Each time you think of the foods you eat, your immune system should be your first consideration; as there are immune-boosting foods, there are also foods that weaken your immune system.
The Immune System:
The immune system is made up of special organs, cells and chemicals that fight infection (microbes).
The main parts of the immune system are white blood cells, antibodies, the complement system, the lymphatic system, the spleen, the thymus, and the bone marrow. These are the parts of your immune system that actively fight infection.
Sometimes the immune system can mistakenly think that the body’s own cells are foreign cells, which mean it can also attack healthy, harmless cells in the body. This is known as an autoimmune response.
Two Types Of Immune System (Innate and Adaptive)
There are two subsystems within the immune system, known as the innate (non-specific) immune system and the adaptive (specific) immune system. Both of these subsystems are closely linked and they work together whenever a germ or other harmful substance triggers an immune response.
The innate immune system provides a general defence against harmful germs and substances, so it’s also called the non-specific immune system. It mostly fights using immune cells such as natural killer cells and phagocytes (“eating cells”).
The main job of the innate immune system is to fight harmful substances and germs that enter the body, for instance through the skin or digestive system.
The adaptive (specific) immune system makes antibodies and uses them to specifically fight certain germs that the body has previously come into contact with. This is also known as an “acquired” (learned) or specific immune response.
Because the adaptive immune system is constantly learning and adapting, the body can also fight bacteria or viruses that change over time.
It’s amazing to know that they’re also where our “immune memory” is created, so the immune system can “remember” how to defend against certain pathogens in the future.
According to the Conversation, Germinal centres are made up of different immune cells, and one type, called B cells, are particularly important for generating immune memory.
These B cells make antibodies (a protein) in response to infections or vaccinations, which bind to pathogens (like bacteria and viruses) and either destroy them or trigger other immune cells into action.
Foods And The Immune System:
The performance of our immune system can be influenced by the foods we eat, there are clear indications that some of the foods we consume contain substances which can harm our immune system general functions.
Our body relies on vitamins and minerals from the foods we eat to function properly which in turn triggers the immune system to defend us from harmful bacteria.
Foods That Weaken Immune System:
Let’s now take a look at those foods that weaken the system…
Sugar is an energy source for bacteria and viruses, consuming excessive sugary contents can weaken your immune system thereby making it very difficult to fight off bacteria, as the bacteria actually use that sugar to grow.
Sugary foods can also lead to weight gain and obesity, which can compromise your immune system in multiple ways.
Since most juices carry loads of added sugar contents, it can weaken your immune system.
Drinks like soda, juices and sweetened teas or energy drinks have been linked to harming cardiometabolic health, diabetes risk, body weight, and obesity, and according to recent studies, even cancer risk,
Fried foods are high in fat, which can lead to rapid weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. As delicious as French fries and fried chicken maybe, it’s time to cut them from your diet. Why are fried foods so bad? Because they’re usually fried in refined oils, which also cause inflammation.
Oils like sunflower, soybean, and corn are all high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, the body can convert the most common omega-6, linolenic acid, into another fatty acid called arachidonic acid which is a building block for molecules that can promote inflammation.
If you’re a lover of ice cream, it’s time to slow down a bit, this sweet delight is loaded with full fat cream and milk, which makes it high in saturated fats. Apart from that the added sugar in ice creams increase inflammation and spike the sugar level instantly.
Red meat is high in acid, and consuming too much of it can actually make the pH levels in your body too acidic. When those pH levels are too acidic, the levels of important minerals (such as magnesium and potassium) are reduced, thus lowering the effectivity of your immune system.
Potatoes chips, plantain chips are all an immune system nightmare. Not only are they fried in vegetable oil, but they’re also high in salt, which, according to a recent study from the University of Bonn, can contribute to immune deficiencies.
Drinking alcohol can cause a whole array of physical problems. For starters, it can make you more susceptible to pneumonia and other respiratory conditions.
If you drink while you have an infection, the alcohol levels in your blood can make it take longer for that infection to heal.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adult males limit their alcohol intake to a maximum of two drinks per day. For adult females, one drink per day is the recommended maximum.
White flour, which is used to make white bread, contains additives that cause inflammation and weaken your immune system. Avoid white bread, rolls, and even pasta made with white flour as much as possible.
White bread, enriched or not, contains very little fibre. Fibre is important to your health and necessary for keeping your digestive system functioning properly.
As roughage that your body can’t digest, it helps move the food you’ve eaten through your stomach, intestines and then out of your body to keep you regular.
Fibre helps avoid constipation by softening and adding bulk to your stool and may also decrease your risk of developing haemorrhoids and diverticulitis.
Summary: If any of these foods made your best food menu, it is important to have a rethink on them, if your immune system is weak then you are exposed to viruses and bacteria which causes sicknesses and diseases.
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