A well-functioning immune system plays a vital role in the survival of species. The immune system must be constantly alert so that it could easily perform its functions in the event of foreign invaders. According to a study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, nutrition has a vital role when it comes to immune responses. It also stated that one of the most common causes of immunodeficiency worldwide is malnutrition.
Protein-energy deficiency, as well as a deficiency of single nutrients, could cause a significant impairment of cell-mediated immunity, phagocyte function, cytokine production, and antibody concentration that leads to an altered immune response. Likewise, overnutrition and obesity also play their part in reducing immune responses.
This article looks at the immune system, the factors affecting immune responses, and how it interacts with nutrients across the life course.
What Factors Can Depress Our Immune System?
Every day, we are exposed to different microbes that are potentially dangerous for our bodies. Despite the system’s efficient job of protecting our bodies against disease-causing microbes, there are still unavoidable circumstances when it fails. Here are some factors that contribute to the weakening of our immune responses.
1. Sleep Cycles
Although there are 56% of adults who claim to get enough sleep, according to Gallup survey, there are only 40% of us who sleep at an average of 6.8 hours a night. Studies suggest that getting enough sleep helps boost the immune system as it helps the body and the cells to recharge.
However, getting too much, or too little sleep can depress your immune system. This is because a decrease of cortisol levels in the body happens when one is sleeping. This may suppress the immune function and increase the signals that activate the immune system.
2. Improper Hygiene
Hygiene is another factor that can suppress the immune function. Our body needs good bacteria to keep it healthy. Thus, being over hygienic can also depress the immune system as much as having poor hygiene practice.
3. Cortisol Levels or Stress
Stress also plays a significant role in reducing the efficiency of our immune system. In addition, it also affects our sleep patterns, mood, dietary intake, and physical activity levels especially when it is unmanaged.
4. Food Nutrients
Everyday, we encounter posts, social media influencers, posters reminding us of the importance of eating healthy and having a balanced diet. These reminders must be taken seriously. Studies show that Vitamins C, A, E, B 16, and B12 and minerals like iron and zinc are important in maintaining a healthy and efficient immune system.
5. Supplement Intake
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day. However, some are not able to complete this food required to get all the nutrients their bodies need. Thus, taking supplements are widely done to help support the immune system. One of which is the Superfood Greens Powder, which aids your body in getting minerals and vitamins it needs.
Does an Immune-Boosting Diet Exist?
The immune system is not just a single entity, and to function well requires balance and harmony. Eating enough nutrients is required for the function and health of all cells, including immune cells. There are certain dietary patterns that may prepare the body for harmful microbes. However, according to an article published by Harvard School of Public Health, there is unlikely an individual food that offers special protection against these pathogens.
Each stage of the body’s immune system relies on the presence of certain micronutrients that are found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and meat. One cannot just eat an orange or pop a vitamin pill then expects an immediate boost of vitamin C in the immune system. Registered dietician, Maxine Smith, says “A truly healthy immune system depends on a balanced healthy diet over time.” She further explained that immune system needs to be prepared ahead of time to have the ability to fight these harmful microorganisms.
Can Superfood Greens Powders Help to Boost Your Immune System?
Despite the availability and accessibility of these food, it requires a certain portion for one to attain the number of vitamins and minerals needed to boost the immune system. Often, people do not reach the diversified healthy diet recommended by the World Health Organization. Thus, supplements come in handy, such as Superfood Greens Powder.
What are superfood greens powders and how do they help the immune system? Superfood Greens powder is nutritious blend of fruits and veggies that deliver a nutrient-dense and antioxidant mix to support our health. A good product such as Superfood Greens, contain additional elements like protein and probiotics boosting its benefits.
What are the Main Foods Affecting Immune Response?
Food rich in Vitamin E
Aside from its ability to fight off infection, Vitamin E is part of nearly 200 biochemical reactions in the body and is a critical nutrient in how your immune system functions. Here is some food where you get can Vitamin E:
- Peanuts/Peanut butter
- Oils (sunflower, safflower, soybean)
- Sunflower seeds
Food rich in Zinc
Zinc is essential to produce new immune system cells. Though found mostly on animals, other food also provides a good amount of zinc. This is:
- Lean meats and poultry
- Baked beans
Food rich in Iron
Iron is another essential nutrient needed by the body to carry oxygen to cells. It also plays a part in many of the immune processes. This nutrient can be acquired through eating:
- Red meat
- Chicken/ Turkey
- Canned Tuna/Sardines
- Iron-fortified cereals
How to Maintain a Balanced Diet?
Maintaining a balanced diet is not easy, but it doesn’t mean it is impossible. So, if you want to maintain a healthy diet, here are some of the tips you can do:
- Do not skip any meals: The Narayana Health emphasizes that a normal eating pattern includes 3 major meals with 2 snacks in between and skipping meals lowers your metabolic rate.
- Eat more raw food: Eat more raw foods such as salads, fruits, and vegetables.
- Drink lots of water: Always keep a bottle of water near you wherever you do, whatever you do,
- Choose leaner meat
- Eat five portions of fruits and vegetables per day, if you cannot
- Take supplements
The immune system plays a critical role in keeping the body healthy. A healthy immune system means one could fight off any disease-causing microbes more efficiently. While the idea of boosting the immune system is appealing, doing it has proven to be evasive due to several reasons.
That being said, a diversified yet healthy diet is needed to ensure that your body is getting the right number of vitamins and nutrients for the immune system to work efficiently. One should maintain a healthy diet, paired with supplements to ensure that the immune system is getting the right amount of nutrients it needs.