The intake of foods that weaken the immune system is on a faster pace and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down at any time. People find these foods very delicious and mouth-watering but do not know that they are oblivious to the fact that they are injurious to the immune system. These foods are readily available and are only a fingertip away. It is no surprise that you think these diets are foods to strengthen the immune system.
Eating healthy may seem like it is a lot of work, but the benefits of eating healthy outweigh any time you may have to spend preparing your meals. Here are some benefits of healthy eating:
Foods That Weaken Immune System
You will agree with me that staying healthy at all times requires the addition of foods that build your immune system. Apart from taking foods to strengthen the immune system, it is worth agreeing that there should be a concern on what foods weaken your immune system.
When the immune system gets weakens, the body cells become inactive and this opens the doors for many unwanted visitors. The bacteria and viruses move in to unleash undesirable menace. This article will then explore the list of foods that weaken your immune system and also address the varieties of beneficial foods to strengthen the immune system.
What Is Our Immune System?
On a daily basis, we are constantly exposed to potentially harmful microbes of all sorts. Our immune system, a network of intricate stages and pathways in the body, protects us against these harmful microbes as well as certain diseases. It recognizes foreign invaders like bacteria, viruses, and parasites and takes immediate action. Humans possess two types of immunity: innate and adaptive.
Innate immunity is the first-line defense from pathogens that try to enter our bodies, achieved through protective barriers. These barriers include:
- Skin that keeps out the majority of pathogens
- Mucus that traps pathogens
- Stomach acid that destroys pathogens
- Enzymes in our sweat and tears help create anti-bacterial compounds
- Immune system cells that attack all foreign cells entering the body
Adaptive or acquired immunity is a system that learns to recognize a pathogen. It is regulated by cells and organs in our body like the spleen, thymus, bone marrow, and lymph nodes. When a foreign substance enters the body, these cells and organs create antibodies. It leads to the multiplication of immune cells (including different types of white blood cells) that are specific to that harmful substance and attack and destroy it. Our immune system then adapts by remembering the foreign substance so that if it enters again, these antibodies and cells are even more efficient and quick to destroy it.
Related: Foods That Increase White Blood Cell
Other Conditions That Trigger An Immune Response
Antigens are substances that the body labels as foreign and harmful, which triggers immune cell activity. Allergens are one type of antigen and include grass pollen, dust, food components, or pet hair. Antigens can cause a hyper-reactive response in which too many white cells are released. People’s sensitivity to antigens varies widely. For example, an allergy to mold triggers symptoms of wheezing and coughing in a sensitive individual but does not trigger a reaction in other people.
Inflammation is an important, normal step in the body’s innate immune response. When pathogens attack healthy cells and tissue, a type of immune cell called mast cells counterattack and release proteins called histamines, which cause inflammation. Inflammation may generate pain, swelling, and a release of fluids to help flush out the pathogens. The histamines also send signals to discharge even more white blood cells to fight pathogens. However, prolonged inflammation can lead to tissue damage and may overwhelm the immune system.
Autoimmune disorders like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or type 1 diabetes are partly hereditary and cause hypersensitivity in which immune cells attack and destroy healthy cells.
Immunodeficiency disorders can depress or completely disable the immune system and may be genetic or acquired. Acquired forms are more common and include AIDS and cancers like leukemia and multiple myeloma. In these cases, the body’s defenses are so reduced that a person becomes highly susceptible to illness from invading pathogens or antigens.
What factors can depress our immune system?
- Older age: As we age, our internal organs may become less efficient; immune-related organs like the thymus or bone marrow produce fewer immune cells needed to fight off infections. Aging is sometimes associated with micronutrient deficiencies, which may worsen a declining immune function.
- Environmental toxins (smoke and other particles contributing to air pollution, excessive alcohol): These substances can impair or suppress the normal activity of immune cells.
- Excess weight: Obesity is associated with low-grade chronic inflammation. Fat tissue produces adipocytokines that can promote inflammatory processes.  Research is early, but obesity has also been identified as an independent risk factor for the influenza virus, possibly due to the impaired function of T-cells, a type of white blood cell. 
- Poor diet: Malnutrition or a diet lacking in one or more nutrients can impair the production and activity of immune cells and antibodies.
- Chronic diseases: Autoimmune and immunodeficiency disorders attack and potentially disable immune cells.
- Chronic mental stress: Stress releases hormones like cortisol that suppresses inflammation (inflammation is initially needed to activate immune cells) and the action of white blood cells.
- Lack of sleep and rest: Sleep is a time of restoration for the body, during which a type of cytokine is released that fights infection; too little sleep lowers the amount of these cytokines and other immune cells.
Does An Immune-Boosting Diet Exist?
