Foods That Weaken the Immune System

by Patti Croft December 10, 2021

One of the principal factors in keeping your immune system up to par is your diet. Eating healthy can be a challenge for all of us. In today’s world, we are so busy with work and the general demands of life. Taking the time to check our diets gets hard.

There are some foods you can eliminate that can harm your immune system. By avoiding these trigger foods, you can boost your health and let your immune system do the job it was designed to do. Let’s look at some foods that weaken the immune system and what you can do to make sure you’re getting some healthier options.

Sugar

Many people have a sugar addiction. So many of the foods we eat get designed to make us want to overconsume them. If you read the ingredient labels on many of the processed foods at the grocery store, you will find sugar listed.

Anything that raises your blood sugar will cause inflammation in the body. When we consume added sugars, we take in inflammatory proteins that suppress our immune systems. Sugar is one of the most crucial ingredients you should avoid when working to boost your immune function.

Sugar also promotes gut bacteria imbalance. Having an imbalance in that critical bacteria makes us more susceptible to different types of infection. When considering your meals, it is crucial to cut out sugar. You can always replace it with a healthy alternative that won’t hurt your immune system.

Fried Foods

Some of us grew up with parents who fried everything we ate. It was a normal part of childhood for many of us to see our parents in the kitchen frying meats and vegetables every day.

The problem with fried foods is that they often get cooked in unhealthy oils. These can be canola, peanut, soybean, vegetable, or other inflammatory oils can destroy our health. They deplete the body’s powerful antioxidant mechanisms and cause cellular dysfunction.

When you realize how often you consume fried foods it can be staggering. Most restaurants cook things like potato chips, French fries, fish, and other popular foods in these dangerous oils. To get a healthier option for your favorite foods, you can use healthy versions like avocado and olive oil. You don’t have to stop eating the foods you love. Changing how you prepare them can make a massive impact on your health.

Processed Foods

We mentioned that processed foods often contain tons of sugar. Processed foods also contain advanced glycation end products. These AGEs weaken the immune system and contribute to serious illnesses like colon cancer.

Processed foods are known as "fake foods" because they tend to have so many ingredients in them you’ve never even heard of before. Some of these can be harmful to your body and do nothing to boost your health. Many of them are loaded with carbohydrates that raise insulin and leave you starving later.

Limit foods that have tons of strange ingredients. These foods can be detrimental to your immune system and offset some of the healthy foods you consume. If you’re in a hurry, you can always reach for healthy shakes that taste great and satisfy your hunger.

Fast Food

So many people drive by a local fast-food restaurant to get a quick lunch and then head back to work. It has become a habit for some as part of their daily routine.

Most of these establishments use the same unhealthy oils we mentioned, and the food is loaded with harmful chemicals. These chemicals can leak into the food through gloves or the containers they get stored in before cooking. Fast food can also contain tons of unhealthy fats and salt that weaken your immune system. Some of these chemicals can disrupt your gut bacteria and have a negative impact on your hormones.

If you don’t have a lot of time on your lunch break, you can always pack a healthy lunch. If that’s not an option and you find yourself pressed for time and visiting the local fast-food place, opt for a salad or grilled chicken. Most fast-food places have changed up their menus to include items that health-conscious consumers may choose. Take advantage of those choices. Also, make sure you’re taking some quality vitamins to help boost immune function, especially when eating healthy is a bit tougher.

Food With White Flour

For many people, bread is a staple in their diets. They eat it for multiple meals every week. Foods that contain white flour include cookies, cakes, sandwich bread, and rolls.

These types of bread tend to be high in calories but contain no nutrient density. They also add to inflammation in the body, which causes the immune system to try and fight off that inflammation. When that happens, your immune system is busy working hard to fight that and cannot adequately fight off viruses and diseases.

Foods with white flour usually contain all sorts of additives that you don’t need. Many people have gluten intolerance, and when they eat white flour, it causes even more inflammation.

If you love bread, there are healthier options. Sprouted whole-grain bread like Ezekial bread can be easier to digest for some people and better for your immune function. Also, if you like a placeholder for meats and sandwich fixings, things like lettuce wraps and sweet potato wedges are great alternatives to bread. You can use a meal plan to save time and make sure you stay prepared with wholesome food that won’t wreck your immune system.

Deceptive Organic Foods

Along with processed foods, you should avoid some foods that get labeled as organic and healthy options. Many of us run to the store and grab things that we think are good for us. When we look at the ingredients, we realize we’ve gotten deceived by clever marketing.

Many foods claim to be organic but can have awful effects on our immune systems. For instance, many foods will list organic cane sugar as an ingredient. That is still sugar, and it will cause your body to have an inflammatory response.

