5 foods that weaken your immune system

Having a strong immune system is essential for good health

5 foods that weaken your immune system
Assortment of unhealthy products that's bad for figure, skin, heart and teeth - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 29/08/2020 17:08 Paola Monterrubio Mexico City Actualizada 17:08
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The immune system is in charge of protecting us from bacterias, viruses, and parasites that live in our daily environment, as mentioned by Harvard’s School of Public Health. Through its defense mechanisms, the body prevents the entrance of pathogens or eliminates them when they have already entered our organism.

There are foods that are able to stimulate our immune response, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, but there are also products whose usual consumption makes us more vulnerable to diseases.

Here are five of the worst foods for your immune system.

White bread
American nutritionist Josh Axe asserts that White bread, cookies, cakes, and other products made with refined flour affect the immune system. Medical News Today explains that these foods lose bran and germ during their elaboration process, which eliminates most part of the fiber, vitamins, and minerals present on whole grains.

Hence, they become easy-to-ingest products but with a high-calorie input and are low in nutrients. These characteristics can contribute to gaining weight and related complications, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart conditions.

A review of studies published by the Nutrients magazine determined that processed sugar in candies increases the body’s inflammation. This causes an immune system response and increases the production of free radicals, which are molecules that can harm healthy cells in our bodies.

Free radicals are linked to health conditions such as cáncer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative conditions, and arthritis.

Moreover, research by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that eating 100 grams of sugar reduces the ability of immune cells to fight bacterias. This effect lasted for up to five hours after eating sweet foods. Hence, it is not a good option to eat this kind of product throughout the day.

Recommended: The ultimate guide to healthy eating during the COVID-19 pandemic

Potato chips
A study performed by the University of Bonn showed that a diet rich in salt causes deficiencies in the immune system. Researchers reported that excess sodium increases the activity of the kidneys to get rid of it and reduces the body’s response against bacterial infections.

The daily intake recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) is less than 5 grams per day. In the case of Mexico, people eat between 7 and 9 grams of salt every day, according to information from the National Institute for Public Health. This amount comes mainly from processed foods like chips, which are high in saturated fats and low in nutrients, according to the gastronomic blog Eat This, Not That.

Processed fruits
Harvard’s School of Public Health says that every human being has billions of microbes in charge of keeping the adequate functioning of our body. Most of these microorganisms live in the large intestine and are essential to digest carbohydrates, amino acids, and vitamins.

However, a diet high in sugars can alter this process. Kellman Wellness Center mentions that dehydrated or canned fruits contain added sweeteners that feed bacterias that are harmful to the intestinal flora.

Likewise, dehydrated fruits cause an increased wish to consume sweet foods, whose consumption can affect the immune system and thus, reduce the protection against diseases. Therefore, it is best to choose presentations with no added sugar.

Recommended: How to boost your immune system

Processed oils
According to Hyperbiotics, natural oils are healthy due to their high content of Omega 3 acid fats and vitamin E. However, commercial oils go through a refining process in which they lose their nutrients and change their molecular structure.

Therefore, eating food that was fried with refined oils causes an increased production of free radicals that are able to harm the body’s tissues, generate inflammation, and make the immune system vulnerable to infections.

Health blog Healthline adds that some commercial oil brands contain trans fats. These ingredients are linked to a higher risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, and heart diseases, according to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Check the label of foods before buying them to avoid products that are harmful to your health. Combine a balanced diet with other healthy habits like physical activity and sleeping well.


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