How Good Nutrition Supports Your Immune System

When you stop to think about how hard your immune system works for you, it’s nothing short of amazing. It’s an incredibly complex system that works nonstop to protect and defend your body from infection — and it’s also a system that depends on good nutrition in order to function properly.

As Malaysia does not experience the four seasons, residents are fortunate that they don’t have to deal with sickness that tends to come with cold weather. However, Malaysia’s weather can also be tricky; it can be hot and dry or wet and rainy. Studies have shown that heat waves can reduce the body’s immune response to the flu, or affect vaccines and nutrition. This is why strengthening your immune system is so important. Your immune system is made up of your own personal army of ‘soldiers.’ They protect your body by identifying anything foreign, from a virus to a bacteria to a parasite, and then seeking it out and destroying it.

Our bodies depend on proper nutrients and a healthy lifestyle to keep our defenses strong.

Here are three nutrition tips to help you keep your immune system in tip-top shape:



Your immune system has some ‘special forces’ in the form of white blood cells. These cells produce specialized proteins called antibodies that seek out and destroy invading viruses and bacteria. Since antibodies are proteins, you need adequate protein in the diet to ensure you’ll be able to manufacture the antibodies your body needs. Healthy protein foods, like fish, poultry, lean meats, soy foods and low-fat dairy products provide the building blocks that your body needs to make these specialized proteins.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are key players in immune system health because they’re great sources of vitamins A and C, as well as phytonutrients. Vitamin C encourages your body to produce antibodies, and vitamin A supports the health of your skin and tissues of your digestive tract and respiratory system. All of these act as first lines of prevention against foreign invaders. Many of the phytonutrients found in fruits and veggies act as antioxidants, which can help to reduce oxidative stress on the body that may weaken your body’s ability to fight of illness.

Good Bacteria


Keeping your digestive system healthy is also important in supporting immune function. Your digestive tract is home to trillions of bacteria that have numerous functions in promoting health. Some strains of bacteria help you break down the fiber in your foods, others consume intestinal gas, while others produce vitamins like vitamin K and vitamin B12.

When your system is populated with these “good” bacteria, they also serve to crowd out the potentially harmful bacteria that might enter your digestive tract. Some of the best sources of these friendly bacteria are cultured dairy products, like yogurt and kefir. As you know, whenever you’re trying something new, make sure to check with your doctor or other professional about the amount to take that’s right for you.

Some people suffer medical conditions that affect the operation of their immune systems. Diet alone won’t improve the function of a compromised immune system. But for healthy people, eating well can help keep your immune system healthy and strong.

To help your body in the fight against foreign invaders, your internal ‘army’ needs the best nutrition possible. So call in the troops!

The article is contributed by Susan Bowerman, M.S., RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND – Senior Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training, Herbalife Nutrition.

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