In the pandemic world, our immune system can mean the difference between being hospitalized or not. Many people caught coronavirus and never had any symptoms. Scientists conclude that the immune system is primarily responsible for the severity of coronavirus and other diseases.
https://www.advisory.com/en/daily-briefing/2020/08/13/asymptomatic. These three links expound the immune system’s efficacy in protecting a person to a level that symptoms may never be present.
Almost half the people infected with COVID-19 had no symptoms. People caught the virus, had no symptoms, yet were able to infect others.
Food and Immunity
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/how-and-why-does-diet-influence-immune-function. The immune system operates on two levels – what it knows already (innate) and what it can learn quickly (adaptive). Our gut, the microbiome inside our digestive system, influences the immune response. Healthy foods lead to a vigorous immune reaction, while diets high in sugar, salt, saturated fat, and more negatively impact the ability of the immune system to protect us.
https://www.cell.com/immunity/pdf/S1074-7613(19)30416-9.pdf. Western diets (WD) usually are exceedingly high in processed foods and contain excessive amounts of sugar. An overabundance of sugar increases inflammation which then increases levels of TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis-alpha), CRP (C-reactive protein), and IL-6 (interleukin-6). The immune system suffers (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26897277/) accordingly. Over time, the innate system does not respond effectively.
Our gut is the bastion of exchange – good nutrients from our foods are extracted and sent into the bloodstream. Disturb the delicate balance in the gut and it becomes difficult to maintain our health and avoid disease.
Western Diet and Disease
https://consultqd.clevelandclinic.org/the-role-of-the-western-diet-in-inflammation/. High levels of saturated fat can inhibit white blood cell function. Refined carbohydrates alter the microbiome in the gut and disrupt digestion. An overabundance of salt can have several unhealthy reactions, including increasing the risk of autoimmune disease.
Many nutritionists tell us that WDs can lead to chronic diseases, cancers, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Add a sedentary lifestyle along with increased toxins, and the health of an individual can wheel out of control. The immune system is not providing the protection needed to fight the occasional virus, bacteria, or fungus.
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/nutrition-and-immunity/. The Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and other healthy foods. Studies show that this type of diet lowers the level of inflammation and the risk of disease. Higher levels of fiber combined with short-chain fatty acids restore gut health and improve immunity.
I am an advocate for balanced nutrition and restricted calories. Lower overall calories and maintain all nutrients the body needs daily, and your immune function improves rapidly. Inflammatory responses (CRP, IL-6, and more) fall as a result. The risk of disease also wanes.
Our immune system protects us. A single unhealthy meal will not have much impact. However, it is not a single meal, but many adopt the lifestyle that can disrupt your immune response. Food is one part of the equation. Other lifestyle choices are equally important – smoking, alcohol, exercise, toxins, stress, and more impact the immune response’s efficacy.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com