Immunity and Our Daily Diet

ImmunityHave you seen the new Red Label tea leaves advertisement? It shows two people; a young man and an old lady, sitting in the bus stop. It is raining and it is very cold. The boy is shivering and the old lady gives her shawl to him. The add ends by the line ‘it’s all about immunity’. What exactly is immunity?

An immune system is a collection of mechanisms within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism’s own healthy cells and tissues in order to function properly. Detection is complicated as pathogens adapt and evolve new ways to successfully infect the host organism.

Disorders in the immune system can cause disease. Immunodeficiency diseases occur when the immune system is less active than normal, resulting in recurring and life-threatening infections. Immunodeficiency can either be the result of a genetic disease, such as severe combined immunodeficiency, or be produced by pharmaceuticals or an infection, such as the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) that is caused by the retrovirus HIV. In contrast, autoimmune diseases result from a hyperactive immune system attacking normal tissues as if they were foreign organisms. Common autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus type 1 and lupus erythematosus. These critical roles of immunology in health and disease are areas of intense scientific study.

You must have often heard elders say that they are still so healthy due to the milk and nutritious food that they were made to have when they were young. Do we, today’s generation, have nutritious food? Today’s generation relies primarily on fast food. Fast food is food that can be prepared and served very quickly. Any meal with low preparation time can be considered to be fast food, such as TV dinners, the term referred to food which is cooked in bulk in advance, kept warm or reheated to order, and sold ready-to-eat from an outlet. This comprises burgers, french fries, pizzas etc. when we order food from outside, how many times do we order normal Indian food like dal, sabzi and roti? How many of us still have milk at least twice a day? I am sure not many!

If you want to be as healthy as the elders in your family when you reach their age you need to start eating nutritious food. This is the only way to build your immunity. This will also help you not fall sick as soon as the weather changes.

The way we, today’s youth, are working, proper nutritious meals are very important for us to survive. Fast food just adds fat and carbohydrates to our body. What about the other nutrients?

It is very important to have a good breakfast in the morning. This is what takes us through the day. You must have noticed that if you don’t eat in the morning, you seem to be tired throughout the day. Very often youth, especially working people, leave for their jobs in a hurry and in the bargain skip their breakfast. If you eat a hearty breakfast in the morning you will not even be sleepy. Try it!

Anjuri Nayar