Eating enough nutrients as part of a varied diet. It is required for the health and function of all cells, including immune cells. Certain dietary patterns may better prepare the body for microbial attacks and excess inflammation, but it is unlikely that individual foods offer special protection. Each stage of the body’s immune response relies on the presence of many micronutrients.
Examples of nutrients
Vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, iron, and protein (including the amino acid glutamine). [3,4] You can find them in a variety of plant and animal foods.
Diets limited in variety and lower in nutrients, such as consisting primarily of ultra-processed foods and lacking in minimally processed foods, can negatively affect a healthy immune system. It is also believed that a Western diet is high in refined sugar and red meat and low in fruits and vegetables. It can promote disturbances in healthy intestinal microorganisms, resulting in chronic inflammation of the gut, and associated suppressed immunity.
The microbiome is an internal metropolis of trillions of microorganisms or microbes that live in our bodies, mostly in the intestines. It is an area of intense and active research. As scientists are finding that the microbiome plays a key role in immune function.
The gut is a major site of immune activity and the production of antimicrobial proteins. [6,7] The diet plays a large role in determining what kinds of microbes live in our intestines. A high-fiber plant-rich diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes appears to support the growth and maintenance of beneficial microbes.
Certain helpful microbes break down fibers into short-chain fatty acids, which have been shown to stimulate immune cell activity. These fibers are sometimes called prebiotics because they feed microbes. Therefore, a diet containing probiotic and prebiotic foods may be beneficial. Probiotic foods contain live helpful bacteria. While probiotic foods contain fiber and oligosaccharides that feed and maintain healthy colonies of those bacteria.
- Probiotic foods include kefir, yogurt with live active cultures, fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, tempeh, kombucha tea, kimchi, and miso.
- Prebiotic foods include garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, dandelion greens, bananas, and seaweed. However, a more general rule is to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains for dietary prebiotics.
Foods That Weaken Your Immune System
Let me begin by admitting that this list of foods that weaken your immune system will, no doubt, take you back. You might not know that this food has gotten an indispensable space in your diet because you do not care about what foods weaken your immune system. Avoid the following foods if you desire to be at your hygienic best.
Alcohol tops the list of foods that weaken the immune system. Alcohols, such as wine and beer, are very injurious to the health as it endangers the normal processes of the immune system. Taking excessive alcohol leads to an increase in the vulnerability of pneumonia and acute respiratory stress syndrome (ARDS). Studies have shown that alcohol aggravates the level of insulin and blood sugar in the human body which in turn disturbs the immune system functions. In addition, alcohol drinks, when taken in excess, disrupt sleep and rest. Generally, alcohol reduces the functions of the macrophages which are the cells that destroy external forces. Part with alcohol by spreading them out in days and instead go for foods to strengthen the immune system.
Though it is generally believed that caffeine, the likes of tea and coffee, make the morning better with their soothing flavors but I tell you that it has adverse effects on the proper functioning of the immune system. Caffeine does an unpleasant job of reducing the amounts of T cells in your body, thereby making your body very difficult to stay healthy.
It is also worthy of note that caffeine is a diuretic that makes your body dehydrated and may lead to nausea. Caffeine also leads to indigestion and stomach ache when excessively consumed. Caffeine heightens the number of cortisol levels. Cortisol is that hormone that responds to stress. Reduce the intake of caffeine and stay healthy.
The fact that soda is laden with sugary flavors finds it a space on the list of foods that weaken your immune system. Soda is also full of aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin which are sweetness that does not add to the essentiality of antioxidants in the body. These sweeteners are agents of reduction of the useful bacteria in the gut which adversely affect the proper metabolism of the body.
Soda is also filled with artificial colors that affect the gastrointestinal lining of the body negatively. Aren’t you convinced yet that soda does join the group of foods that build your immune system?
Candy can be nothing but worse for your immune system. You are surprised, eh? Don’t be. Candy may be one of the most delicious snacks but studies have attested to the fact that they wreck a lot of damage to the human immune system. Sugar-filled candies result in inflammation which weakens the white blood cells. When white blood cells are weakened, there is a great tendency that infections will attack the body because these white blood cells fight off infections. Therefore, candies are inarguably parts of the foods that weaken your immune system.
Are you still eager to know what foods weaken your immune system? Then, you should admit the negative effects of ice cream on your immune system. Ice cream is that flavor that helps during the hot weather plus it is very delicious. However, ice cream is packed with saturated fat and sugar which causes inflammation. Where is a higher rate of inflammation, the white blood cells tend to grow wreck causing a breakdown of the immune system?
These highly delicious snacks are not near foods to strengthen the immune system. You should thinly slice. Fried potatoes are sold in sealed packages. Potato chips are an enemy of the immune system for they are fully laden with salt and fats.
Salt weakens the immune system to the influx of disorders from cholesterol. Again, deep-fried chips are highly processed and very low in nutrients. When there is an increase in the consumption of low nutrients, the immune system is subdued.
