Nutrition and Immunity

Ever imagined what nutrition has to do with your Immunity?

The body system is like a city. When it has no army or defense system it gets defeated by external forces. Therefore our immune system serves as our army or defender, which tries to fight against invaders such as germs and keep them out, but if by any chance they get into the body system it deals with them.

As we differ in appearance and personality, so also our immune system differs from person to person which is a general rule. It is said that the immune system of an adult is stronger than that of a child as it has already been exposed to more antigens and developed more immunity. This is a significant reason why children get sick oftentimes compared to an adult or a teenager.

You might be wondering how this is possible; once an antibody is produced, a copy remains in the body so that if the same antigen re-appears, it can be tackled more quickly. This is why some diseases can only be contracted once, for instance, chickenpox can only be gotten once because there’s an antibody built up from a previous attack and it is ready to fight and prevent another attack. This is called immunity.

Humans have three (3) basic types of immunity called innate, adaptive, and passive:

Innate immunity

Every human is born with some level of immunity to invaders. Human immune systems, similar to those of many animals, will attack foreign invaders from day one. This innate immunity includes the external barriers of our body — the first line of defense against pathogens — such as the skin and mucous membranes of the throat and gut.
This response is more general and non-specific. If the pathogen manages to dodge the innate immune system, adaptive or acquired immunity kicks in.

Adaptive (acquired) immunity

This protection from pathogens develops as we go through life. Exposure to diseases or vaccines will help build a wall of antibodies to different pathogens. This is sometimes referred to as immunological memory because our immune system remembers previous enemies.

Passive immunity

This type of immunity is “borrowed” from another source, but it does not last indefinitely. For instance, a baby receives antibodies from the mother through the placenta before birth and in breast milk following birth. This passive immunity protects the baby from some infections during the early years of their life.

Who doesn’t want a healthy immune system? (Raise your hand. No one?) But did you know the role your diet plays in keeping it in top shape to protect you from toxins and infections?

Sadly, too many of us don’t eat enough of the fresh fruits, vegetables, and other foods we need to keep ourselves healthy year-round. Healthy foods provide many substances including vitamins and minerals to keep us strong and healthy. You can’t just eat an orange or grapefruit or pop a vitamin pill and expect one quick burst of vitamin C to prevent a cold and to boost your immune system.

“A truly healthy immune system depends on a balanced healthy diet over time,” says registered dietitian Maxine Smith.

“It’s like training for a battle and preparing your body ahead of time so it can throw a good punch when attacked by viruses, bacteria, and toxins. Other lifestyle practices such as regular exercise and good sleep will better prepare you for the battle.”

With some exceptions, it’s best to get your vitamins and minerals from your food rather than in pill form.
There is some evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies — for example, deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E — alter immune responses in animals, as measured in the test tube. However, the impact of these immune system changes on the health of animals is less clear, and the effect of similar deficiencies on the human immune response has yet to be assessed.

In addition to getting the right nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle as well as a strong immune system; every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:

  • Eat a balanced diet with whole fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and plenty of water. A Mediterranean Diet is one option that includes these types of foods.
  • Don’t smoke (or stop smoking if you do).
  • Drink alcohol in moderation; or not, at all.
  • Perform moderate regular exercise consistently.
  • Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep nightly: Try to keep a sleep schedule, waking up and going to bed around the same time each day. Our body clock, or circadian rhythm, regulates feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness, so having a consistent sleep schedule maintains a balanced circadian rhythm so that we can enter deeper, more restful sleep.
  • Aim to manage stress: This is easier said than done, but some healthy strategies that work well for individuals can be discovered. It can be exercise, meditation, a particular hobby, or talking to a trusted friend. Another tip is to practice regular, conscious breathing throughout the day and when feelings of stress arise. It doesn’t have to belong—even a few breaths can help. If you’d like some guidance, try this short mindful breathing exercise.
  • Wash hands throughout the day: when coming in from outdoors, before and after preparing and eating food, after using the toilet, after coughing or blowing your nose.

Like any fighting force, the immune system army marches on its stomach. Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment. One cannot overemphasize this factor. Scientists have long recognized that people who live in poverty and are malnourished are more vulnerable to infectious diseases.

However, Suntwist Nigeria Limited is here to ensure that you get the right nutrients, in the right proportion within your reach. We make good food readily accessible to all without you breaking the bank. We make your well-being our priority.