The Link Between Obesity & Immunity

  • 4 mins read
  • Health Conditions
  • Immunity
  • Dr. Pramod Mane

Obesity is a complex condition within our body involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern. It is a medical problem that increases your risk of health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and liver disorders.

Obesity: A silent demon

Obesity itself has been shown to impair immunity. Now you may be wondering what does it mean?

Our immune system is made up of different cells that protect the body against infections. Excess body fat can change this balance and cause immune cells to attack rather than protect us. Hence, reducing fat and controlling obesity is the key to improve your immunity.

Do you resemble an apple or a pear?

Changes in body weight are more commonly seen in women than men as one approaches middle age. Some fat accumulates in the lower parts of the body below the skin; it gives your body the shape of a pear, while fat in the belly area gives the shape of an apple. The fat inside your belly is the one that can be measured. Where fat ends up is influenced by several factors, including heredity and hormones.

Measure to alter

Body Mass Index (BMI) is an effective way to know if you are overweight. It is the ratio of weight to height, calculated as weight (kg)/height (m2).

– Being overweight is a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9

– Being obese is a BMI of 30.0 or higher

The main culprits: Your cheat day favourites

We all know that eating too much and moving too little can load fat in our bodies. But there’s a little more to the ‘calories in and calories out’ equation. A little mismatch between certain factors may see you scaling up your belt notches.

Here’s what you need to watch out for:

  • Gulping Trans Fats:

If antioxidants are the good guys, trans fats are the supervillains. These sneaky fats present in pizzas, burgers, confectioneries, cakes, and other processed foods contribute to your growing waistline by moving fat to your belly.

  • Cortisol hits the roof:

During times of stress, cortisol levels rise in the body by stimulating fat metabolism. It increases appetite, and you indulge in eating sweet, salty, and processed foods which in turn cause weight gain.

  • Alcohol can earn you a beer belly:

As you gulp your drink, your body turns alcohol into a chemical called acetate, which it can’t store. It thus becomes a vital energy source, and the proteins and carbohydrates swirling around your digestive system are converted to fats by default.

Did you know? The most dangerous fat is the easiest to lose

You don’t need to survive on a salad or hit the treadmill for hours to lose fat. Here are some simple tips to help you lose weight and boost your immunity more effectively:

  • Hike up your metabolism:

A faster metabolism helps burn fat. Avoiding long periods of hunger and intense physical activity can go a long way in reducing weight.

  • Keep track of your diet:

Prioritizing lean protein sources like eggs, chicken, fish, and tofu prevents weight gain, reduces hunger pangs, and helps stabilize glucose levels. Snack on portion-controlled fruits, seeds, and nuts – for weight control and boosting your immunity.

  • Ace your workouts:

Exercise is a big immune booster. Along with helping you shed the extra calories, exercise helps flush out toxins and circulates antibodies that build immunity.

  • Make stress work for you:

Sometimes it’s important to let go of situations you can’t control. Stressing about them should be out of the question. Managing stress keeps a check on your cortisol levels and maintains immunity.

  • Shed those extra kilos naturally:

Your diet intake must consist of high-fibre foods like fruits and vegetables, which help boost your immunity and manage weight.

Fight obesity to win immunity

The bottom line is that there are no quick fixes when it comes to reducing body fat. Enjoying a healthy lifestyle should be the focus. Once you control your fat and boost your immunity, the effects will last a lifetime.

References:

  1. The remarkable effects of fat loss on the immune system. Available from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100420101347.htm. Accessed on 22 April 2021.
  2. Abdominal fat and what to do about it. Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/abdominal-fat-and-what-to-do-about-it/. Accessed on 22 April 2021.
  3. Measuring obesity. Available from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-definition/how-to-measure-body-fatness/. Accessed on 22 April 2021.
  4. Hayes A. The science behind losing ‘BellyFat’. Available from: https://www.menshealth.com/uk/weight-loss/a759282/how-to-get-rid-of-belly-fat/. Accessed on 22April 2021.
  5. Food hacks to manage weight and boost immunity. Available from: https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/5-food-hacks-to-manage-weight-and-boost-immunity-2293901. Accessed on 22 April 2021.

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