To maintain good health and well-being, it is important to eat certain foods. However, it is equally crucial to make sure that you don’t consume certain foods as per Ayurveda to protect your immune system and keep it robust. The fact is some foods build your immunity while others weaken it.
We talk plenty about immunity-boosting foods and try to incorporate them into our diets. However, not enough attention is given to foods that harm our immune system. That is why, in this article, we discuss the foods that you need to eliminate from your diet for a strengthened immune system.
Here is a list of the 10 worst foods for the immune system. Take a read!
10 Foods That Harm Your Immunity
1. Refined Grains
Grains are generally composed of three components: bran, germ, and endosperm. The bran is the outer shell of the grain which is a rich source of fiber and contains traces of minerals, phytochemicals, and B vitamins. The germ has antioxidants and nutrients and is a source of heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
The bran and germ, the most nutritious parts of whole grains, are removed during the refining process, along with all the nutrients they contain. A strong immune system is indicated by a healthy gut and due to high consumption of refined carbohydrates, unhealthy fats, processed food, and refined grains, 85% of the friendly bacteria can decline.
2. Fried Foods
Fried foods are lip-smacking but they rank among the foods that weaken the immune system with their higher concentration of advanced glycation end products (AGEs).
AGEs are the compounds naturally occurring during cooking at high temperatures like frying and are associated with a less optimal gut microbiome, elevated inflammation, and a weak intestinal barrier which affect the immune system.
3. Sugary Snacks
A majority of sweet tooths would not like it but too much added sugar isn’t the ideal intake for strong immunity. Excessive sugar consumption through sugar-sweetened beverages and snacks makes the immune system weak as excess fructose in diet intake changes your gut microbiota and does not let the beneficial bacteria strains thrive.
High blood sugar levels also cause chronic inflammation which leaves your immune system overworked to fight against infections.
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4. Caffeinated Beverages
Coffee and tea, our beloved beverages, have high antioxidants which make them conducive to reducing inflammation. However, they interfere with the sleep cycle and affect sleep quality, thereby affecting the immune system adversely. So if you like tea and coffee a lot, it is advised to limit their consumption to just a couple of cups a day and consume them at least 6 hours before bedtime.
5. Salty Foods
High sodium intake leads to elevated inflammation, and alters the gut microbiome, producing changes in adaptive immunity. Most people generally consume a lot more salt than it is recommended, affecting their immune system. Thus, it is advised to restrict the intake of sodium-rich foods such as fast food, salty snacks, and canned goods to lessen your overall salt consumption.
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6. Carbonated Drinks
Sodas and colas are artificially sweetened with slim nutritional value. Phosphoric acid, present in most sodas, depletes calcium and magnesium levels, which are crucial for good immune function. Even if you only drink diet soda or carbonated drinks with ‘no added sugar’, it still makes an adverse impact.
7. Canned Soups
Soups are healthful but canned soups may not be the healthiest choice for you. Most instant soups contain high amounts of sodium, corn flour, maltodextrin, artificial preservatives, and flavoring agents which impair immune function and are known to increase the risk of lifestyle diseases and infections.
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8. Processed Foods
MSG (Monosodium glutamate) came into the limelight at a brief time when instant noodles went off the shelves. But if you take a careful look at the food labels this ingredient which is used to enhance flavor is still present in many processed and instant foods. The presence of MSG in foods makes them bad for your immunity, causing oxidative stress in the body, and interfering with your healthy immune system.
9. Red Meat
As per Ayurveda, consumption of red meat shall be strictly avoided for protection against infection. The sugar present in red meat is not digested by the body but rather is absorbed into the tissue to trigger inflammation and affect immunity adversely. Plus, red meats are high in fats that don’t support the immune system.
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We know that excess consumption of alcohol harms the liver but it isn’t the best for your gut as well. Alcohol consumption affects the presence of healthy bacteria in your gut adversely and makes the gut barrier less functional.
Thus, letting the pathogens go past it and weakening the body’s immunity. Excess alcohol can reduce the immune system’s ability to produce antibodies when invaders like the flu virus attack as well. It also causes disturbance in your sleep cycle which is essential for keeping your immune system healthy. If you enjoy having an occasional drink, have it in moderation and you will be good.
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It is always good to have a tab on what to avoid with what to consume so that every health-conscious decision you make has a better impact. Consume a healthy diet by ensuring that you avoid the above-mentioned worst foods for your immunity and have good gut health leading to a robust immune system. Stay healthy and energetic always with your healthy food choices and diet as per ayurveda.