As we discussed in the last blog post, the Paleo Diet can boost your health and immunity by reducing inflammation in the body. But is there more? What else can the Paleo Diet do for our immunity?
An excellent way to see what the Paleo Diet does for our immune systems is to compare its nutritional density to the typical western diet. It’s in this comparison that we notice which things the Paleo Diet has that a typical diet may lack, such as a higher level of fats in addition to a higher density of micronutrients and fiber. Let’s look at the effects each of those can have on our immunity.
How can a higher fat intake affect our immune function? For one, it can keep our organs healthier, keeping us better safeguarded against immunity. A diet high in unsaturated fat, for example, can have protective effects against heart disease or blood clots by keeping LDL cholesterol low and raising HDL cholesterol levels, which improves immune response and resistance against pathogens. But it’s important to keep in mind that the type of fat we consume is key in maintaining health as well, as too much saturated fat can trigger production of inflammatory cells in the body.
What about micronutrients? Let’s look at Vitamin D for starters, since nearly half of Americans are estimated to have a Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is key for immune response since it helps regulate expression of the immune cells mentioned in the previous blog, and lower levels of Vitamin D are linked to a higher susceptibility to infection. While Vitamin D is best acquired in the body through regular sun exposure, you can increase your Vitamin D intake by eating more cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, all of which are very Paleo. Vitamin D aside, there are other micronutrients that Americans tend to have deficiencies in; this includes Vitamins C and B12 in addition to Iron. Iron and B12 can be acquired most easily by eating more meat and fish, while Vitamin C can be had from eating your daily serving of fruits and veggies. If you suspect you aren’t getting enough micronutrients in despite hitting your other nutritional goals, it may be time to try a multivitamin for health’s sake.
Last but certainly not least, let’s take a look at fiber. While it may seem strange that fiber intake would have any impact on immune response, soluble fiber actually plays a role in regulating inflammation in the gut. In fact, in a study where mice were fed a low fat diet, with one group eating soluble fiber and the other going without, it was found that when the mice that were fed the fiber were given an infection, they showed less symptoms and recovered more quickly. This is because soluble fiber contains a protein called interleukin-4, which can make the inflammatory cells in our body pivot from creating an inflammatory environment to neutralizing it, allowing us to better fight off pathogens in our environment.
In conclusion, we believe a balanced diet is the single biggest key in regulating your immune system and fighting inflammation. What’s more, balanced eating will ensure that you get all of the nutrients you need to live better - that said, our snacks can help you get started on achieving a better state of health since they’re made no nasty artificial ingredients or added sugar to help keep you on your path to get back to better.