How Weight Loss Affects Your Immune System And Reduces Inflammation

If you are overweight or obese, you are not alone. But what you might not know is just how bad being overweight is for your body and its ailments. The fat we have on our belly, butt, and thighs is not just ugly flab that weighs down your joints and muscles. Scientists believe that excess fat in the body also leads to inflammation and releases a range of potentially toxic substances which can leave you open to illness, or even trigger it. Covid-19 has brought this fact to light as overweight and obese individuals tend to be more vulnerable to develop a serious complication of Covid-19 called cytokine storm syndrome (CSS). As the immune system overproduces cytokines, the body not only attacks the virus, but also attacks it’s own cells and tissues leading to complications such as multi-organ failure and even death. 

Body fat also damages our metabolism, slowing it down, thus making it even harder for you to lose weight. Exercising to build muscle increases the metabolism and will reduce the overall percentage of body fat as you increase your metabolism.  Lean muscle burns the calories you consume much more efficiently, leading to weight loss and healthy weight maintenance once you reach your weight loss goal. Yoga, tai chi, light weights, and resistance bands can all help you build lean muscle. 

Another important reason why being overweight/obese is so dangerous is that it increases the wear and tear on the joints and supportive soft tissues. In the US, 31% of obese patients reported a formally diagnosed case of osteoarthritis as opposed to 16% of normal weight patients. Obese patients also incur a higher risk complications if surgical management of chronic musculoskeletal conditions is needed. A sedentary lifestyle also decreases longevity along with increasing the potential for other comorbid conditions. Therefore, doing all you can to get down to a normal, healthy weight and reducing the wear and tear on the body from inflammation can do a great deal to improve your overall health.

An increased risk of numerous other health conditions was also observed in obese individuals including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, several types of cancer, gallbladder disease, gout, osteoarthritis and many other conditions as well. 

Watching what you eat can help cut calories, but did you know it can also reduce inflammation and add disease-fighting antioxidants to your diet? Eating a rainbow everyday of fresh fruits and vegetables can help you lose weight even as you eat a more nutritious and balanced diet.

Anti-inflammatory foods include salmon and other fatty fish with Omega-3s, probiotics, found in cultured foods like yogurt and kefir, olive oil, sour Cherries, walnuts and other tree nuts, peppers, ginger, turmeric, green leafy vegetables and cruciferous (pronounced crew-sif-er-us) vegetables like broccoli and bok choy (Chinese cabbage) and berries such as blueberries.

Antioxidants are powerful disease-fighting agents and can quench the fire of inflammation in the body.  found in red kidney bean, blueberries, apples, small red beans, pinto beans, cranberries, artichokes, blackberries and raisins just to name a few.

Fruits and vegetables should be the cornerstones of any attempt to lose weight healthily. The water content and fiber will help you feel full for longer. They are also so tasty that adding these foods to your eating lifestyle will usually mean you will be more likely to steer clear of foods that are bad for you, such as red meat and highly-processed sugary sweets made with white sugar and white flour.

Exercise is key to reducing blood pressure and inflammation, decreasing stress, and elevating mood. Therefore, when used in combination with a healthy diet, you should soon see the benefits of weight loss for your appearance, mood and immune system.


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Known for her successful treatment of mystery illnesses, Amy Drab and her team at Awaken Functional Medicine combine an integrative, functional medicine approach with the appropriate lab testing.

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