Do you fall sick often and remain absent from work? Chances are that you may have a weak immune system. Did you know that as your percentage of body fat increases your immune system gets weaker? Read on to find out.
Inverse relationship between obesity and immunity
According to the latest research, obesity and a weakened immune system are interlinked - meaning the greater the weight the lower, your immunity. It is your immune system that fights off diseases and engineers the healing process. High fat means a lowered life expectancy and a greater risk of all the common age-related diseases.
Reasons (apart from food) for gaining weight
Age: The aging process is more closely related to the functioning of the immune system than to your biological age. Means that if you are 50 and have a strong immune system, your biological age will not affect you adversely.
Gender: Men have a higher metabolic rate than women. When women become menopausal, their metabolic rate decreases.
Psychological Factors: Overeating in response to negative emotions such as boredom, sadness, or anger causes stress related weight gain.
Hormonal imbalance or illness: Hypothyroidism and consumption of certain drugs, such as steroids and some antidepressants may cause excessive weight gain.
How can you find out if you have low immunity?
Some common signs of impaired immunity include extreme tiredness, repeated infection, body pain, inflammation, increased allergic reaction, slow wound healing, white discharge, oral thrush (coated tongue), skin infections, vaginal infections, UTI, low grade fever, hair fall, etc.
Ways to improve your immunity
* Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. They contain vitamin C, which is necessary to boost immunity and a host of other known and unknown antioxidants, which work together to prevent aging and preserve immunity. Vitamin C rich foods like oranges, dark green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, strawberries should be included in your daily diet.
* Take a multi vitamin every day to improve energy and immunity.
* Take antioxidants like vitamin A, selenium, chromium, zinc, vitamin C and E daily either in natural form or supplemental form.
* Antioxidant plays an important role in boosting your immunity. Vitamin A rich foods include carrots, spinach and eggs.
* Shun foods that get easily oxidised like processed foods, deep fried foods, cakes, milk powder, high fat meat, etc.
* Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids include flaxseeds, walnuts, fish (sardines, salmon, tuna), soya beans, tofu also help improve your immunity.
* Eat adequate protein to improve immunity. Eggs, dairy, pulses, fish and chicken are good protein sources.
* Green tea is also an excellent source of antioxidants that help improve Immunity.
Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and the founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre