You can live a healthy life if you have a good immune system.
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The immune system is the fighting capability of a body against infections.
This can be enhanced with some food items and can also be degraded by a few food items.
This article will cover the list of food items that harms our immune system and also the list of food items that increases our immunity power.
Let us first understand the association between food and immunity.
Connection Between Food and Immunity
Most people might not be highly conscious, but selective foods with low nutritional value can affect their immune system in a negative way.
Foods rich in calories like sugar, saturated fats & excessive salt have hand in lowering the immune system’s abilities.
Hence, it is important to uphold a safe distance from the worst immune foods to lead a healthy life.
Our immune systems are associated with our protein intake.
Eating deficient amounts of protein or foods with partial proteins weakens the immune system, and therefore the probability of getting infections and inflammation in the body, upsurges.
According to research, diet responsibly affects the immune system.
- Nutrition can influence the functioning of white blood cells who are the soldiers to fight against infections.
10 Foods That Decline Your Immune System
1. Added sugar
Every sweetened product available in the market has added sugar and that is very harmful to health, as it disturbs blood sugar levels.
This affects the immune response Studies have linked high blood sugar levels to impaired immune response.
Limiting your intake of sugary foods and beverages may improve your blood sugar management and immune response.
- Salty foods Studies show that high salt consumption can impair normal immune function, promote inflammation, and increase susceptibility to autoimmune diseases.
2. Fast food
Nearly 70% of fast food contains Phthalates. This is very harmful and it adversely affects your immune system.
Fat food consumption should be minimal.
- Fast food increases the chance of health risks and it weakens the immune system.
3. Foods that contain certain additives
To enhance the taste almost every item available in the market contain additives like corn syrup, salt, artificial sweeteners, and the natural food additive citrate.
All these may also negatively affect your immune system.
- Processed foods contain additives like artificial emulsifiers, thickeners, and sweeteners that decline immune function.
4. Foods high in omega-6 fatty acids
Eating more omega-3 and fewer omega-6-rich foods can promote optimal immune function.
This means you should eat more foods high in omega-3 fatty acids – such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, walnuts, and chia seeds.
- Avoid foods high in omega-6 fatty acids – such as sunflower, canola, corn, and soybean oils.
5. Fried foods
Fried foods aren’t good for overall health and can lead to immune disorders.
Fried foods are rich in AGEs.
- Eliminating fried foods such as french fries, potato, fried chicken, fried steak, fried bacon, and fried fish reduces the intake of AGEs.
6. Processed and charred meats
Studies show that processed meats and charred meat have been found to be responsible for many diseases, counting colon cancer also.
- Diets rich in processed meat and meats cooked at high temperatures may harm your immune system.
7. Highly refined carbs
A diet high in refined carbs may harmfully affect your immune system.
Highly refined carbs include pastries, sodas, snacks, white flour, pasta, white bread, white rice, sweets, breakfast cereals, and added sugars.
For a good immune system, you should select nutritious, high-fiber carb sources like vegetables that are rich in starch, oats, fruit, and legumes.
- Always rely on more nutritious carb sources like fruits and starchy vegetables, which is a better choice for your overall health.
8. Certain high-fat foods
A diet high in saturated fat may adversely affect our immune function.
It includes butter, ghee, coconut oil, palm oil, cakes, biscuits, fatty cuts of meat, sausages, bacon, and cheese.
- Eating a well-balanced diet rich in fiber and healthy fats is good for immunity.
9. Artificially sweetened foods and beverages
Some studies reveal that artificial sweeteners have been associated with changes in gut bacteria that may damage immunity.
- Moreover, some research suggests that high intake may lead to the development of autoimmune diseases.
10. Avoid candies, raisins, fruits juice and also unripe bananas, and excessive strawberries
Though these are natural sugar and considered as healthy, they can increase the blood sugar level that affects immunity.
Avoid fruit juices, these are high in sucrose which is not good for health.
Fruits are healthy but they do have natural sugars that negatively affect the immune system.
It also degrades gut health, especially when bananas are unripe.
Unripe fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of lectin which is dangerous to immune functions.
Strawberries are enjoyed all around the world because of their sweet taste.
Though, strawberries release an element called histamine, which leads to congestion and is the substance responsible for causing allergies.
Increased histamine causes sinus. Excess histamine in the body affects the immune system and causes allergic reactions.
It can cause discomfort in your nose region, constant wheezing, headache, etc.
- But, berries are only unhealthy if you overeat them. Consuming it moderately is healthy.
Do you know the worst food ingredient for your immune system?
It is sugar. It is walloping everywhere.
If you consider yourself safe, as you may not be a sweet person then you are wrong because sugar is found in everything and anything.
How to protect your blood sugar health
1. Reduce obvious sugars
Avoid all forms of sweets. Soda, cakes, pastries, and anything creamy and sweet is harmful in one way or another.
2. Read labels
The average American consumes about 17 teaspoons (71 grams) of added sugar daily, but the American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar per day for women and nine teaspoons (36 grams) for men.
We’re certainly not lacking sugar because we are getting it naturally from fruits, vegetables, and grains.
3. Eat more fiber.
If sugar is poison, then fiber is the antidote. Fiber not only keeps your digestion regular, but it also slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, which protects you from sugar spikes.
4. Choose nutrients over calories
Instead of cutting calories, focus on eating more nutrient-dense foods that are high in protein and healthy fats.
You don’t have to eat low-carb, just choose the “right” carbs.
Eating carbohydrates in the form of vegetables, beans, whole fruits, nuts and seeds – all mineral and vitamin-rich foods – is a good way to keep cravings at bay.
The best foods for immunity
Studies show that some fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits, amla, dark chocolate, turmeric, tulsi, ginger, astragalus roots, garlic, broccoli, red peppers, spinach, almonds, and yogurt boost immunity.
So they must be involved in our diet.
Besides these foods, you should also avoid beer, alcohol, smoking, pollution, adulterated cheese, and other dairy products to protect your immunity.
With good exercise and healthy eating habits, you’ll have a strong immunity that will help you to always stay energetic, active, and motivated.
A healthy lifestyle benefits your immune system.
This means you limit foods and drinks high in sugar and salt, processed meats, and fried foods,
All of these foods have negative effects on your immunity.
Follow a balanced diet rich in whole, nutrient-dense foods, and limit your intake of ultra-processed foods as much as possible to boost your immune system.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What foods thcalm e immune system?
A: Omega-3 fatty acids like those in salmon and chia seeds are foods that calm the immune system.
Olive oil and Omega 3 are anti-inflammatory so they help fight inflammation.
Colorful fruits and vegetables are also antioxidants, flaxseeds, and spices like ginger, rosemary, basil, and turmeric boost the immune system.
Q: Does coffee affect the immune system?
A: Yes, caffeine affects the immune system. It also weakens its ability to remove damaged or abnormal cells.
Intake of more coffee than recommended results in higher cortisol levels, which is basically a stress hormone.
Q: Does fasting increase immunity?
A: Yes fasting increases the making of white blood cells. It helps in the renewal of the entire immune system.
Q: Is rice anti-inflammatory?
A: Brown rice is one of the anti-inflammatory foods. They are rich in fiber which aids in fighting inflammation.