(AscendHealthy.com) – You are what you eat, the adage says. While it might be easy to ignore health warnings, especially when faced with tempting foods, those wicked choices might have some serious effects on your immune system. Here are 10 of the worst offenders.
All that greasy, crunchy, salty yumminess can be so satisfying going down, but that’s where the goodness ends. A recent study put mice on a Western diet for a month, and the animals’ immune systems responded as though they were fighting an infection. In fact, the diet activated several pro-inflammatory genes that remained switched on long after the mice were moved to a healthy diet.
Are potato chips, doughnuts, and other deep-fried foods your weakness? These choices are high in fat, and a high-fat diet can erode your immune health. Research on mice has shown high-fat diets can destroy the body’s ability to fight off some bacteria. Some of the mice even died of sepsis.
Alcohol impairs the immune system in serious ways, increasing your overall risk of infection. It contributes to a higher risk of death from conditions including acute respiratory distress syndromes (ARDS), sepsis and some cancers. If you’re concerned about your immune health, quitting or significantly cutting back on your alcohol intake might save your life.
Canned and Dried Fruit
Some dried fruits have added sugars to increase their appeal. Many canned fruits are also considered high-sugar foods. Go fresh or unsweetened with your fruit to get their benefits without the negative immune effects. Sugar can suppress some aspects of the immune function.
Buying organic can eliminate a slew of pesticides normally found in non-organic foods. Pesticides might persist in the body and devastate the immune system. In one study, pesticides lowered subjects’ B and T cell counts. This response may be even worse in people who are chemically sensitive and exposed to certain types of pesticides called organochlorines. In many people, this immune response may persist long after exposure, and in some, it might even contribute to hormone-related cancers, such as those affecting the prostate, breasts or ovaries.
It might be refreshing and pair well with many foods, but the high sugar content in soda may cause an immune response in the gut that might lead to serious inflammation. And switching to diet soda isn’t any better. Sugar substitutes could cause changes to the immune system that may lead to Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, which might be reversible if artificial sweeteners are completely eliminated from the diet.
Many of them are fortified and some even contain decent amounts of fiber, but most cereal bars are loaded with sugar. Some contain up to 168% of the recommended daily intake. That’s a lot of sugar, which could do a lot of damage to an immune system.
A good percentage of the population could have sensitivities to milk that go beyond lactose intolerance, and many of them may not even know it. Some people respond to dairy products with a strong inflammatory response. This subset of people could develop certain autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammatory disorders.
The more processed a food is, the higher the chances it will result in immune responses that increase body inflammation. Added sugars, preservatives, emulsifiers and artificial ingredients can all contribute to a food’s toxicity. Some of these ingredients might specifically contribute to the development of inflammatory bowel disorders.
Diets high in refined foods are low in dietary fiber, meaning they provide little when it comes to feeding your gut. Many of the “good” bacteria that fiber feed are responsible for secreting metabolites that reduce inflammation and protect our immune health. Choose whole grains over refined ones to keep your gut — and the rest of your body — in optimal condition.
Diet can have a huge influence on how we feel. To keep your immune system running stronger, consider eliminating or limiting the foods that negatively impact it. With the right fuel, we can reduce our risks of developing a host of diet-related illnesses.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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