In the world where the infections and diseases are spreading at a very fast pace, there is a need to take care of yourself and stay healthy. It’s a renowned fact that not all heroes wear capes or uniforms and so it is true for our immune system that is the unsung hero of our body. It fights off with the microbes, bacteria, fungi and other pathogens that enter our body and make us sick. Therefore, it is very essential to keep the immune system strong and maintain the high levels of immunity in the body so that the body resists the microbes and pathogens that enter the body and cause infections.
In this modernized lifestyle, people knowingly or unknowingly consume such foodstuffs that can make their immune system worse making them prone to diseases and infections. Not only the wrong food choices, but some of the other contributors to decreased levels of immunity in the body are stress, sleeplessness, exposure to antibiotics, antibacterial cleansers and more. As you cannot ignore these challenges, you can avoid some of the below-mentioned foodstuffs and beverages and make positive choices to keep the immune system healthy.
No. #1: Foods containing MSG
MSG also stands for Monosodium Glutamate is a preservative that is added to many processed and canned food products as a preservative and a flavor enhancer. MSG is known to trigger some unwanted changes in your thymus and spleen which are the chief organs of the immune system that produce various kinds of lymphocytes and antibodies that fight with the microorganisms that enter your body and keeps infections at bay. MSG puts oxidative stress on these organs and hampers the production of lymphocytes and antibodies thus reducing immunity. It also reduces the number of interleukins in the body which are the signalling molecules with an important role in the modulation of the immune response.
No. #2: Junk Foods
In addition to creating cravings, junk food is known to reprogram your immune system completely. When junk food enters the body, the body acts in the same way as it acts towards the foreign invaders. An experiment was conducted on mice and it was administered food rich in carbohydrates and low in fiber content. After a particular time, it was observed that the body of mice reacting in the same way as it reacts against the pathogen and when the mice were administered with a healthy diet, the immune system kept on reacting the same as it did during the intake of junk food. Junk food keeps your immune system in an activated state for a long time and thus harms the natural ability of the body to fight against pathogens.
No. #3: Packaged Snacks
Packaged snacks have dominated the markets for the last two-three decades and have become the preferred snack choice for most of the people. Packaged snacks are rich in fats and carbohydrate content and contribute to obesity and increase the risk for many chronic ailments. Being preserved with high levels of salt and preservatives, the packaged snacks are the major contributors to elevated levels of blood pressure which may result in heart failure, strokes and more. Also, the large amounts of preservatives present in the packed foods can increase the risk of depression and are known to cause hormonal imbalance in the body. All the conditions like depression, high blood pressure, diabetes are the major contributors in the reduction of immunity and the person becomes prone to infectious and chronic ailments.
No. #4: Alcoholic Beverages
In this contemporary world, people are getting more and more addicted to alcohol-containing drinks. A survey reveals that alcohol addiction is the third largest risk factor contributing to the development of chronic diseases and disabilities in people. Alcohol has a damaging effect on the nervous system as it negatively impacts your mood, thinking ability, behavior, and motor skills and elevates the risk of strokes. Alcohol over-stimulates the heart leading to the increased heartbeat, increased risk of strokes, and leads to cardiomyopathy. The consumption of alcohol in large amounts can lead to liver cirrhosis, fibrosis, fatty liver disease, and alcoholic hepatitis. All these factors contribute to reduced immunity and thereby putting the body at a higher risk of infections. Also, alcohol is known to hamper the activity of the macrophages and impairs the production of B and T lymphocytes thereby making the immune system weak.
No. #5: Fruits and Veggies laden with Pesticides
Whenever you consult a nutritionist or a dietician he will undeniably prescribe you a regime full of fruits and veggies. But have you ever thought the fruits and vegetables laden with high amounts of pesticides can cause serious problems in your body? According to a research, the pesticides can suppress the working of the immune system against bacteria, viruses, microbes, and disease-causing pathogens making the body vulnerable to diseases. Although some of the pesticides have the power to cause changes in the DNA thereby causing abnormalities in newborn infants, tumors, cancer, neurological impairment and more. The pesticides reduce the recognition ability of the immune system against the pathogens and affect the cells of the immune system inhibiting their working mechanisms thus putting your body at the risk of chronic ailments and infections.
