Immunity refers to our body’s ability to fight against infections caused by pathogens like bacteria, viruses, fungi etc. Immune system is one of the major system of body as it is involved in development of immunity against diseases and protects our body against pathogens. A good diet is required for boosting our immune system otherwise it can get weak and will lose its ability of protecting the body from diseases.
If a person gets sick every 1-2 months, he has low immunity.
But what can cause low immunity?
5 important reasons that can aid to the weakening of immune system and ultimately immunity are:
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is known as the main cause of weak immune system. This deficiency is common throughout the world. Different reasons are there for vitamin D deficiency, most major is the diet poor in vitamin D. Vitamin D containing foods are very few and those few foods are very rare in our diet. Those foods are salmon, cod liver oil, beef liver, and egg yolks. Vitamin D is also known as sunshine vitamin due to the fact that sunlight is the rich source of vitamin D. So, less exposure to sun can also contribute greatly to this deficiency.
Iron is the major component of hemoglobin that carry oxygen around the body through blood. Iron deficiency is another common mineral deficiency specially among women worldwide. This deficiency plays a role in weak immunity. Being a player in maintaining the immunity, low iron levels can make a person more prone to infections since red blood cells in blood carry oxygen to the spleen, which is the site for the fight against infectious pathogens. If a person is iron deficient then his immune cells cannot get enough oxygen and hence can’t fight the infectious agents and protect body against diseases. Major reason for iron deficiency is the diet poor in iron. Improper iron absorption in the body is another contributing factor for this deficiency.
Zinc is known to be the mineral of immune system. Deficiency of zinc can cause an overreaction of immune system to a pathogen during sepsis and hence it gets kind of out of control, leading to excessive inflammatory response. Zinc keeps immune system in check and make sure that it works in balance but if there is low level of zinc, then this balance is altered and hence immune system gets out of hand. Having diet poor of zinc and abnormal zinc absorption in body are major causes of zinc deficiency.
Too little water
Major portion of our body consist of water that reflects its importance in maintenance of health. Consuming too little amount of water can not only cause dehydration, affect skin and other parts of body, but our immune system is also greatly affected by it. Water helps our body to get rid of toxic materials and byproducts of metabolism and aid the immune system in fighting the infections.
Too much sugar
Sugar and immune system are considered as foes. Why? Because when a person consumes too much sugar or carbs, it is broken down into glucose and this glucose is chemically similar in structure to that of vitamin C which is an important mineral for immune system. When immune cells search for vitamin C, they may come across glucose and take it up in place of vitamin C due to structural similarity and hence performance of immune system is affected by about 70%, ultimately lowering the immunity.
How to overcome weak immunity?
First thing is to improve the diet, take diet rich in minerals, increase consumption of vegetables and fruits, more intake of adequate amount of water and cut off too much carbs. Dietary supplements are also available to improve immunity.
Today, nutritionist are realising the benefits of phytonutrients that are the chemicals produced by plants. Phytonutrients are a great source of nutrients that are beneficial for the body in various ways.
One of the sources of phytonutrients is the herb Echinacea that is known as cone flower. This herb boosts the immune system and lower the symptoms of colds, flu, some other infections and disease conditions.
Sambucus is another medicinal plant whose fruit is known as Elderberry. It is rich in iron, potassium, phosphorus, and copper, vitamin A, B, and C, proteins and dietary fiber. It is effective against allergies, energize the immune system, helping it in protecting the body against bacterial infections.
Another plant with phytonutrients is the Astragalus and it has a long term history of being an immunity booster. Saponins, flavonoids and polysaccharides are its three components that make it a great immunity booster and helps the immune system to fight off the disease causing agents.
Make phytonutrients part of your diet today and see improvements in your immunity for yourself.
About Dr Cheryl Kam
Dr Kam puts the value back into healthcare by focussing on prevention and optimising your wellness today, to prevent expensive illnesses tomorrow.
Schedule an appointment to begin your journey to wellness!