Whether it is with tea, coffee, milkshake or any summer drink, we do like to have a few spoons of sugar every day. These beverages help us to cool down or give us energy to begin our day. But have you ever wondered if the sugar present in these drinks can actually affect our immunity? According to a study published by National Library of Medicine, sugar weakens the immune system as the white blood cells are unable to destroy bad bacteria or virus.
Health Shots consulted Dr Pawan Kumar Goyal, Senior consultant – Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, Salimar Bagh, New Delhi to know about sugar and other foods that may weaken the immune system.
Foods that may weaken immunity
If you want to be healthy, it is crucial to have a strong immune system. Dr Goyal says it helps us to protect us from infections caused by bacteria, parasites and viruses. A healthy immune system is a must to combat various harmful diseases. An excessive consumption of certain foods can slow down the immune system. Here are some of these foods:
High sugar intake slows down the action of white blood cells to fight against bacteria and viruses which impairs the function of immune system, says the expert.
2. Processed foods
Processed food is high in sodium content, has unhealthy fat and contains artificial preservatives which lead to chronic inflammation and weakens the immune system.
If you have been reaching out for a glass or mug of alcohol every night after work, it’s time to stop it. High level of alcohol consumption can suppress the immune function, leading to infections. It will reduce your body’s ability to fight against infections, says Dr Goyal.
4. Fried foods
Immune function can be affected by the excessive intake of fried foods which results in oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.
5. Trans fats
Fast food and baked food are high in trans-fat which weakens the immune system.
6. High-sodium foods
Foods that contain a high value of sodium can increase the blood pressure and weaken the immune system.
7. Highly refined grains
These are low in nutritional and fibre values which lead to an imbalance in the gut microbia which is important for immune system.
8. Excessive caffeine
High level of caffeine in your body can have a negative impact on sleep patterns, so that affects the immune system.
Tips to boost immune system
Keeping at a distance from smoking and alcohol is one way to boost your immune system. These harmful substances can damage the immune system. Other ways to make immune system stronger are:
1. Consume a balanced diet
A nutrient-rich balanced diet supports the functioning of immune system, so an adequate consumption of vegetables, fruits, minerals, healthy fats and foods rich in antioxidants is a must.
Have an adequate amount of water each day for better immunity and attaining better health.
3. Exercise regularly
For better functions of immune system, add moderate intensity physical activities to your routine, suggests Dr Goyal.
4. Sleep well
A quality sleep of 7 to 8 hours enhances the immune system which in turn reduces the risk of infections.
5. Manage stress levels
High levels of stress are harmful for the immune system. Add stress-relieving activities such as meditation and some breathing activities.
As you eat a balanced diet and regularly exercise, they can help to achieve a healthy weight and prevent obesity which too can have adverse effects on the immune system. So, eat well and keep moving.