The Worst Food Ingredients for your Immune System and How to Get Rid of Them
Food and drink are typically viewed as the source of your immune system’s strength, but that’s not always the case. Ingredients such as gluten, dairy, and sugar can actually harm your immune system, making you more susceptible to viruses and infections.
If you want to keep your immune system strong and fight off common colds and sicknesses, it’s vital to cut these ingredients out of your diet completely.
Here are the worst food ingredients for your immune system, along with tips on how to replace them with better options.
Introduction: The Immune System & Its Importance.
There are a lot of foods you can eat on a daily basis that will strengthen and protect your immune system. But there are also several foods that may be inhibiting your immune system’s performance, putting you at risk for illness. Try eliminating these ingredients from your diet.
It’s time to give yourself a fighting chance! There are certain food ingredients that should not be part of your regular diet if you want to keep your immune system healthy.
When people consume foods with some of these ingredients regularly, they tend to experience frequent illnesses and low energy levels. These culprits include: Using hydrogenated oils in processed foods is a big no-no if you want to boost your immunity naturally.
Hydrogenated oils contain trans fats which have been linked with suppressed immunity in children who consumed them regularly during their first three years. Trans fats are found in many processed foods including margarine, crackers, cookies, cakes, chips, and more.
The best way to avoid trans fats is by checking food labels. If there’s any amount of partially hydrogenated oil listed on it, put that food back on the shelf! It’s time to start making healthier choices when it comes to eating out as well.
Fast food restaurants use hydrogenated oils in almost all of their deep-fried menu items. They also use high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which has also been shown to lower immune system function.
HFCS carries mercury, so it’s not just your immune system that will suffer from consuming it; other parts of your body will be affected too. You can usually find HFCS lurking in ketchup, soda pop, salad dressings, and even bread.
This ingredient is very difficult to avoid since it’s used extensively in processed foods. But you can make better choices at fast-food restaurants by ordering grilled chicken instead of fried chicken or fish instead of burgers or sandwiches containing HFCS.
Your immune system will thank you later! Aspartame is an artificial sweetener commonly found in diet sodas, chewing gum, and desserts. Aspartame was originally developed as an anti-ulcer drug but was never approved for human consumption because it caused severe neurological side effects such as headaches, depression, and seizures.
Despite these findings, aspartame remains one of the most popular artificial sweeteners on the market today. Some research suggests that ingesting large amounts of Aspartame may suppress immune system function over time due to its effect on hormones.
And while we’re on the topic of sugar substitutes, let’s talk about Splenda. Splenda is another artificial sweetener that should be avoided if you want to keep your immune system healthy. Research shows that Splenda reduces white blood cell count by 50% within hours after ingestion.
White blood cells are responsible for fighting off infections and diseases, so having fewer white blood cells means a weaker immune system overall. Also, studies suggest that people who consume artificial sweeteners tend to crave sweets more often than those who don’t consume them.
So basically, you could end up craving sweets and gaining weight if you eat products containing artificial sweeteners like Splenda. MSG is yet another ingredient that should be eliminated from your diet if you want to maintain a strong immune system. MSG stands for monosodium glutamate and it’s added to lots of packaged foods as a flavor enhancer.
Unfortunately, it’s also a known immune system depressant. In fact, some experts believe that MSG is to blame for Chinese Restaurant Syndrome a condition characterized by numbness, weakness, and heart palpitations.
People who experience Chinese Restaurant Syndrome after eating Chinese food suspect that it’s caused by monosodium glutamate in soy sauce.
1: Sugar – Why is it Bad?
Eat too much sugar, and it’s likely that you’ll put on some extra pounds over time. Too much sugar may also contribute to a variety of other health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, and tooth decay.
But did you know that eating too much sugar can also weaken your immune system? That’s right – when you consume high amounts of sugar on a regular basis, it weakens certain components of your immune system.
This is particularly true if you eat sugar in liquid form (such as soda or juice), because liquids pass through your stomach quickly, which allows sugar to enter your bloodstream very quickly.
This causes spikes in blood glucose levels, which makes it harder for white blood cells (which are crucial to fighting off infections) to do their job effectively.
In fact, studies have shown that people who drink more than two cans of soda per day experience an increase in cold symptoms.
So why does all of this matter? Well, weakened immunity can lead to increased susceptibility to infections like colds and flu. It can also make you more vulnerable to illnesses like cancer and heart disease. So how do you avoid putting yourself at risk for these issues? The easiest way is by cutting back on sugar intake! The best thing you can do is cut out sugary drinks entirely.
If you need something sweet, try replacing sugary drinks with water, unsweetened tea, coffee (with no cream or sugar), diet soda, low-fat milk (in moderation), fresh fruit juices without added sugars, and 100% fruit smoothies without added sugars.
You could also try switching from table sugar to stevia or xylitol, but keep in mind that both of these products contain small amounts of calories and carbs. And while they won’t cause spikes in blood glucose levels, they still contain calories.
Bottom Line: Consuming large amounts of sugar can weaken your immune system by making it difficult for white blood cells to fight off infections.
Cutting back on sugary drinks is one simple way to help protect your body against illness. For example, you could replace soda with sparkling water and add slices of lemon. Or, you could switch from table sugar to stevia or xylitol.
However, be aware that even though these substitutes don’t spike blood glucose levels, they still contain calories and carbs.
Fat – Why is it Bad?: When we think about fat, we often picture chips and ice cream – foods that taste great but aren’t necessarily good for us.
Many types of fat are actually quite good for us; others not so much. When eaten in moderation, saturated fats provide our bodies with many important nutrients, including vitamin D and vitamin K2.
Polyunsaturated fats play an important role in cell function, while monounsaturated fats help reduce inflammation and improve heart health.
2. Grains – Why is it Bad?
Grains have been linked to gluten intolerance, celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, wheat allergy, and inflammation.
In addition, grains are toxic in their raw form. They carry lectins that can cause leaky gut syndrome or promote immune reactions in susceptible individuals.
Grains can even aggravate existing autoimmune diseases like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. So, if you want a healthy immune system you will have to eliminate grains from your diet.
If you suffer from chronic fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, or any other health problems, and wonder why start by eliminating all grains from your diet.
If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, your doctor may advise a strict gluten-free diet. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, spelled, Kamut, barley, and triticale.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that damages your small intestine if you consume gluten. The first sign is gastrointestinal problems that usually lead to malnutrition.
Besides GI issues, people who suffer from celiac disease can also experience fatigue, joint pain, or even neurological symptoms like depression or seizures.
Other conditions associated with gluten intolerance are dermatitis herpetiformis (skin rash), non-celiac gluten sensitivity (which has similar symptoms to celiac disease but without intestinal damage), and wheat allergy.
While some people can tolerate moderate amounts of gluten without any adverse effects, those who suffer from celiac disease must avoid it completely. There is no cure for celiac disease, so patients need to stick to a gluten-free diet for life.
For many patients following a gluten-free diet means losing out on many foods they previously enjoyed, including bread, cereals, and pasta made with wheat flour.
However, there are plenty of alternatives available nowadays that make sticking to a gluten-free diet easier than ever before.
Foods made with rice, corn, soybeans, and potatoes are naturally gluten-free. Some other ingredients commonly used in gluten-free products include tapioca starch, potato starch, arrowroot powder, and xanthan gum.
You should be aware that manufacturers sometimes add wheat flour to foods labeled gluten-free to give them more volume.
As a result, even products marked gluten-free might not be safe for people suffering from celiac disease or other forms of gluten intolerance.
This is why you should always read food labels carefully. Even though manufacturers do not need to list all their ingredients on food labels if you see wheat listed anywhere under ingredients then don’t buy that product. It doesn’t matter whether it says wheat flour or wheat bran just stay away from anything containing wheat.
Also, look for gluten-free or wheat-free food labels. If you cannot find either of these phrases, assume that the product contains gluten.
In addition to eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, avoiding processed foods will go a long way towards improving your immune system health.
3. Dairy – Why is it Bad?
Aside from being high in saturated fat, dairy products can also contain a dangerous protein called casomorphin.
Overconsumption of dairy products is linked to many autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and psoriasis.
If you suffer from any of these diseases or any allergies, it’s best to cut out dairy completely. This includes milk (but not coffee-based beverages), cheese, cream, and butter.
Even if you don’t have an allergy or an autoimmune disease, cutting out dairy will help boost your immune system.
Dairy has been shown to suppress immunity and cause inflammation throughout the body. In fact, some studies suggest that people who consume large amounts of dairy are at greater risk for developing heart disease than those who don’t eat much dairy at all.
The good news is that there are plenty of non-dairy alternatives available today, including almond milk, rice milk, and coconut milk. Not only do they taste great but they’re also good for you too.
Onions – Why are they Bad?: Onions contain an ingredient called thiosulphate which causes our bodies to produce more mucous.
The more mucous we produce, the harder it becomes for our bodies to fight off bacteria and viruses. Onions also cause inflammation in our bodies, which can lead to a weakened immune system.
If you suffer from any type of autoimmune disease or allergies, you should avoid onions at all costs. This includes scallions (green onions), shallots, leeks as well as garlic, and chives.
You may even want to consider making your own spice blends using these ingredients instead of purchasing them pre-made.
Garlic – Why is it Bad?: Like onions, garlic contains an ingredient called allicin which causes us to produce excess mucous.
It also contains high levels of sulfur compounds that have been linked with increased risk for cancer in both humans and animals alike.
Some studies suggest that consuming large amounts of garlic on a regular basis could increase your risk of developing stomach ulcers. For those who already suffer from ulcers, it could make symptoms worse by increasing acid production in their stomachs.
Finally, like onions and dairy products, garlic has been shown to suppress immunity and cause inflammation throughout the body.
4: Legumes – Why is it Bad?
Legumes contain lectins, which are compounds that protect a plant from being eaten by animals. When they’re consumed by humans, they can cause inflammatory reactions throughout our bodies, including in our gut. But why avoid legumes? Studies show they actually feed bad bacteria.
In fact, people who eat a lot of legumes tend to have high levels of bad bacteria in their intestines. So how do you get rid of them? Don’t eat them.
The best way to avoid legumes is to limit or eliminate all forms of soy so stay away from tofu, edamame, soy milk, soy sauce, and anything else made with soybeans.
Also, steer clear of peanuts and peanut butter as well as kidney beans. Your immune system will thank you.
Honey – Why is it Bad?: Honey may be good for you when it comes to coughs and sore throats, but don’t let its benefits fool you: honey has an array of harmful properties that make it dangerous to consume regularly.
These toxic ingredients can lead to gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, cramps, bloating, and gas if consumed regularly. How do you get rid of it? Replace honey with natural sweeteners like stevia, xylitol, and erythritol. You’ll also want to cut back on sugar.
Sugar – Why is it Bad?: Did you know that eating too much sugar could lower your immune system? A study published in 2014 found that consuming large amounts of sugar could suppress both innate and adaptive immunity, meaning your body won’t be able to fight off infections as effectively.
So how do you get rid of it? Cut back on processed foods and sweets. Instead, opt for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Artificial Sweeteners – Why are they Bad?: If you love to drink diet soda because it helps you control your weight, think again: artificial sweeteners might actually increase your appetite.
Research shows that drinking diet soda causes blood glucose levels to spike after meals, leading many people to crave more food than those who drink regular soda. This means artificial sweeteners might not help with weight loss at all. So how do you get rid of them? Try cutting out diet soda altogether.
Water – Why is it Bad?: Water doesn’t seem like something we need to worry about, right? Wrong! Drinking too much water could kill you due to water intoxication, a condition where excess water dilutes the sodium in your cells, causing cells to swell and ultimately burst.
