India Today

Turn Back the Clock

As with nearly everything else to do with our bodies, the effectiveness of the immune system declines with age. From our twenties onwards the body’s ability to fight infection decreases at a rate of about 2 to 3 per cent a year, gradually leaving us more susceptible to diseases, says Janet Lord, a professor of immune cell biology and the director of Birmingham University’s Institute for Inflammation and Ageing. But, she says, the speed at which this happens isn’t unavoidable. “Ill health should not be an inevitable part of growing old. By understanding what happens to our immune systems as we age, we can break that link.”

Ageing of the immune system is accelerated by the usual baddies: smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, weight gain and an unhealthy diet. By improving these and

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