The link between inflammation and immunity explained
Recent studies show that vegetarian and plant based diets help reduce inflammation. The major driver of disease or unwellness is inflammation, and high levels of inflammation can alter and effect our immunity.
Inflammation happens when the body activates cells to attack pathogens or foreign bodies resulting in redness or inflammation in the area. This is the way the body fights viruses and bacteria to stop us from getting sick. Inflammatory markers are used to measure how high someone’s internal inflammation is – CRP and fibrinogen is used to measure the levels. If a person has a high CRP (C-reactive protein) recorded this shows the body is inflamed and trying to fight something (it can also be caused by digestive issues). Interestingly those who adopt a plant based or vegetarian diet have lower levels of CRP and fibrogen indicating less internal inflammation. This is important because long term inflammation can lead to Type II diabetes, and heart disease. One reason this diet may be anti inflammatory because of the high fibre and phytochemical and antioxidant intake helping to clean, build and strengthen the immune system. In particular caroteniods found in orange coloured vegetables help to boost T-cells (by protecting this cell from oxidative damage) which has a direct effect on immunity. Plant based foods also help to support immunity, garlic is anti viral and helps to support immune system cells, ginger is packed full of phytochemicals and is highly anti-inflammatory, turmeric is also anti-inflammatory and helps to support immune cells, berries are high in flavonoids that help support circulation and impart antioxidant properties. By increasing your plant intake you can help support your immune system and your response to the multitude of attacks your body receives daily.