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Immunity

A Healthy Immune System Equals a Healthy Body.

The immune system is what protects your body from diseases and infections. It's the bodily system that produces the immune response to defend your body from foreign substances, cells, and tissues. The immune system includes various parts of the body including the thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, special deposits of lymphoid tissue (such as those in the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow), macrophages, lymphocytes including the B cells and T cells, and antibodies.

Many cells and organs work together to protect the body. White blood cells, also called leukocytes, play an important role in the immune system.

Some types of white blood cells, called phagocytes, chew up invading organisms. Others, called lymphocytes, help the body remember the invaders and destroy them.

One type of phagocyte is the neutrophil, which fights bacteria. When someone might have bacterial infection, doctors can order a blood test to see if it caused the body to have lots of neutrophils. Other types of phagocytes do their own jobs to make sure that the body responds to invaders.

The two kinds of lymphocytes are B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes. Lymphocytes start out in the bone marrow and either stay there and mature into B cells, or they go to the thymus gland to mature into T cells. B lymphocytes are like the body's military intelligence system — they find their targets and send defenses to lock onto them. T cells are like the soldiers — they destroy the invaders that the intelligence system finds.

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On the whole, your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes it fails: A germ invades successfully and makes you sick. is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system working properly.

Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:

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  • Don't smoke.
  • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
  • Try to minimize stress.
  • Keep current with all recommended vaccines. Vaccines prime your immune system to fight off infections before they take hold in your body.

As we age, our immune response capability becomes reduced, which in turn contributes to more infections and more cancer. As life expectancy in developed countries has increased, so too has the incidence of age-related conditions.

With age comes many physical changes. Once the body reaches physiologic maturity, the rate of degenerative change exceeds the rate of cell regeneration. However, people age at different rates, so the elderly population is not a homogeneous group; there is great variability among individuals.

The following are typical physiologic changes that can affect nutritional status:

Body composition changes as fat replace muscle, in a process called sarcopenia. Research shows that exercise, especially weight training, slows down this process. Because of the reduction in lean body mass, basal metabolic rate (BMR) declines about 5% per decade during adulthood. Total caloric needs drop and reduced protein help slow the body's ability to respond to injury or surgery. Body water reduces along with the reduction in lean body mass.

Gastrointestinal (GI) changes contain a decrease in digestion and absorption. Digestive hormones and enzymes decrease, the intestinal mucosa deteriorates, and the gastric emptying time increases. As a result, two conditions are more likely: pernicious anaemia and constipation. Pernicious anaemia may result because of hypochlorhydria, which reduces vitamin B absorption. Constipation, despite much laxative use among older people, may result from slower GI motility, insufficient fluid information, or physical inactivity.

Musculoskeletal changes occur. An advanced drop in bone mass starts when people are in their 30s or 40s; this accelerates for women during menopause, making the skeleton more vulnerable to fractures or osteoporosis. Sufficient intake of calcium and vitamin D helps to maintain bone.

Geriatric nutrients should consider sensory and oral changes. Reductions in all of the senses, particularly inside the taste buds that affect the perception of salty and sweet tastes, may affect appetite. Xerostomia, absence of salivation, affects more than 70% of the elderly. Also, denture wearers chew less efficiently than those with natural teeth.

Other organ changes may occur. Insulin secretion is decreased, which can lead to carbohydrate intolerance, and renal function deteriorates in the 40s for some people.

Cardiovascular changes may ensue. Reduced sodium intakes become important, as blood pressure increases in women over age 80 (but, interestingly, it declines in older men). Serum cholesterol levels peak for men at age 60 but continue to rise in women until age 70.

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Immunocompetence reduces with age. The lower immune function means less ability to fight infections and malignancies. Vitamin E, zinc, and some other supplements may improve immune function.

A form of malnutrition that is surprisingly common even in affluent countries is known as "micronutrient malnutrition." Micronutrient malnutrition, in which a person is deficient in some essential vitamins and trace minerals that are obtained from or supplemented by diet, can happen in the elderly. Older people tend to eat less and often have less variety in their diets. One important question is whether dietary supplements may help older people maintain a healthier immune system.

Modern medicine has come to appreciate the closely linked relationship of mind and body. A wide variety of maladies, including stomach upset, hives, and even heart disease, are linked to the effects of emotional stress.

Whether it comes on quick or builds over time, it's important to understand how stress affects your health - including the impact it has on your immune system. During a period of stress, particularly chronic stress that's frequent and long-lasting, your body responds by initiating a stress response. This stress response, in turn, suppresses your immune system - increasing your chance of infection or illness.

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Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. But does it help to boost your immune system naturally and keep it healthy? Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system.

The immune system is affected by sleep and rest, and sleep deprivation is detrimental to immune function. Complex feedback loops involving cytokines, such as interleukin-1 and tumour necrosis factor-α produced in response to infection, appear to also play a role in the regulation of non-rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Thus, the immune response to infection may result in changes to the sleep cycle, including an increase in slow-wave sleep relative to REM sleep.

Water plays many important roles in your body, including supporting your immune system. A fluid in your circulatory system called lymph, which carries important infection-fighting immune cells around your body, is largely made up of water. Being dehydrated slows down the movement of lymph, sometimes leading to an impaired immune system.

How We Can Help

Dietary assessment has a key role in all such conditions. Comprehensive diet programs, providing counseling and targets for calorie intake, are more efficient than dieting without guidance ("self-help")

We at Rich Inserts have a unique approach towards Immunity management. Our immunity management program initiates from the in-depth analysis of your eating habits and lifestyle to identify any gaps and loopholes that may be present. Based on these findings our diet experts suggest certain subtle refinements in your diet and lifestyle habits. Also, they offer you a customized diet plan according to your condition, keeping in mind your food preferences and convenience. If required, they may also suggest to you some supplements that may be needed to take care of the nutritional gaps or for other health benefits. We believe in correcting the root cause instead of eliminating the symptoms.

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