No. #6: Caffeine
We always need a cup of coffee in the morning to make a better and energetic start of the day. The boosted levels of energy that aid you in waking up in the morning have significant side effects on your body. The caffeine elevates the cortisol levels in the body which in turn affects the mood and metabolism and incessant elevated levels of cortisol can lead to the weakened immune systems and reduce the ability to remove the damaged or abnormal cells in the body. The elevated levels of cortisol can cause extraction of fat and carbohydrates from the tissues and this causes raised levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol leading to suppression of the immune system. High doses of caffeine can lead to increased panic attacks, insomnia, stomach related disorders, tachycardia, anxiety, restlessness, and addiction. Regular caffeine can hamper the production of T-cells, lowers interleukin production, and suppresses the function of lymphocytes thereby making the immune system weak.
No. #7: Intake of Food laden with Antibiotics
The infections are spreading at a fast pace and even for minor ailments people use antibiotics and this has led to the development of antibiotic resistance among the microbes and pathogens. When you consume food laden with antibiotics, it enters your gut. The gut is home to millions of good bacteria that are the key players contributing to immunity by strengthening the gut barrier. The good bacteria or probiotics make the gut wall stronger and act as a defense against the microbes and environmental toxins. The antibiotics harm this gut flora, reducing their number and thereby making the body prone to infections. Also, the antibiotic resistance has strengthened the infecting power of microbes and made them resistant against the treatments. Also, antibiotics hamper the natural ability of the body to kill the microbes thereby reducing the levels of immunity.
No. #8: Carbonated Beverages
The carbonated drinks are the most beloved beverages among teenagers and grown-ups. Before you sip the glass of soda, just look at the amount of sugar and calories it contains. You will be shocked to know that your one glass of carbonated drink approximately 250mL contains about 28g of sugar and according to the American Heart Association (AHA), the daily intake of sugar in men should be approx. 35g and in women it should be nearly 25.5g. Intake of high levels of sugar can lead to obesity, elevated levels of sugar in the blood and puts the person at risk of diabetes, and strokes. Also, the excessive intake of sugar may cause moodiness, decreased brain function, fatigue, headaches, allergies, and even suppresses the working of the immune system. It caused decreased levels of potassium, calcium, and Vitamins in the body thereby making the body prone to diseases.
No. #9: Sugary Nibbles
It is a well-known fact that most of the people are sweet lovers and they love to consume the products jam-packed with sugar but we should not ignore the fact that sugar is one of those items which are tagged in the list of the foodstuffs to avoid. Some of the uninvited bacterial strains positively bloom on sugar and the more they consume, the faster they multiply and cause an imbalance in the gut where the probiotics are flourishing. They interfere with those probiotics and impart negative effects on the immune system. The sugar in the body fights with Vitamin C for the space resulting in decreased levels of Vitamin C up to 40%. Vitamin C is the core component required for the proper functioning of the immune system and decreased levels of Vitamin C lead to decreased immunity and a weaker immune system.
No. #10: Gluten-Rich Food
Gluten belongs to the family of proteins that are commonly present in wheat, rye, barley, and more grains. Gluten confers high elasticity and extensibility to the food products, it is contained in. Gluten is not harmless for everyone as it serves as an environmental trigger for celiac disease- a food-sensitive encephalopathy. It is one of the proteins that are difficult to digest and it triggers the production of zonulin protein which breaks the walls of your intestine that in turn releases toxins and other harmful substances into your blood-stream which triggers the unwanted immune response in the body. It also triggers some gastrointestinal symptoms that can cause irritability and feeling of discomfort in the body. It may cause deficiency of nutrients in the body and may pose certain threats to the immune system.
