Immunity and the Immune System
Since the 1930's the western diet has dramatically changed. This change is due to the change in farming from the natural farming process which has developed over 1000's of years to a modern scientific farming which has changed farming into an industry. This food industry is not interested in producing good quality nutritional food for the nation but food that is easy to store and cheap to produce which in tern will maximise profit. This has changed the western diet to concise of high sugar, fat and protein which is low in vital nutrients.
Not only since the 1930's has the western diet changed but also people's lifestyles have changed. The over use of antibiotics, stress at work, lack of exercise, excessive consumption of alcohol, smoking, use of recreational drugs, increases in obesity and low nutritional status of food all affect the immune system and are contributing to the increase in degenerative diseases in western societies.
Since the 1930's over 3500 man-made chemicals have found their way into modern day food, this does not include hormones, pesticides and antibiotics which are in foods such as meat and grains. These chemicals are not only unnatural but stop nutrients being absorbed and used which hampers the body's action to heal itself.
In the UK today, 50,000 chemicals are released into the environment by industry and 400 million litres of herbicides and pesticides are used. We in the UK consume 83 billion cigarettes, 80 million painkillers, 26 billion alcoholic drinks and a quarter of a million tons of food chemicals. All of this adds up to a nation whose immune systems are seriously compromised.
The immune system is affected for better or for worst by the food that is consumed. Foods such as meat, sugar, salt, saturated fats, alcohol, dairy products and processed foods all have a negative affect on the immune system.
People who consume large amounts of meat are more likely suffer from cancer in later life than those who don't. Meat is high in saturated fats, hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and herbicides. These all compromise the immune system.
White sugar has around 90% of its minerals and vitamins removed which when consumed makes the metabolism become inefficient, contributing to weight problems, poor energy control and unbalanced blood sugar levels.
Alcohol abuse severely compromises the immune system. Alcoholics suffer from malnutrition due to the reduction of food, impaired metabolism leading to weight loss and suffer from toxicity of the intestines. Alcohol is linked to cancer, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Regular heavy drinking can lose up to 10 years of your life expectancy by aging the liver, kidneys, heart and brain. Too much alcohol depletes the body of the minerals zinc, calcium, magnesium and also the B vitamins.?
Salt causes high blood pressure, irritates the stomach and retains fluid.
Dairy produces especially milk causes allergies and intolerances both in adults and children. Milk is also a risk factor for diabetes.
Foods that are good for the immune system are foods that are high in antioxidants such as fresh fruit and vegetables especially broccoli, watercress, carrots and peas. Eating plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and oily fish will boost your immune system. Research has shown that people who consume large amounts of fruit and vegetables have less genetic damage which is one of the precursors to cancer.
Consuming fruit and vegetables such as apples, prunes, citrus fruits, cabbage and lettuce which are high in flavonoids will also boost your immune system. Flavonoids are substances found in plants that can protect your body from disease.
Soy beans are high in isoflavones which are one of the most potent anti-carcinogens of all. Soy products are also good at preventing heart disease.
Oily fish contains Omega 3 oils which keep arteries healthy, reduces the risk of blood clots and lowers cholesterol. Fish high in Omega 3 are salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring.?
Including pre-biotic food such as leeks, Chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, onions, oats and bananas in your diet will strengthen your gut defence system.
Your lifestyle has a huge bearing on your immune system. Pollution, smoking, work stress, lack of sleep, being overweight, lack of exercise and excessive sunbathing all has a negative effect on your immune system.
Pollutants such as pollen, free radicals, household and industrial chemicals, lead, CFCs, carbon monoxide, cigarette smoke, bacteria, pesticides, chlorine, colourants and aluminium are a fact of every day life. These pollutants and toxins have a negative affect on our bodies. The liver, kidneys, skin and bowel are responsible for removing these pollutants and toxins from our bodies. If these organs are working below par due to a suppressed immune system then toxins will remain in our bodies. This will cause allergies and sensitivities and weakening the immune system further.
Stress, repressed anger, depression and chronic worries depress our immune system by reducing the ability of immune cells to form antibodies. It is a well known fact that when we are stressed we are more likely to get ill. Stress increases blood sugar and lipids which contributes to heart disease, infections and cancer.
Being overweight due to lack of exercise and excessive eating can increase the risk of hypertension and diabetes by 10%.
Sun bathing uses up anti-oxidants and can age the skin up to 10 years. Too much exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer.
Smoking cigarettes uses up large amounts of vitamin C and other anti-oxidants, this can leave smokers vulnerable to cancer and heart disease. Smoking ages the lungs, skin, circulation, heart and can lead to early menopause and osteoporosis.?
Since the 1930's both diet and lifestyle has changed. Although there is an abundance of food, it tends to be substandard in nutritional value. The lack of nutrition in our food with the addition of stresses of modern day lifestyles is suppressing our immune systems at a time when we need it most. This combination has lead to a rise in degenerative diseases despite western societies spending billions in health care.
Stewart Hare C.H.Ed Dip NutTh
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