7 Foods That Kill Your Immune System

Foods That Kill Your Immune System: People with a weak immune system experience frequent health issues. Even fairly simple illnesses like the flu affect them more severely than people with strong immunity. A weakened immune system is in many cases due to an illness such as HIV. But even more common is a weak immune system caused by nutritional habits.

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What you eat greatly affects your body and its health. Certain types of food, when eaten frequently, lower your immunity thus giving harmful pathogens more power.

Here are the top 7 foods that kill your immune system.

Added Sugars

Some labels will call it maltose while others go by dextrose. Corn syrup, fructose, and lactose are also some of the names you will find on food product labels.

Do not be fooled, all these are names referring to the sugar contained in the product you are buying. It’s not just in sugary snacks or soda, even healthy foods such as store-bought fruit juice and diet soda have high amounts of added sugar.

These sugars are empty calories. In addition to expanding your waistline, they are also harmful to your immune system. 8 teaspoons of sugar, the same amount in a 12-ounce can of soda reduce your white blood cells’ pathogen fighting ability by 40%. This weakness can last for up to 5 hours.

Now, imagine the amount of sugar you consume daily from all those snacks and drinks you buy at the store. If you keep eating sugary foods, your immune system is always in a weakened state, unable to keep your body in perfect health.

Red Meat

The link between red meat and a weakened immune system is not that obvious. On one hand, red meat is a good source of nutrients. It contains plenty of proteins, certain minerals, and vitamins. The problem comes when moderate consumption is abandoned.

For one, meat contains high levels of saturated fat, not exactly the healthiest type of fat you can eat. Saturated fat causes increased levels of inflammation inside the body.

With frequent consumption, your immune system continues to take a beating, limiting its ability to fight pathogens.

Another cause of continued inflammation in the body is the presence of a certain molecule in red meat, Neu5Gc. It is also found in dairy. When you eat red meat, the body perceives the molecule to be a foreign substance and it produces an inflammatory response.

Not only does this inflammation affect immunity, but it has also been linked to cancer.

Better alternatives to red meat include oily fish such as salmon and plant proteins such as legumes and poultry.

Refined Grains

According to a 2010 issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, fiber is an important component of a strong and healthy immune system. This is especially true with soluble fiber, the type found in citrus fruits and berries.

New research has proven that consuming foods with high levels of soluble fiber speeds up healing especially from bacterial infections. One way soluble fiber does this is by increasing the production of a certain protein called interleukin-4.

This protein in turn strengthens the body’s infection-fighting cells, the T-cells. This protein also helps to prevent excessive inflammatory responses which, as we have seen, can weaken immunity.

Refined grains have all their fiber taken out of them during processing. As a result, what you are left with is a lot of starch, few nutrients, and no fiber. Other than causing weight gain, refined grains can also lead to a weaker immune system due to the absence of fiber.

So avoid foods like white bread, refined flour, and instant rice. Go for whole-grain foods. Wild rice, brown bread, and brown rice are just a few good examples.

Fried Foods

We have already seen how saturated fats are bad for the immune system because of their inflammatory effect. Fried foods are loaded with saturated fats, making them a hazard to your immunity.

In addition, fried foods contain dangerous trans-fats and cholesterol, both of which are terrible for your immune system.

Many fast foods are fried. Even if you order a healthy option such as a vegetable salad, you will find it laden with a fatty dressing. For a stronger immune system, replace these bad fats with healthy ones from foods such as avocados, nuts, and vegetable oils.


While that cup of coffee in the morning may give you an energy boost to start your day, have you considered what it does to your immune system? Drinking coffee causes an increase in the amount of physical and mental stress, which in turn impairs the immune system.

One effect of caffeine is putting the body in a flight or fight response mode. It also triggers the release of cortisol, a stress hormone. This kind of stress is okay for a while but when prolonged, the effect is not so good. Sustained levels of stress, such as those caused by frequent caffeine intake, suppress the immune system.

Things get worse if you take coffee just before bed. Sleep is extremely important for a strong immune system. Because caffeine lowers the quality of sleep, immunity is also affected.


Soda has plenty of added sugars in it. We have discussed how added sugars are a serious inhibitor to the healthy functioning of the body’s immune system. Even diet soda has added sweeteners, which are no better than any other kind of sugar.

Soda also contains phosphoric acid, which has been seen to reduce the amount of magnesium and calcium present in the body. These two minerals are crucial for strong immunity.

The best solution is to stop taking soda completely. Better alternatives include water and homemade fruit juice (in moderation).

Processed Foods

The biggest dietary problem of the modern world is the excessive consumption of processed foods. These foods contain too much sugar, fats, and other components that are bad for your immunity.

They also lack important nutrients that boost immunity. By eating processed foods, you are depriving the body of the ammunition it needs to guard the body against diseases and infections.

As if that is not enough, the rampant obesity caused by excessive consumption of processed foods causes a weak immune system. The two (weight gain and lower immunity) have a direct link.

Try to make your diet as natural as possible. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and healthy oils.

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