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    The coronavirus pandemic continues, and the most concerning and critical aspect of health is your Immunity. You need to feed your Immune System with a good diet, nutrients, and minerals essential for it to keep triggering its defenses. 

    Some of the common queries hitting you hard lately are:  

    • How can I make my Immune system strong?
    •  What should I eat?
    •  What should I avoid eating?

    You need to make the best immune-boosting choices and avoid foods taking a toll on your immune system. Read on to find out the Foods that one should avoid for a healthy immune system.

    1. Sugar

    Can your everyday snack make you sick?

    Studies have shown that spikes in sugar intake suppress your Immune System. If you eat snacks high in sugar content, you may be reducing your body’s ability to ward off diseases.

    Health hazards:

    • Unwanted strains of bacteria thrive on sugar, and the more they have to feed on, the faster they grow.
    • Sugar directly impacts your immune system by competing for space with Vitamin C, a core nutrient for your immune cells. The more sugar in your Immune system, the harder it is for the immune cells to get the Vitamin C they require to function.
    • Sugar lowers the potency of white blood cells by 50% after 1-2 hours of consuming it. This state lasts for about 5 hours.
    • Sugar-filled candies, such as gummies, sweets and jellies, result in inflammation and bloating.

    Alternatives to sugar can be:

    • Munch on a bowl of naturally sweet berries that are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. These contain flavonoids that help fight inflammation.

    2. Fast food

    Burgers and french fries can come back to bite you. It may be tough to avoid burgers, fries, shakes, and other fast-food menu items. These foods are high in calories, saturated fats, sodium, and sugar.

     In one of the studies, mice that ate a high-sugar and low-fiber diet responded strikingly. This diet drastically reduced their microbial gut diversity. Their systems did not get back to normal even when switched back to a healthier diet. 

    Health hazards:

    • Research suggests that a high fat and calorie diet impacts the Immune system in the long term.
    •  It also increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

    Alternatives:

    • Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal and banana to keep yourself full and satisfied.
    • A classic peanut and butter sandwich on whole-grain bread.
    • To resist temptations while away from home, keep some healthy snacks with you. Things such as kale chips, smoothies, and nutritious bars are an excellent option to stave off the munchies until you get back home.

    3. Alcohol

    Alcohol-related health hazards are most observable in people who consume alcohol regularly and excessively. Moderate drinking can also temporarily lower your immune function, especially if you have all your drinks back to back. 

    Health hazards:

    •  Alcohol causes excessive intestinal permeability, allowing certain substances to enter directly into the bloodstream from the intestines. 
    • Alcohol Impacts the production of T cells and B cells, both of which act as first responders in the body.
    • Consuming alcohol affects your hormones, disrupting your Circadian rhythm, thus hampering your sleep cycles, leaving you feeling unwell all the time.

    Alternatives

    • When you drink, go for options such as wine or beer. Studies show that drinking these in moderation can give your Immune system some boost.
    • Alternate your alcoholic beverages with water. It helps you avoid hangovers.
    • Try sipping on a spritzer, a wine with sparkling water, reducing your alcohol intake, and staying hydrated.

    4. MSG food 

    MSG, aka Monosodium Glutamate, is a flavor shortcut that gives a delicious, addictive taste to food. However, it has many harsh effects on our Immune System.

    Health Hazards:

    • Studies have revealed that consuming food containing MSG causes unwanted changes in your thymus and spleen. Both of them are key players in your immune function as they create lymphocytes that castes off foreign invaders from your body. Your spleen makes antibodies that prevent you from falling sick too often.
    • MSG causes oxidative stress to both the thymus and spleen.
    • It lowers the body’s capacity to produce more lymphocytes while making it more likely that those produced by the body cannot function as required.
    • MSG throws off your levels of interleukin, a signaling molecule that helps modulate your immune responses.

    Alternatives

    • Be aware of how prevalent MSG is in restaurant foods. Please do your best to avoid it when eating out.
    • Look for natural alternatives to get a similar umami flavor, such as meat broths, high-quality cheese, mushrooms, and fermented foods.

    5. Refined oil

    Oil can be very healthy for you, providing the necessary fatty acids, such as Omega 3 and vitamin E, but only when appropriately produced.

    Unfortunately, most oils are refined, meaning that they have been produced to strip out the nutritional content and mutate the oil’s natural molecular structure.

    Health Hazards

    • Eating food that has been cooked in refined oil can cause much stress to your Immune System, thus producing free radicals.
    • The free radicals damage the delicate tissues of your body, and your body goes through bouts of temporary inflammation.
    • Long-term consumption of refined oil causes fatty liver and cardiovascular issues.

