How Does Nutrition Affect The Immune System?

The immune system is our armor against attacks from bacteria, viruses, toxins, and parasites. It offers us two weapons with which we can defend our body- innate immunity, and adaptive immunity. Innate immunity is provided by physical barriers like your skin and mucous membranes that act as the first line of defense when the antigens hit your body. 


On the other hand, adaptive immunity consists of proteins and specialized blood cells that directly fight the infections in your body. This immune system possesses a memory that remembers specific infections and gradually becomes immune to them. 


Without a well-functioning immune system, your health will deteriorate quickly. Certain lifestyle choices like excessive smoking and drinking have a massive impact on the immune system. So does nutrition or your diet


How does nutrition affect the immune system?


You can strengthen your body to fight against viruses and bacteria by exposing it to the right kind of food containing certain key nutrients. Natural killer cell activity is boosted by diets that are based on whole plant foods. These natural killer cells can then effectively fight against viruses. 


Foods that strengthen the immune system


  • Fruits and vegetables- The brighter these are, the more antioxidants they contain. It also means that they are made of anti-inflammatory phytochemicals like carotenes, flavonoids, polyphenols, and anthocyanidins. 


  • Mushrooms- Medicinal mushrooms like Chaga are effective immunity boosters as they contain antioxidants and polysaccharides. 


  • Bitter greens- Arugula and dandelions are considered to be great for your liver and also provide support to your natural killer cells. 


  • Flax seeds- Anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and flax seeds are a great source of these. These can be healthy additions to your daily meals as they are ideal for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, and E. 


There are other foods, too, that you can consume to strengthen your immune system. Such as magnesium, selenium, and vitamin C. 


Let us look at the foods you must avoid. 


Foods that weaken the immune system


  • Fried foods of any kind are a huge hindrance to building a strong immune system as they cause inflammation.



  • Try to avoid highly processed foods like sugars and refined grains. These deplete the helpful nutrients and cause inflammation. 


These foods are not only harmful to your immune system but also to your gut and your overall body. You could be causing a great deal of self-harm by consuming them and increasing the risk of chronic inflammation, which further weakens the gut wall. However, plant-based food leads to gut bacteria that are beneficial for the body. 


Summing up


What you eat and the nutrients you consume, along with various other factors, can determine the strength of your immune system. A shift from fried and processed foods to whole, plant-based food can create an immense difference in your body so you can lead a long and healthy life.