How Obesity Impacts the Immune System

It has long been understood that obesity has a negative impact on personal health and wellbeing. Obesity makes you more likely to develop chronic disease, including heart disease, cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and more. It has also long been understood that obesity makes individuals more vulnerable to mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. These facts are advertised often and many of those who struggle with obesity are already well aware of the potential risks they face by carrying around extra weight, but there is an additional risk that many remain unaware of, and this has to do with the connection between personal health and obesity.

Obesity has a negative impact on the immune system, exposing individuals to an increased risk of flu, the common cold, and a plethora of other minor health issues that can create additional stress on your daily life.

The Connection

Obesity is associated with immune functionality for several reasons. The first connection is based on nutrition. The type of diet that is associated with obesity—one that is rich in simple carbohydrates, including sugar, is not ideal for immune health. Instead, a diet that is loaded with vitamins and nutrients, is heavy in plant-based foods, and rich in fiber is going to support optimal immune health. This is also the type of diet that can help you to lose weight, which is why it is often possible to improve immune health as you lose weight. The amount of fats and protein that you eat can also directly impact your immune health.

Another factor that impacts the immune system is exercise. Exercise is well known to promote optimal heart health, to reduce your risk of certain cancers, and even to improve your sleeping habits and mental health. However, exercise can also have a direct impact on your immune health. Exercising daily can increase certain immune cells, thereby reducing your risk of contracting infection. Daily exercise has been shown to help manage cortisol levels, which helps to keep stress levels appropriately balanced, and managing stress can further help to keep your immune health in order.

There are many reasons to want to begin losing weight, and your personal health should be at the top of those reasons. In addition to helping support a healthier lifestyle with reduced risk of heart attack or stroke, losing weight can also help you to avoid common health issues that come up, such as the flu. For more information on how losing weight can benefit your personal health, contact your weight loss doctor.

How Obesity Impacts the Immune System