This swelling can damage vital organs like your brain and heart. So how do you get rid of it? Limit your intake of plain water to no more than 8 glasses a day.
Juice – Why is it Bad?: While juice does provide some nutritional value, it’s often packed with calories and sugars that aren’t necessary for your health. Many juices are even worse for you than soda. One 12 oz. can of orange juice, for example, contains more sugar than a 12 oz. can of Coca-Cola.
So how do you get rid of it? Drink whole fruit instead. Fruit – Why is it Bad?: Fruit contains a lot of sugar, so it’s important to limit your intake. However, fruit can still be a healthy part of your diet as long as you eat it in moderation.
One serving of fruit contains around 100 calories and 30 grams of carbs, so you should only eat one serving per day. So how do you get rid of it? Make sure you’re aware of how much fruit you’re actually eating.
Why is it Important to Take Care of Your Immune System?
Your immune system protects you from infection by a wide variety of microorganisms. It is part of your body’s innate or natural defenses, which also include skin, white blood cells (such as neutrophils, basophils, eosinophils, and monocytes), and phagocytic cells (chiefly neutrophils) that engulf invading particles. Together these are sometimes called external immunity because they provide defense without necessarily being specific to particular invaders.
In contrast, acquired immunity involves interaction between an organism and its environment: it includes humoral immunity involving B lymphocytes that produce antibodies, and cell-mediated immunity involving T lymphocytes that recognize foreign antigens in association with MHC molecules on other cells. The two systems work together to protect against infectious diseases.
Innate immunity is further divided into two types: nonspecific and specific. Nonspecific immune responses are not directed at anyone antigen but rather at invading organisms as a whole; examples include mucosal barriers, macrophages, neutrophils, and complement proteins such as lysozyme.
Specific immunity refers to protection directed against one particular pathogen; examples of responses include the production of antibodies by B cells and T cell activation by antigen presentation.
These mechanisms are active even before we are born; during fetal development, a fetus can mount an immune response to maternal antigens encountered through the placenta.
These adaptations occur throughout life, for example, our bodies retain some ability to remember previous infections and adapt future responses accordingly.
What Makes an Individual’s Immune System Unique?
Each individual has their own unique immune system. This makes sense, as no two people are alike, in appearance or otherwise. The same is true for our immune systems, which are uniquely made up of different parts based on genetics, infections we’ve had, amount of exposure to things such as pollution or radiation from cell phones, etc.
So what does that mean? It means that one person’s immune system will respond differently than another’s when exposed to a virus or bacteria.
Because of these differences, it’s important that you know what will best help you maintain a healthy immune system so you can avoid getting sick more often than others. Fortunately, there are many ways to do just that.
There are also certain ingredients in the food that have been shown to have an adverse effect on your immune system. These ingredients should be avoided if possible.
Below is a list of some of those ingredients along with other tips for keeping your immune system strong. For optimal health, eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day: Fresh fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants needed to keep your body functioning properly. They’re packed with nutrients that support immunity, including beta-carotene (found in dark leafy greens), vitamin C (in citrus fruits), and vitamin E (in nuts). Aim for variety.
Eating a wide variety of foods ensures you get all the nutrients your body needs. If fresh produce isn’t available, frozen varieties are good alternatives; however, canned fruit juices tend to lose much of their nutritional value during processing. Make sure to choose unsweetened varieties whenever possible.
Vitamin D helps strengthen your immune system: A lack of vitamin D can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to colds, flu, and other illnesses. Vitamin D is found naturally in very few foods but can be produced by your skin when exposed to sunlight.
Most Americans don’t get enough vitamin D through diet alone and sunscreen blocks most of its production so consider taking a supplement or eating fortified cereals or milk products daily. Omega-3 fatty acids also boost immunity: Omega-3 fatty acids play a role in brain function, vision, and heart health. But they’re also necessary for immune system function.
