top of page

Food and Immunity

Updated: Oct 17, 2021

The role of nutrition as a factor in the protection of health is substantial and very important in maintaining a balanced lifestyle and a healthy life. Indeed, studies have shown that the way you eat affects the risks of the most common diseases, whether cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes.

Sushi Zurich

However, to establish more precise nutritional knowledge to prevent these diseases and improve people's health, we need to closely learn the relationship between food and Immunity and the immune system. And on this framework, we offer you this article in which not only we focus on analyzing the relationship between food and Immunity in general, but also a clear understanding of the role radish,sushi, and ramen soup play in boosting our immune system.

The relationship between food and the Immune system:

Indeed, the interrelationships between nutrition and immunity are two-way and complex. Like any organ or system, the immune system needs proteins, energy, and different types of vitamins to ensure its normal functions, based on cell division mechanisms and protein synthesis, and numerous enzymatic activities. For instance, these needs are clearly demonstrated by the susceptibility to infections observed during different types of malnutrition and deficiency, and which can result from alterations in so-called specific (B and T lymphocytes) or non-specific (phagocytic cells) immunity.

Conversely, activation of the immune system, which most often results from an infection, results in an inflammatory state and the production of mediators, cytokines, the effects of metabolism, and the metabolic system. For example, the hyper catabolism of acute and chronic infections, the cachexia of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), can cause a severe immune reaction.

This article will help you understand the different links between nutrition and immunity. However, the perception of these complex interrelationships already makes it possible to consider specific therapeutic approaches. What are the foods that boost our immune system to fight colds and infections?

What is the immune system?

Sushi Zurich

The immune system is a network of cells that organize themselves to defend our bodies against outside organisms, such as germs. This defense system is generally affected by directly eliminating the aggressor through specific cells (white blood cells) by devouring the intruder (phagocytosis) or producing various defense substances such as enzymes and cytokines or antimicrobial peptides. And different types of physical activities, as well as healthy and balanced diets in addition o following a healthy life pattern, can enhance a healthy life.

Yet the general design of our immune system is complex and mostly influenced by a certain balance of various factors, not just a diet, and particularly not by specific use of any nutrients. Yet, a diet that consists of various minerals and vitamins combined with some healthy lifestyle factors such as adequate sleep and exercise and low stress can boost the immune system and its functioning in different seasons, especially in Winter.

Composition of the immune System

The immune system exists in all living beings and is made up of two barriers that have a complementary role:

The first barrier;

innate immunity is made up of cells in our tissues, such as skin cells (keratinocytes) and immune cells such as white blood cells (polymorphs and macrophages). The role of this immunity is to eliminate, not specifically, but instantly, the aggressor by digesting it (phagocytosis) and causing an inflammatory reaction. The constituents of this inflammation (enzymes, free radicals, and cytokines) will help eliminate the intruder. Once digested, the foreign body debris will be used to specifically activate cells (lymphocytes) of the 2nd barrier of immunity.

The second barrier,

adaptive immunity, is specific and relies on T and B lymphocyte cells.

These lymphocytes, once educated, will specifically recognize the aggressor or its debris and then respond appropriately to suppress any intruder who may have survived the action of the 1st barrier of immunity. Each attacker will then be eliminated by the cytotoxic activity of the T lymphocytes and by the movement of the antibodies produced by the B lymphocytes.