By Claire McDonnell Liu, Nutritionist at Leafie.org
Low Carb Nutrition and Your Immune System
The global COVID-19 challenge has elevated questions around how we can best improve our immunity response. Our immune system generally performs a remarkable job in defending us against pathogens that can cause ill health. Yet at times germs or viruses invade successfully and make us sick, particularly when faced with novel antigens.
The immune system defends against viruses and diseases by producing antibodies to kill pathogens. White blood cells and the lymphatic system act as key players in our immune system defence by identifying and eliminating foreign molecules and cells from the body. Our intestinal microbiome can act to trigger an efficient immune response within the body, particularly by regulating immune homeostasis.
There are many studies into the positive effects of lifestyle to enhance immune function. Nutrition, exercise, age, psychological stress, smoking, excess alcohol and other factors may improve or deplete our immune response.
The idea of ‘boosting immunity’ is enticing, but can also be misleading. The immune system is just that a highly complex system, not a single entity. This system requires homeostasis balance to work efficiently. Quick fix supplements or wonder products cannot compete with our own healthy habits and choices around lifestyle. Developing a healthy lifestyle can be considered our first line of defence, playing a significant role in maintaining a healthy immune system that can defeat invading pathogens.
Low Carb Nutrition
A healthy immune system needs regular good nourishment. Studies suggests that deficiencies in micronutrient may deplete immune responses. Low-carb diets typically limit highly processed and refined foods, including breads, cookies, chips, sweets, pastas and starchy vegetables and sweetened drinks. Often replacing nutritionally deficient filler foods with increased portions of low carb vegetables and salads, healthy fats and proteins. Food choices that may naturally increase nutrient intake, such: as herbs; greens; oily fish; grass fed meats; free range eggs; cold pressed oils.
Dietician Feng-Yuan Liu presents at Low Carb Down Under explaining how to practically apply low carb nutrition changes. See our resources section for an up to date list of Low Carb Practitioners in your area.
Adopting good health habits are the best steps you can take toward naturally keeping your body, including the immune system, strong and healthy. Additional general healthy lifestyle habits that may help to improve your immune system:
- Don’t smoke.
- Eat a ‘nutrient dense’ diet
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Drink alcohol only in moderation.
- Prioritise sleep and stress management