No. #11: Canned Soups
Canned soups are one of the popular meals that are admired by the people worldwide. Undoubtedly, the canned soups are loaded with a lot of fiber-rich veggies and some with meat but his fact cannot be completely ignored that for keeping this soups fresh for a longer time, lot of preservatives are added to them along with exceptionally high amounts of salts and certain chemicals which are leached into the soup from the cans in which they are packed. The excess of sodium present in soups may lead to elevated levels of blood pressure and irritate the gastrointestinal tract causing bloating and digestion problems. The fats present in the canned soups are saturated and cause elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the body. Thus, their regular consumption may trigger the risk of atherosclerosis and other cardiac disorders.
No. #12: Canned Fruits
Canned fruits are undoubtedly the best choices for those who don’t have much time to buy groceries every week. Undeniably, the canned fruits are available even when the seasonal fruits are not available but the risk factors related to them cannot be ignored. Canned fruits contain high amounts of sugar and sodium which are the major contributors to diseases like diabetes, hypertension, renal stones, cardiovascular diseases, fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome, and more. Also, artificial colors are added to the canned foods to enhance their appearance. The fruits are dipped in sugar-rich syrups which poses a problem of excessive amounts of sugar and the fruits which are not dipped properly are at a greater risk of getting spoiled. The spoiled fruits pose a risk of Botulism- a foodborne disease. The large amounts of sugar and salt can make the body susceptible to diseases and causes a reduction in immunity.
No. #13: Refined Oils
Undeniably, oils are good for health as they provide Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and the essential fatty acids required by the body for normal functioning. Not all the oils are good for the heath as most of the oils we consume are processed and most of the nutrients and the natural structure of the hydrocarbons in the oil are lost. Regular consumption of refined oils can cause the generation of free radicals in the body which ultimately damages the delicate tissues and causes temporary inflammation in the body. This reduces the normal working capacity of the immune system thereby making you prone to infectious diseases. Some of the refined oils contain omega-6 fatty acids and these are the major contributors to chronic inflammation leading to elevated risks of obesity, cardiac diseases, diabetes, cancer and more.
No. #14: Pickled Foods
Everybody loves to have some extra salty and spicy piece of foodstuff to make a regular meal exceptional. It’s a known fact that pickled foods spice up the meal and can be preserved for longer periods but they have some shortcomings too. The spicy sauerkraut and kimchi have exceptionally good flavor but they are encumbered with lots of salt and preservatives. The salt is the major dehydrating agent, causes excessive fluid retention and may lead to renal diseases. Excessive intake of salt puts you at the risk of increased blood pressure, strokes, and many more. Moreover, pickling reduces the nutritional quality of foods and modifies the taste permanently. The preservatives used in pickling along with the excessive salts puts you at the risk of developing stomach cancer, cramping, bloating and more. All this contributes to making the body prone to infectious diseases and reduces the natural capability of the immune system to kick out pathogens from the body.
No. #15: Red Meat
Red meat includes pork, beef, lamb, mutton and more and is undeniably the best choice for the ones who seek a lot of energy from meat. Red meat is generally rich in saturated fats and long term consumption of red meat can cause high levels of cholesterol in the body thereby making you prone to strokes, atherosclerosis and more. The red meat incorporates a special type of sugar known as NeU5Gc which is known to initiate certain kinds of cancers including stomach cancer, rectal cancer, colon cancer, and more. Also, this sugar is not produced in the human body, so the human body treats it as a foreign invader and starts an immune response against it eventually causing inflammation and reducing the immunity.
It can be said that the type of food you consume affects the body so it is very essential to choose the right kind of food to stay healthy and keep infections at a bay. Always prefer the food that provides appropriate nutrition, vitamins, and minerals that boost up the levels of immunity in the body. These include foods rich in vitamin C and zinc that are very beneficial for the proliferation of the cells of the immune system and enhance their function. I would suggest that you must prefer nuts, fruits, green vegetables, broccoli, turmeric, mushrooms and more to keep yourself fit and healthy.
- Schedule Your Appointment Online
- This Is Why You Should Avoid Eating Too Much Junk Food
Alex Dale – https://www.labiotech.eu/medical/junk-food-immune-system/
- Diet and Immune Function
Caroline Childs-Philip Calder-Elizabeth Miles – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6723551/