    Alternatives

    • Switch to high-quality cold-pressed oils as much as possible.
    • Coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, ghee, and avocado oils are good for your body. These are good sources of other healthy nutrients.

    The best way to keep your Immune system healthy is to eat foods full of all the essential nutrients required by your body. Some interesting food suggestions are:

    1. Honey

    Honey is a natural sweet made by bees, and Winnie the Pooh loves it too. You need to know the following facts about this wonder ingredient:

    • Honey will never be spoilt if kept in an airtight container.
    • Honey is the sole food that has all the ingredients to keep you alive and healthy.
    • Honey has almost all the vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and water.

    How does Honey benefit you?

    • Honey boosts your metabolism and is hence very effective for those willing to shed their extra kilos.
    • Honey has excellent antioxidant and antibacterial qualities. Hence it is perfect for your skin if consumed in moderate quantities. Honey can even be used as a moisturizing mask for your skin.
    • Honey helps in lowering the level of bad cholesterol in your body and protects you from cardiovascular diseases.
    • Honey helps build a stronger heart. Research has proved that the antioxidants present in honey can prevent arteries from narrowing.
    • Regular consumption of Honey sharpens your memory, increasing your power of concentration.
    • Honey helps reduce stress and the occurrence of headaches also.
    • Sugar contained in Honey increases the levels of insulin in your blood. This, in turn, releases serotonin which is further transformed into melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that induces quality sleep. Hence Honey is very good for people who have insomnia.
    • Honey helps prevent diseases associated with the digestive tract as it has antiseptic properties.
    • Honey helps soothe the nervous system as it contains glucose essential for the proper functioning of neurons. 

    Regular consumption of Honey has numerous health benefits. Just two spoonfuls of Honey each day gifts you with a super strong immunity in the long run.

    2. Citrus fruits

    Citrus fruits have Vitamin C in abundance. Vitamin C helps boost your Immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells. White blood cells help fight against infections and diseases.

    Try these:

    • Oranges
    • Grapes
    • Lemons
    • Red bell pepper.

    3. Garlic

    Garlic is an essential ingredient of almost every cuisine in the world. It adds a little zing to your food, and it is a must-have for your health.

    Early civilizations have recognized the value of garlic in fighting infections and diseases.

    How does garlic benefit you?

    • Garlic helps in lowering your blood pressure.
    • Garlic slows down the hardening of arteries.
    • Sulfur-containing compounds in garlic, such as Alison, are good for the immune system.

    4. Almonds

    Studies have proven that regular consumption of seeds and nuts such as almonds is perfect for your health and appearance.

    How do Almonds benefit your Immunity?

    • Almonds help normalize the lipid levels in your blood. Hence they prevent the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases in diabetic patients. 
    • Almonds help in weight loss since they reduce the level of fat in the body.
    • Almonds are a great source of Vitamin E, which is the key to a healthy Immune System.

    5. Chicken

    When you are sick, chicken soup is more than just a feel-good food. The protein in chicken helps in muscle growth and helps you in your weight loss journey.

    How does chicken help your Immune System?

    • Chicken serves as a natural antidepressant. Chicken is high in tryptophan, an amino acid. This gives a comforting feeling after having a big bowl of Chicken soup.
    • Chicken increases the level of serotonin in your brain. It thus enhances your mood, blasts off stress, and lulls you to sleep.
    • Chicken keeps your heart healthy. Eating chicken breast controls Homocysteine levels, an amino acid that can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. 
    • Chicken is a rich source of phosphorus essential for strong bones, teeth, liver, kidney, and central nervous system function.
    • Chicken is abundant in Selenium which is an essential element in thyroid hormone metabolism and immune function.
    • Chicken is rich in Niacin, one particular B-vitamin that guards against cancer and other genetic DNA damage forms.
    • Chicken provides retinol alpha, beta carotene, and lycopene. All these are derivatives of vitamin A and are very good for your eye health.

    Conclusion: 

    These were some food ideas that can help you boost your Immunity. These food suggestions will help you keep yourself healthy and prepare your immune system to keep illness away. 

    Lifestyle choice and related behaviors influence your Immunity tremendously. This pandemic calls everybody to switch to a healthy lifestyle and arm their bodies with a strong defense. 

    If you have further questions about immunity or food, please reach out to us and we will be happy to help.

    References

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S193131281830266X
    https://www.weightandwellness.com/resources/articles-and-videos/how-sugar-damages-your-immune-system-how-cut-it-out/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3887500/
    https://www.news-journal.com/charm-view/amazing-facts-about-honey/article_e3932822-c290-11e9-bd5a-dbea386eab0e.html

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