the immune system is reinforced and replenished. Even one night's sleep loss can significantly suppress the immune system.

2. Wash your hands:

Many micro-organisms are passed via skin contact with infected individuals or objects. Washing your hands before touching your face (rubbing your eyes, contacting your mouth or ears) can greatly reduce your exposure to harmful microbes in the environment; this lessens your chance of getting sick and of stressing your internal immune system.

3. Eat nutritious foods:

Making sure your body receives only wholesome, nutritious foods is essential for optimum immune function. Immune-boosting foods include organically grown fruits and vegetables, wholegrain, beans and other legumes, natural oils such as expeller-pressed olive oil, hemp oil, walnut oil, flax oil and coconut butter. Brazil nuts, a rich source of selenium, are particularly good for the immune system.

4. Intake of Vitamin C:

Fresh Kiwis, red peppers and to a lesser extent oranges, are rich sources of vitamin C, which is required by the immune system. Vitamin C is required by immune cells to enable optimal functioning.

5. Take supplements:

One needs to take additional supplements of nutrients and vitamins if the food intake is not providing adequate amounts.