The last on the list of foods that weaken the immune system is refined oil. When the oil is being refined, they are being produced in a way that has them void of the nutrients they possess. Thus, cooking foods with refined oil and eating them come with bouts of disorders and increase the inflammation rate.
Besides, refined oil has a lot of omega-6, linolenic acid, and some other fatty acids that can be converted by the body to arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is a building block for molecules that help increase inflammation.
In lieu of the above-mentioned, you must do away with these foods that weaken the immune system or reduce the consumption rate to stay healthy at all times. This article will be incomplete if I didn’t highlight some notable replacements in foods to strengthen the immune system.
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Foods That Build Your Immune System
There are many things we do to prevent sickness, but sometimes illnesses sneak upon us. If you have ever been sick with a cold or the flu, then you probably wish that you had known about foods that build your immune system.
Cold and flu season is not fun for anyone. The physical and mental effects of colds and flu are very unpleasant. I plan to make this article your go-to resource for building up your immunity.
Here are some of the most allergen-free foods (listed in alphabetical order) that boost your immune system and overall health:
1. Amaranth Amaranth
It is a gluten-free ancient seed from the Aztec and Incas. Even though it’s gluten-free, it boasts a strong antioxidant profile, including vitamin C and beta carotene, according to Healthy Options.
2. Arugula Arugula (Rocket Salad because of its spicy flavor)
It is green in color with a long piece of stem at the top and looks like a miniature cabbage plant that has dark green leaves. Don’t forget to include this leafy vegetable in your salad or sandwiches for an extra dose of Vitamin E and C, which help keep the body healthy from the inside out.
Related: How To Keep Healthy Body
3. Blueberries Blueberries
It helps prevent cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. They are low in sodium and contain more manganese than any other berry fruit.
In adherence to the fact that you have to protect yourself by considering some foods that build your immune system. Let me give some diets that you can add to your menu. They are;
- Sweet Potatoes
- Low-fat Yogurt
- Wheat Germ
Related post: Apple Mixed Berry Crumble
In conclusion, this article has successfully explained the dangers behind foods that weaken your immune system. It has proffered replacements by giving attention to some foods to strengthen the immune system.
Remember: The territory (body) must supply its soldiers (immune system) with effective ammunition(nutrients) to fight against foreign transgressors (diseases and infections).
Benefits Of Healthy Eating
1. Promotes dental health
Healthy teeth may be another benefit of real foods.
The sugar and refined carbs in the Western diet can promote dental decay by feeding the plaque-causing bacteria that live in your mouth. The combination of sugar and acid in soda is especially likely to cause decay
Additionally, cheese seems to help prevent cavities by increasing pH and hardening tooth enamel. One study found that eating cheese dramatically improved enamel strength in people with limited saliva production
Green tea has also been shown to protect tooth enamel. One study found rinsing with green tea significantly reduced the amount of erosion that occurred when people drank soda and brushed their teeth vigorously
2. May help reduce sugar cravings
A diet based on real food may also help reduce cravings for sweets like cakes, cookies, and candy.
Once your body adjusts to eating whole, unprocessed foods, cravings for sugary foods could become infrequent.
3. Sets a good example
In addition to improving your own health and well-being, eating real food can help the people you care about stay healthy.
Leading by example could encourage your friends and family to adopt a nutrient-dense eating pattern. It’s also a good way to help your kids learn about good nutrition.
4. Gets the focus off dieting
A dieting mentality may be harmful because it limits your focus to your weight.
In fact, good nutrition is about much more than losing weight. It’s also about having enough energy and feeling healthy.
Focusing on eating balanced meals rich in fruits and vegetable instead of dieting can be a much more sustainable and enjoyable way to live. Instead of having weight loss be the focus, let weight loss come as a natural side effect of a nutrient-dense diet and improved metabolic health.
5. Helps support local farmers
Purchasing produce, meat, and dairy from farmers markets supports the people who grow food in your community.
In addition, local farms often provide fresher and less processed food than supermarkets.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Some fruits are healthier than others, due to their high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Some of the healthiest fruits include blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, oranges, grapefruit, apples, pears, and bananas.
Bananas are a good source of dietary potassium and vitamin C, both of which are beneficial for maintaining a healthy immune system. However, there is no evidence that eating bananas specifically weakens the immune system. In fact, the opposite may be true, as some research suggests that eating foods high in potassium and vitamin C may help protect against certain infections.
There are a few different categories of foods that people with weak immune systems should avoid. First, processed foods and sugary drinks should be avoided, as they can weaken the immune system. Additionally, people with weak immune systems should avoid raw fruits and vegetables, as they can contain bacteria that can make them sick. Finally, people with weak immune systems should avoid dairy products, as they can contain bacteria that can also make them sick.