When you see that something is organic, it may mean that it is a healthier option than other processed foods, but that doesn’t mean it is good for us. Whole foods that contain no additives are always the best option.

If you’ve been buying all organic foods and find that you still aren’t feeling well, it could be an allergic reaction. There may be certain foods or ingredients that your body can’t process well. A food sensitivity test could show you what to avoid.

Sugar Alternatives

When trying to avoid sugar, many people make the mistake of getting drinks and foods loaded with artificial sweeteners. Some of these should never get used because they cause inflammation throughout your body, and studies have shown them to cause cancer.

Some people decide to go with natural options like agave and brown rice syrups, but these contain lots of empty calories. When wanting to satisfy your sweet tooth, you can look for alternative sweeteners that won’t harm your health. Look for stevia, monk fruit, xylitol, allulose, or erythritol. These can get consumed as healthy alternatives that won’t weaken your immune system. You can get sweet treats at the grocery store that contain these sweeteners as well.

Fruit Juices

Many of us have bought fruit juices for our kids believing that we were helping them. After all, fruits often get recommended as part of a healthy diet. The problem with many store-bought fruit juice drinks is that some of them contain no actual fruit at all. When you look at the labels, you see things like high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavoring, and artificial colorings. Why would we want to consume artificial ingredients in juice?

Even healthy juices don’t contain the beneficial fiber we get from eating most fruits. Some juices contain as much sugar as soft drinks! When you want to get the benefits from fruits, you can eat them or get the nutrients in a healthy fruits and greens drink that won’t slow down your immune function.

Grains

One of the foods we eat that do our immune system a major disservice is grains. We have seen the marketing campaigns of heart health getting tied to grains. The truth is the grains we eat today are heavily processed and sprayed with tons of pesticides. They are not the grains our ancestors ate and are terrible for our immune health.

If you have been eating a huge bowl of oatmeal every morning, you’ve been spiking your blood sugar levels and causing inflammation in your body. Instead of grains, try eating foods with good fats in them, like eggs and avocados. You can also add MCT oil to your morning coffee or a healthy smoothie for an added immune boost.

Salad Dressings

When we think of balanced eating, many of us feel a big salad will be a healthy addition to our diets. As you get those nutritious greens and veggies prepared, the last thing you want to do is pour an unhealthy salad dressing on top of it. Most of the salad dressings you can get at the store are loaded with artificial colors and flavors. They contain high amounts of hydrogenated oils, which are the inflammatory ones we mentioned that you should never consume. Most of them have a ton of unhealthy carbohydrates and sugar.

For a healthier option, use some balsamic or apple cider vinegar and olive oil. If you prefer a prepared dressing, you can look for healthy brands you can trust that contain limited ingredients that won’t suppress your immune system. There are tons of choices that will save time and keep your immune system functioning at its best.

Keeping It Simple

Eating healthy doesn’t have to leave you feeling overwhelmed. There are a variety of foods that you can have that will leave you feeling satiated while giving your immune system the nutrients it needs to remain strong.

If you want to see your health thrive, stay away from these foods that weaken your immune system. By paying attention to labels and making better choices, you can be sure you’re not consuming foods your body doesn’t need. Eating a diet that combines good fats with nutrient-dense veggies will promote a healthy immune system. Eating these foods will always be superior to anything made in a factory, so don’t get deceived by labels promising organic benefits. Keeping your diet simple is the best way to avoid foods that harm your immune system. Remember that good health only comes from a natural approach.

References :

https://www.healthychild.com/fake-foods/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20176265/

https://www.eatingwell.com/article/7919715/things-that-can-weaken-your-immune-system/

https://www.eatthis.com/foods-weaken-immune-system/

https://www.cleaneatingkitchen.com/8-healthy-alternatives-to-bread/

https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/10-immune-system-busters-boosters#1

https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/foods-and-drinks-that-compromise-your-immune-system

https://www.cnet.com/health/nutrition/sugar-can-lower-your-immune-system/

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/is-sucralose-splenda-bad-for-you/#:~:text=The%20microbiome%20has%20several%20important,can%20lead%20to%20increased%20inflammation.

https://www.ecowatch.com/foods-that-weaken-immune-system-2655034221.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/juicing/faq-20058020

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180111141637.htm

Patti Croft
Patti Croft

Patti Croft is a Certified Health Data Analyst with a thirst for all things natural and holistic. Coupled with her MBA, Patti uses her skill set here at NuVision Health Center to dive into the research. Her expertise is in taking complex medical data and delivering it in a way that readers can understand and implement into their lives.



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