Given the worldwide pandemic right now, I think it’s safe to say that your immune system needs to be in the best shape it’s ever been in, and you have to make sure that you aren’t consuming anything that could potentially be worsening it.
It’s essential to understand which foods to consume to support your immune system rather than unintentionally weakening it. You’d be surprised to find out that much typical food and beverage items aren’t doing your immune system any favors.
These are six foods and beverages that could be keeping your immune system away from being the best it can be.
It is common knowledge that too much drinking is exceptionally harmful to your health. Okay, this may not be the most surprising on the list, but it is one of the most damaging, so it is worth mentioning. A glass of red wine once a day can provide some great health benefits for you. Red wine offers many antioxidants and combats inflammation, but only if it is taken in moderation.
Studies have shown that heavy drinking song women have increased by a whopping 41% during the pandemic. We’ve all fallen to the “Just one more drink.” routine. When your one drink turns into multiple shots or glasses of alcohol, it can compromise your immune system, even if you don’t think that it does. Drinking excessive alcohol may increase your risk of Pneumonia or Acute Respiratory Stress Syndrome (ARDS).
Binge drinking and heavy drinking are both examples of excessive drinking. Binge drinking is defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as four or more drinks on a single occasion for women and five or more for males. Heavy drinking is defined as eight or more drinks per week for women and fifteen or more for males.
If you find yourself drinking excessively, which amounts to about four or more drinks daily, then you should try to cut down to a reasonable level of no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. If you absolutely must consume alcohol, go for red wine.
If you have a sweet tooth, you may need to start looking into ways to keep it under control. Consuming too much sugar has the possibility to put your white blood cells into a coma temporarily. Because of this, your white blood cells won’t be able to do their job to stop bacteria and viruses from entering your body.
Luckily though, this only applies when you consume too much sugar. If you’re able to control and limit your sugar intake, then you should be fine. As a gauge, women should only consume about six teaspoons of sugar a day, while men should aim for no more than nine teaspoons of sugar a day.
If you have a craving for sweets, then maybe you should turn to sugar-free alternatives. At the supermarket, you’ll find some low sugar or completely sugar-free options that’ll still hit that sweet spot. There’s also a good chance that your favorite sweet manufacturer already has some sugar-free alternatives.
Beverages that contain caffeine, such as coffee and tea, can be good for you due to their anti-inflammatory properties. And if you regularly hit the gym, they also improve your performance during workouts.
But too much caffeine can have the opposite effect and instead increase inflammation and compromise your immune when taken in amounts large enough that it disrupts your sleep. If you struggle with falling asleep because of caffeine, then you should consider cutting off your caffeine intake at least 6 hours before you plan on heading to bed.
It’s best that you cut back on heavily caffeinated sugary beverages like soda and energy drinks. The recommended amount or the safest amount for a healthy adult to consume is about four or five 8-ounce cups of coffee per day. If you’re an espresso person, five shots of espresso are enough.
4. Greasy Fried Food
We’ve all daydreamed a delicious, fresh out of the oil, fried chicken. But sadly, it comes with a hefty price. Fried foods are not your immune system’s best friend.
As we know, fried foods contain very, very high amounts of grease and saturated fat, which have a terrible impact on your immune system. Not only this, but foods high in fat negatively impact your gut health, which plays an essential role in immune function.
Of course, it’s best to cut out fried foods completely, but I understand it can be challenging. So instead, try to monitor your intake and limit the number of fried foods you consume.
Sodium-packed foods also fall under the category of foods that are hard to avoid because most of our favorite foods are sodium-packed—pizza, cheese, lunch meat, and chips, to name a few. And overall, food tastes way better with the added salt. But the sad truth is, sodium may cause a significant increase in your blood pressure and compromise your immune system.
If you really can’t bring yourself just to cut out or lessen your salt intake by that much, then you could try combining salt with other seasonings like a couple of different herbs and spices. Who knows, you may find your favorite new flavor this way!
6. Fast Food
Lastly, another one of the lesser surprising things on this list is fast food. We’ve mentioned greasy food and sodium-packed food, so it’s only natural that fast food would be next. It’s cheap, easy, and tasty, so what’s not to like? But the matter of fact is, fast food is extremely rich in saturated fat, calories, sodium, and sugar. All of the big no-no’s. Long-term health consequences of a high-fat, high-calorie diet range from type 2 diabetes to heart disease and the ultimate attack on your immune system.