Good sources include flaxseed oil, walnuts, salmon, and tuna fish. Limit refined sugar intake: Refined sugar suppresses your immune response because it causes inflammation throughout your body.
It’s particularly harmful when consumed regularly over time because it leads to insulin resistance and weight gain.
Conclusion: Taking Care of Your Immune System May Help Prevent Serious Diseases
If you’re concerned about long-term health, you know that protecting your immune system is an important part of overall wellness.
Your immune system fights off viruses, diseases, and other foreign intruders, allowing you to live a healthy life.
You can take steps in your everyday life to protect your immune system and lower your risk of developing cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma attacks, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, or even just keep yourself from getting sick. The first step? Eating foods that support your immune system.
Here are some of the worst food ingredients for your immune system and how to get rid of them:
21 Tips for Supporting Your Immune System Naturally: Use these tips on how to strengthen your immune system naturally so you can live a healthier, happier life without taking medication or spending hours at doctors’ offices.
Learn what nutrients and vitamins boost immunity, which herbs and spices help prevent colds and flu, how probiotics strengthen gut immunity, and more.
1. Eat foods that support your immune system: What are some of the worst food ingredients for your immune system? Here are some ingredients that weaken your body’s natural defenses and make it easier to get sick and ways to avoid them altogether.
2. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables: Some fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, which fight free radicals in your body; free radicals cause inflammation that weakens your immune system over time.
These foods also contain healthy fats (like omega-3 fatty acids) that help protect against chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, asthma attacks, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, etc.
3. Don’t eat too much sugar: Sugar makes our hunger cravings fluctuate quickly, meaning we end up consuming even more calories over the course of the day.
If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s a good idea to monitor your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates, as you might be surprised to learn just how easy it is for calories to sneak into treats.
For example, a glass of juice or sweetened coffee could bump your overall calorie intake by as much as 800 calories.
4. Avoid ultra-processed foods: Ultra-processed foods are any products made with added sugars, unhealthy fats, artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, and other additives many of which have been linked to serious health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.
5. Eat whole grains instead of white bread: White bread has little nutritional value compared to whole grains, which provide fiber and essential minerals like magnesium and selenium. Whole grains also keep you fuller longer than processed carbs, reducing your risk of overeating later in the day.
6. Limit alcohol consumption: While moderate alcohol consumption may lower your risk for certain cancers, heavy drinking has been linked to an increased risk for certain types of cancer, liver damage, and heart disease.
7. Choose low-fat dairy products: It’s not always clear whether full-fat dairy products are better for you than their low-fat counterparts. Although fat content does vary from product to product, generally speaking, full-fat dairy contains more calcium and vitamin D both of which promote bone health and may reduce your risk for osteoporosis.
8. Add more fermented foods to your diet: Fermented foods, such as yogurt and kefir, are packed with probiotics that promote a healthy immune system.
9. Take a daily multivitamin: A daily multivitamin provides you with key nutrients your body needs to stay strong and ward off illness.
10. Eat more garlic: Garlic contains allicin, which helps kill harmful bacteria in your mouth and throat that can lead to infections.
11. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C: Vitamin C can help reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, and some forms of cancer.
12. Cook with turmeric: Turmeric contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve symptoms of inflammatory conditions like arthritis and colitis.
13. Eat plenty of iron-rich foods: Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in women and it’s also one of the easiest to fix.
-Sugar: When you’re craving something sweet, it’s easy to reach for a donut or cupcake. But sugar is more than just empty calories it also can sap your immune system of its strength.
When you consume sugar, your body releases insulin to help manage that sugar in your bloodstream. Unfortunately, that means your immune system has less energy to fight off invaders. By eliminating sugar from your diet, you can give yourself a major immune boost.
• MSG: Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is a flavor enhancer that’s been linked to headaches and allergies. You can find it in canned soups, frozen dinners, and lunch meats.
Read labels carefully to spot hidden MSG. Replace them with natural Spices, and whole foods whenever possible. The fewer ingredients on your label, the better.