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Foods That Might Be Weakening Your Immune System 

by Fabian Jackson

4min read

It’s great to know which foods you can eat to help boost your immune system, but what should you be cutting back on or avoiding altogether? Keep reading to discover all.

Foods that weaken your immune system

High salt

salty chips

Everything from fast foods to frozen dinners can contain high levels of salt, which when eaten too often can lead to tissue inflammation, slower response to autoimmune illnesses and impair immune health. Don’t worry about our dishes though – we work with a nutritionist to get the balance of these things just right.

Added sugar

sugar cubes

Similarly, too many added sugars have the ability to engulf gut bacteria and suppress the functionality of immune cells. As with all of these recommendations, you don’t need to fully cut added sugars out of your diet, but avoiding long, or even short-term excess is optimal!

Omega-6 high foods

chia seeds

Our bodies rely on both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to function, but Western diets are often low in the former and high in the latter. This is associated with increased disease risk and possibly immune complications. How? Eat more walnuts and chia seeds and less sunflower oil!

Alcohol

beeer

There are some known (and many believed) benefits to drinking a glass of wine now and then, but excessive consumption of alcohol can result in a lower functioning immune system. This often results in a higher susceptibility to respiratory illnesses and pneumonia, leading to a harder overall recovery from infections.  

Refined carbohydrates

whole grains

Eating white bread and sugary baked goods too often can negatively alter your gut bacteria and possibly even lead to increased production of free radicals and inflammatory proteins. Opting for high-fibre foods instead (like vegetables, fruit, whole grains, pulses nuts, and seeds) will help support immune health and even help with a better night’s sleep in the process. 

Too few greens

spinach

We could all do with eating a few more greens, but if you’re looking to boost your immune system, a fresh hit of vegetable power will not only help your general health but specifically target your gut health leading to better immunity.  

Other ways to support your immune system

Our nutritionist, Aly, has some great extra advice for strengthening your immune system – she says

  • Exercise regularly, getting lots of fresh air
  • Keep your stress levels as low as possible
  • Ensure you’re getting enough sleep
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly 
  • Stay up to date with recommended vaccinations

Check out our nutritionist, Aly’s guide to superfoods next!

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Fabian Jackson
by Fabian Jackson

Fabian is one of our lovely Content Marketing Assistants who loves writing almost as much as he loves coffee, old episodes of Escape to the Country (no judgement here), and cooking up a storm in his kitchen.

Read more from Fabian


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