Food lifestyle and immunity

Your immune system is the body’s way of fighting off inflammation and disease causing organisms that can attack your body regularly.

"While no single food will upgrade your immune system, poor nutrition can have a negative effect on the immune system. What counts is having a balanced diet. Just about everyone could stand to eat more fruits and vegetables. They're rich in vitamins and minerals that are good for you. If you’re thinking about getting supplements to cover your nutritional needs, check with your doctor or a Dietitian. Chances are, you’re getting what you need from food, unless you're on a strict diet, are pregnant, or have certain medical conditions."

So a Healthy balanced diet makes you stronger!

Factors that affect your immune system:

· Stress and mental well-being- Chronic stress seems to age the immune system, studies show, making you more likely to get a cold or the flu, chronic diseases such as diabetes, and heart disease. Meditation and yoga can help reduce your stress. Emotional Stress especially as opposed to physical stress may lead to negative behaviour but can be temporary if you able to deal with the situation with a positive outlook. But people who are chronically depressed may need help with stress management techniques and need to seek medical advice. Loneliness can reduce your immune function. Your personal attitude-consistent negative attitude/self

Image, pessimistic or hostile have been shown increased risk to illness

· Age- as people age, sometimes it's harder to fight infections. This could be diet related, so it's really important that we eat healthy balanced meals.

· Genetics- people can inherit allergies towards food, other harmful substances like pollen. Seasonal allergies are caused by an abnormal response by the immune system. This can be treated by avoiding the trigger allergen and taking medication to control symptoms. It's always best to seek medical advice first if you think you have an allergy.

· Restrictive poorly balanced diets-Eating a well-balanced diet can help you receive vitamins and minerals which have a beneficial effect on the immune system. Vitamin A, C.E (antioxidants) may protect cell from free radicals that damage healthy cells and lead to tumours. Vitamin B6, B12, Zinc and selenium can boost your immune system. A well balanced diet can achieve daily intake of vitamins and minerals but if you feel you are deficient then talk to your doctor first.Staying indoors more than usual means we are getting little or no sunshine to get vitamin D. People with little sunshine exposure should consider taking vitamin D supplement 10 microgram each day even in the spring and summer . Vitamin can be bought from pharmacies and supermarkets.

· Running a fever, having an illness-high temperature vomiting diarrhoea can weaken your immune system so it's a good idea to seek medical advice, people who are ill and suffering from disease e.g. HIV/AIDS, cancer and heart disease with feelings of hopelessness can lower their immunity and have higher rates of mortality.

For Medical conditions that hinder absorption of essential nutrients- seek Doctor / Dietitian advice.

· Drugs-heroin and cocaine have been shown to suppress immune functions

· Smoking- this is a major cause of lung cancer and heart disease and contribute to cell damaging free radicals.

· lack of exercise- regular exercise can improve blood circulation and boost your immune system as well help reduce your risk of developing heart disease, obesity, depression, cancers and chest infections

· lack of sleep- good night sleep helps your immune system

· Alcohol- remember moderation is the key to keep your immune system healthy

How can you stay strong and healthy? Here's a check list that may help you.

1. Have good Nutrition -Food plays a major role in maintaining a healthy immune system with protein, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. So eat healthy well balanced diet with adequate daily fluids (see my previous blog on hydration ),

2.Avoid smoking ,

3.Avoid harmful drugs,

4.Drink alcohol in moderation.(see my previous blog)

5.Exercise regularly, ( see my previous blog)

6.Address your emotional needs- stay positive if you find yourself getting depressed, anxious and unable to cope seek professional help

7.Sleep well- if you are having difficulty seek professional help

There are no immune boosting or covid 19 protective food. There is currently no evidence to suggest the taking food supplements will give us disease fighting powers . Having a healthy balanced diet with a variety of foods helps the body get everything it needs.

For specialised Diet and Nutrition advice seek the advice of a Professional Dietitian and Nutritionist Tabby kabeer

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