Boost Your Immune System by Losing Fat
Excess fat around the midsection in particular can turn the body’s defense system against you, leading to heart and other diseases.
Australian researchers found that for overweight and obese individuals, shedding as little as 10 pounds could straighten out an off-balance immune system.
The immune system is made up of many different kinds of cells that protect the body from germs, viruses and other invaders. These cells need to co-exist in a certain balance for good health to be maintained. Many factors, including diet and excess body fat, can tip this balance, creating immune cells that can harm, rather than protect, our bodies.
Scientists have known for some time that excess body fat, particularly abdominal fat, triggers the production of so-called “pro-inflammatory” immune cells, which circulate in the blood and promote inflammation in our bodies. Such chronic inflammation has been linked with coronary artery disease and other health problems. In addition, other inflammatory immune cells, known as macrophages, are also turned on within fat tissue.
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A recent Australian study looked at obese people with Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes who were limited to a diet of between 1,000 and 1,600 calories a day for 24 weeks. (Prediabetes is a condition in which people have high glucose levels, but not high enough to be considered full-blown diabetes).
The results show an 80 percent reduction in the number of pro-inflammatory immune cells, as well as decreased activation of macrophages in the participants’ fat tissues.
“Excess weight disorders now affect 50 percent of adult Australians, with obesity being the major cause of Type 2 diabetes and some cancers,” said study researcher Katherine Samaras, a professor at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney. In the United States, one-third of the population is considered obese.
“The situation has reached crisis point, and people must be made aware that excess fat will affect their immune systems and therefore their survival,” Samaras said.
What better reason than a healthier immune system to lose that weight for good. Most people think that the immune system just protects you against colds, flu and other viruses. But a health immune system keeps everything working properly in your body.
Give your immune system a helping hand this Winter by following a healthy nutrition plan and by training hard to lose those extra pounds. Not only will you look better, but you’ll feel better too.