The immune system is supported by the delicate balance that comes with a healthy lifestyle. Adequate sleep, exercise, and, of course, a healthful diet all contribute to maintaining the body’s system of defense against illnesses. Amanda Austin, registered dietician, nutritionist, and certified food sensitivity expert, points to nutrient deficiencies (especially in vitamin D), frequent exposure to synthetic chemicals in food, and an imbalance of gut bacteria as some of the key contributors to a poorly functioning immune system. Certified Micronutrient Specialist and nutritional consultant Michael Kuhn links certain kinds of food to imbalance in gut bacteria, warning that they “are a vital part of our immune function and overgrowths of pathological bacteria can contribute to illness.”
Another danger to the immune system that food can contribute to is inflammation. “Inflammation seems to be an underlying factor in many conditions including arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and even cancer,” reports Dr. Janet McKenzie, neuropathic doctor and clinic director at Summit Natural Health Centre in Ontario. Certified Clinical Nutritionist Alexander Rinehart agrees, adding that the reason behind this is that the body produces cortisol in an attempt to damper inflammation and cortisol acts as an immune-suppressant as well as an anti-inflammatory.
High levels of sugar can also contribute to weakening the immune system, as sugar slows white blood cells. Excess fats may tax the digestive system, siphoning resources needed to help recovery from illness, as well. The importance that diet plays in maintaining a healthy immune system cannot be ignored and the consequences of consumption should be carefully taken into consideration before we eat. Food contributes significantly to the body’s first line of defense, so eat well!
Story was originally published on February 5th, 2015