Balanced diet can help improve immune system

Feeding is an absolute essential of life and highly implicated in every kind of health management.

Dr Joseph Kamugisha

Feeding is an absolute essential of life and highly implicated in every kind of health management.

In my previous editions, have always highlighted the importance of immune system and how it can be strengthened simply to answer some of the questions like why people fall sick with presence or absence of risk factors.

We are dressed with biological life that needs internal and external protection. We need internal and external factors to work together for the well-being or better health.

Our internal body protection is done by the immune system. Immune cells fight external invasion into our health.

Important to mention is that Immune cells require good and regular nourishment for good health. This is the reason why people who live in poverty and are malnourished become more vulnerable to infectious diseases.

The increased rate of disease infection might be caused by many factors but malnutrition is one of the important factors to highlight.

Nutrition plays a big role in human development, strength of the immune system and ultimately protection against diseases.

From this point of view, we agree changes in nutrition can easily affect the immune system. For example, some clinical trials done by scientists a few years ago point at protein defienciency as a risk factor at action of immune cells like the T cells and macrophages. This can also reduce the production of immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibody.

Body deficiency in some major micro-nutrients can lead to the development of some illnesses commonly encountered in our society. For example, people with regular oral benign lesions or ulcerations tend to have deficiency in vitamins particularly vitamin A and C.

It is worth understanding that deficiencies in various micronutrients such as zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins like A, D, B6, C, and E can greatly affect the immune responses in human beings.

Most of the minerals and vitamins are rich in vegetables and this is the reason why medics or nutritionists tend to offer greater focus on this aspect of life.

These essential micro-nutrients are highly required by our body and offer health benefits at a wide range. You do not need to take high doses of a single nutrient but balanced and measurable or required quantities.

Some of these nutrients are highlighted below as follows;

Vitamin C that is obtained from most of fruits and partly vegetables plays a big role in the defense of our body but works well with other micronutrients. It does not, therefore, provide all body defence benefits alone.

Vitamin B6 deficiency can depress aspects of the immune response, such as lymphocytes’ ability to mature and spin off into various types of T and B cells.

Supplements with moderate doses can solve the problem of immune deficiency but high doses do not produce any special or addition benefits.

Some researchers have come up with an argument that too much vitamin B6 may promote the growth of tumors or cancer cells.

Recent scientific research also points out at the mega role of vitamin D in body defense and modulator of many body’s biochemical processes.

For example vitamin D, which is produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight, signals an antimicrobial response to the bacterium responsible for tuberculosis. 

We, therefore, agree that vitamin D has a great potential to fight off diseases.

Vitamin B2 enhances resistance to bacterial infections and this has been found to have close connection with immune response enhancement.

Zinc is a trace element essential for cells of the immune system, and zinc deficiency affects the ability of T cells and other immune cells to function as they should.

It is important to have sufficient zinc in your diet at least (15–25 mg per day), but too much zinc can inhibit the function of the immune system.

 Also to highlight is that people with low selenium levels are at greater risk of bladder, breast, colon, rectum, lung, and prostate cancers.

There is a current multi-variant study that links the effects of combination of selenium and vitamin E on prostate cancer prevention.

Dr Joseph Kamugisha is a resident oncologist at Jerusalem Hospital, Israel