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The foods that weaken our immunity

Nutrition experts often advise us which foods can boost the immune system. Rarely, however, are those that can weaken the body’s ability to fight infections. A study by scientists from Tufts University in Boston and the National University of South Korea, recently cited by the online publication “Ecowatch”, reports that highly processed foods and those that contain “empty” calories – without nutrients – can have a bad effect on immunity us and ruin our health.

The immune system exists to protect us from bacteria, viruses and parasites, so the goal of a healthy diet is to give it a chance to fight disease and pathogens, recalls Darlena Kuna, a professor at the University of Florida. Foods that do not have these properties do not actually support the immune system. Who are they:

1. Sweet foods

Sonia Shateva

When we talk about sweet foods, the first things that come to mind are pastries, cakes, pastries and chocolates. But in fact, even dried fruits, as well as those from a can, or juices, also contain so much added sugar that they can put immunity to the test. The microbiome in our digestive tract keeps dangerous bacteria in check. But the glucose and fructose in sugary foods feed unhealthy microbes, making it harder to fight off infections.

Sweet foods, yeast, and “sweet”-loving microbes crave more and more added sugar in the body, and to some extent make us addicted. Adding too much sugar to our daily diet, however, raises blood sugar, which in turn increases inflammatory proteins. This is especially strongly observed among diabetics. High sugar levels attack immune cells. Scientists believe that those who eat a lot of sugary foods are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

2. Salty foods

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Salt makes food so delicious that it is hard for us to give it up. It helps bring out the natural flavors of food ingredients, but it’s actually bad for us because it can stop immune functions from working properly. The effect that salt has on gastrointestinal bacteria increases the risk of autoimmune diseases.

A preliminary study by scientists at University College London in 2019 showed an increase in autoimmune diseases in developed countries. This is especially noticeable in diseases such as colitis, lupus and Crohn’s disease. According to another 2016 study, men who ate saltier foods had higher levels of monocytes and inflammatory markers, a clear indicator of an over-immune response.

3. Processed meats

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Love hotdogs and deli meats? Maybe it’s time to cut back. This advice used to be given mostly to pregnant women, but recently nutritionists are addressing it to everyone. These delicacies are potentially linked to certain types of diseases, including stomach cancer. That’s because most are high in saturated fat, which nutrition experts say contribute to poor immune system function and inflammation in some people. They also contain terminal substances that become harmful when fats and proteins mix with sugars in the blood. This causes oxidative stress and inflammation. Fried bacon, hotdogs, roast meats have high levels of similar ingredients.

4. Fast food

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Everyone knows that fast food is not the best choice, but sometimes, because of the convenience and attractive taste, we can’t resist them. In fact, they not only contribute to excess weight, but can also harm our immune system. They have a bad effect on the intestinal biome and can increase inflammation. In addition to the excessive salt they contain, they sometimes contain chemicals that can adversely affect the hormonal system, reduce or completely prevent the immune response.

5. Foods with preservatives and additives

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The more processed a food is, the more additives and preservatives it contains. These substances are used to improve its content, taste and durability. Additives and preservatives can cause immune imbalances by altering gut bacteria and increasing inflammation. A 2015 study by a group of scientists from the US and Israel linked preservatives and additives to poor immune function in rodents. Therefore, nutritionists advise avoiding bacon, canned soups and vegetables, frozen foods, snacks, and foods that have a long shelf life.

The other 5 foods, see HERE

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