How Good Nutrition Can Prevent Infections is discussed in this article. We hope you find it informative and helpful for your research.
Role of Nutrition in Immunity
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The effect of infectious diseases on nutrition, particularly in infants and children is the focus of this article. It is probably of more significance than that of nutrition on an infection.
Most infectious diseases are accompanied by a fever with a resulting increase in metabolism. The increased rate of breakdown of the tissues creates a need for extra nutrients.
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However, where the diet is barely adequate, these demands will not be met. This is the case in millions of families. Growing children need a high proportion of these nutrients in any case and the failure to meet a sudden increase in their needs due to illness may prove to be fatal.
An attack of malaria or measles with the accompanying fever will often precipitate kwashiorkor. An infestation of hookworm will draw on the very limited supplies of food eaten.
A child living on a borderline diet may not show any obvious signs of malnutrition until it suffers an attack of malaria or has measles. Recurrent respiratory infections will often result in keratomalacia and eventually blindness.
Nutrition plays a vital role in protecting the body against the invasion of infecting organisms. The nutritional state of a community will also have a bearing on the spread of diseases due to micro-organisms.
The body has several different lines of defense against invading organisms. One of these is the skin and mucous membranes lining the respiratory tract and the cornea of the eye.
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Dietary deficiencies lower the health of the epithelial cells of these membranes and restrict their recovery. As a result, the entry and hold of infective organisms are easy.
The nutrients, vitamins A and C, are particularly associated with the health of the epithelial cells. The disease organisms which enter through the epithelial cells are those responsible for respiratory and eye infections.
Where people are living on a diet that is barely adequate, such infections will spread rapidly through the community. Insufficient suitable foods will, in many instances, increase susceptibility to these diseases.
People living on a poor diet will also often be overcrowded with poor sanitary arrangements. These are conditions that are ideal for the spread of infections and so these people are continually exposed to infection.
Good nutrition will build up resistance to some infectious diseases, but will not be a safeguard against all infectious diseases.
Measles, for example, will spread among well-nourished and poorly-nourished people. In these diseases, as well as those mentioned above, the course the disease takes will be related to nutrition.
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Nutrition plays a vital role in enabling the body to overcome an infection once established. A good state of nutrition is of great importance in determining the result of infection.
If the body is in a poor state of nutrition, it will not be able to withstand the toxic effects produced in the body by the micro-organisms. These toxins may cause death.
Medical Opinion estimates that a large percentage of the children who die in hospitals from diseases not listed as malnutrition, do so because of a poor nutritional state.
Whether a cold develops into pneumonia or measles results in kwashiorkor or death will depend on the resistance put up by the body. This will be related to the nutritional state of the person.
Conclusively, the influence of infectious diseases on food production can cause repeated attacks of illnesses and will reduce the working capacity of the breadwinner, increase poverty, and affect food production.
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Good nutrition is of great importance in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. The need to eat good nutritious meals to prevent inflections is a necessity.