In a time of constant threats from viruses, scares of flu epidemics, fears of cancer diagnosis, and chronic inflammation you may wisely ponder how to strengthen immune system.
Boost immune system by eating less sugar
Sugar, whether it comes in a form of table sugar, glucose, fructose, honey or fruit juice has been shown to significantly decrease the body ability to fight germs.The most pronounced effect on the body defenses can be noted between 1 to 2 hours after sugar ingestion and the immune impairment could be seen to a lesser degree even 5 hours afterwards[i].
The most pronounced effect of sugar ingestion is the “paralysis” of white blood cells called in medical terms “reduced phagocytic index”, which in plain language means a low ability of white blood cells to engulf (swallow) bacteria.
The above study has very practical implications. For example, a simple way to boost your immune system daily is to say NO to sugar.
Below is a short list of high sugar foods. Look at it every time you buy food at a grocery store, order something at fast-food restaurant, and have a snack at your local coffee shop. This is one of the ways to beat diabetes, reduce cancer risk and strengthen the body all at the same time.
The following list is foods full of simple sugars or in other words, foods capable of “paralysing” your immune system. Don’t be surprised to find that some of these foods you might have considered healthy. If you still like them consume them infrequently and limit them to an absolute minimum.
- Fruit bars; that includes “no sugar added” variety
- Canned fruit; they are usually sweetened with sugar or fruit juice
- Fruit juices; that includes unsweetened orange, grape or other juices
- Chocolate milk, pop; don’t get tempted by zero-sugar versions containing artificial sweeteners, as they are even worse
- Cakes, candies, donuts, muffins, cookies, cereal bars
- Ice cream, puddings
- Sweeteners and syrups including, agave, maple, honey, corn
- Sauces: BBQ sauce, ketchup, dressings etc.
- Hidden sugars in the ingredient list: check for words ending in –ose, eg. sucrose, dextrose, maltose, etc. These are all different names for sugars
Include fatty acid foods to strengthen immune system
You may still think that fat is bad for you, however fat has strong anti-microbial properties and is one of the foods that boost immune system. Butiric acid, acetic acid, caprylic acid, and lauric acid have strong antibacterial and anti-fungal actions[ii]. They were shown to be valuable for reducing Streptococci, Staphylococci, Candida as well as many opportunistic microbes looking to inhabit our bodies.
Below are best sources of fatty acids that have antimicrobial properties and can boost immune system:
- Butter (NOT margarine) – butyric acid
- Apple cider vinegar, naturally fermented foods – acetic acid
- Coconut oil – lauric acid
- Goat milk – caprylic acid
Chronic sub-clinical bacterial and yeast infections are the most common reasons for chronic inflammation and weak immune system. Intestinal or systemic Candida, gingivitis and periodontitis are all very common. Bloating, carbohydrate intolerance, bleeding gums, and poor dentition all indicate that the microbial balance of the body has already been disrupted. Changes of the microbial composition can be early indicators that a boost to immune system is needed.
We live in a fat-fearful society, where the word fat means “obesity”, “heart disease”, and “high cholesterol”.
Unfortunately these wrong correlations are also the reasons why we massively suffer from low immune system related problems.
Foods that boost immune system
Take into consideration that the most immune-system friendly vitamin, Vitamin D is fat soluble and you must eat fat to absorb it. Vitamin D is well known to help with cancer as well as bouts of flu. 42% of flu reduction is possible at daily dose of 1,200IU of vitamin D[iii]. Why take supplements if you just can eat a diet that does not result in vitamin deficiencies?
Ditching sugar and increasing good quality fat (not junk) in your diet are two of the most simple ways to strengthen immune system. Maybe your fatty omelet for breakfast makes more sense now than a bowl of immune-suppressing sugar-laden cereals. Or maybe coconut milk smoothie can replace your standard fruit juices and pop? Be creative. In part 2 you will learn three other simple totally natural ways to boost immune system. For a great read on building the body defenses go to “Ousting Sniffles“.