What you decide not to eat may be just as important for your immune health as what you do eat. The pandemic has brought topics such as immune health to the forefront of people’s conversations. Thankfully, immune health may be greatly influenced by our lifestyle decisions. What foods we consume, how we feel and how we move all influence our immune system.
The benefits of making everyday healthy habit changes is clear: we have power over our immune health and can influence it through what we eat and the lifestyle choices we make.
Think about limiting the following food options, and opting for healthier options!
It has been shown that high fructose corn syrup in the form of soda increases inflammatory markers in the context of a high-calorie diet.
CRP, which is a common lab value that determines systemic inflammation, was found to be higher in soda-drinking people in this study. Also, drinking your calories will make it even easier to consume too many calories, which promotes inflammation.
“Too many processed sugars may change immunity by adding markers of inflammation in the body,” says Lisa Andrews. “Consume less sugar-sweetened beverages, candy, and desserts that are high in added sugar.”
Alcohol is well known for being bad for our immune system. It is also treated as a toxin in our bodies and takes large amounts of resources to process and expel from our system. It is also known for decreasing our sleep quality and thus, influencing our ability to battle viruses and colds the following day.
“Alcohol consumption in excess can disrupt your immune system and impair your body’s ability to fight against infection,” says Joan Salge Blake, professor at Boston University. “Alcohol may also impact the gut, changing the gut microbiome, and the overall function of the immune system.”
Usually, western civilizations get a bad reputation for their quality of meals. In fact, researchers observed systemic inflammation in mice when they were fed a standard western diet. The combination of refined flours, fried foods, and added sugars add to high-calorie diets that hurt our immune system.
A study out of Germany found that too much fast-food may cause the immune system to act as if it is responding to bacterial infections that might accelerate the development of diabetes and arteriosclerosis.
Also, one too many cheeseburgers with fries and a large soda can take a toll on immune health. Fast food addiction can be a diet devoid of vitamins, fiber, antioxidants and minerals, each an important part for a healthy immune system.
Author: Steven Sinclaire