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The Worst Food for Your Immune System


There is this one food that you need to be aware of that has the potential to completely nullify any help from the top three nutrients that support your immune system.

In this article, we’ll learn what this food is so that you can avoid it. But first, let’s start with the best three nutrients you can give your body to optimize your immune system.

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The essential nutrients to boost immunity

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that includes vitamins D1, D2, and D3.

Your body produces vitamin D naturally when it’s directly exposed to sunlight. You can also get vitamin D from certain foods and supplements to ensure adequate levels of the vitamin in your blood.

Vitamin D has several essential functions. Perhaps the most vital are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and facilitating normal immune system function (1).

Getting enough vitamin D is essential for the typical growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance to certain diseases.

People with inadequate vitamin D levels might be at increased risk of infections and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease (2).

This vitamin plays a critical role in promoting immune response. It has anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties and is crucial for activating immune system defenses (3).

Vitamin D is known to enhance the function of immune cells, including T cells and macrophages, that protect your body against pathogens (4).

The vitamin is so essential for the immune function that low vitamin D levels have increased susceptibility to infection, disease, and immune-related disorders (5).

For example, low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of respiratory diseases, including tuberculosis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as viral and bacterial respiratory infections (6789).

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to decreased lung function, which may affect your body’s ability to fight respiratory infections (1011).

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Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential, meaning your body can’t produce it. Yet, it has many roles and has been linked to impressive health benefits.

It’s water-soluble and found in many fruits and vegetables, including oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bell peppers, broccoli, kale, and spinach.

The recommended daily intake for vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men (12).

While it’s commonly advised to get your vitamin C intake from foods, many people take supplements to meet their needs.

One of the main reasons people take vitamin C supplements is to boost their immunity, as vitamin C is involved in many parts of the immune system.

First, vitamin C helps encourage the production of white blood cells, known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, which help protect the body against infection (13).

Second, vitamin C helps these white blood cells function more effectively while protecting them from damage by potentially harmful molecules, such as free radicals.

Third, vitamin C is essential to the skin’s defense system. It’s actively transported to the skin, which can act as an antioxidant and help strengthen the skin’s barriers (14).

Studies have also shown that vitamin C may shorten wound healing time (1516).

What’s more, low vitamin C levels have been linked to poor health outcomes.

For example, people who have pneumonia tend to have lower vitamin C levels, and vitamin C supplements have been shown to shorten the recovery time (1718).


Studies show that zinc is essential in almost all aspects of the immune system: It helps skin cells and cells lining our organs prevent pathogens from entering, and it keeps the thymus and bone marrow, which are responsible for generating immune cells, functioning normally.

Most of the research to date has focused on the role of zinc in the innate immune system, the body’s frontline defense that launches fast, non-specific attacks against foreign invaders. Zinc appears to be involved in making physical barriers — such as the cells that line our organs — more resistant to invasion and ensuring the proper functioning of macrophages. These critical white blood cells gobble up pathogens and send chemical signals to recruit other cellular soldiers.

To ensure enough zinc to carry out these many jobs, concentrations of the mineral within the body are tightly controlled. For example, at the onset of an infection, immune cells such as macrophages rapidly-produce a zinc-transporting protein called ZIP8. This protein controls how much zinc enters these cells, essential for maintaining the cells’ ability to mop up pathogens and regulating the production of critical defense-related molecules, including chemical messengers called cytokines (19).

The #1 food that stops immunity

The #1 food that stops your immune system from working is SUGAR.

Foods that significantly raise blood sugar, such as those high in added sugars, increase the production of inflammatory proteins like tumor necrosis alpha (TNF-α), C-reactive protein (CRP), and interleukin-6 (IL-6), all of which negatively affect immune function (20).

High blood sugar levels may inhibit the response of neutrophils and phagocytes, two types of immune cells that help protect against infection (21).

Furthermore, it has been shown that high blood sugar levels may harm gut barrier function and drive gut bacteria imbalances, which can alter your immune response and make your body more susceptible to infection (22, 23).

When you consume sugar, your absorption of vitamin D goes way down. It also impairs the activation of vitamin D and stops the production of vitamin D.

Sugar can cause an excess amount of zinc to be excreted from the kidneys. It also impairs the absorption of zinc.

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How to boost your immunity

Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Following general good-health guidelines is the best step to naturally keeping your immune system working correctly.

Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:

· Don’t smoke

· Eat a diet high in vegetables and fruits

· Exercise regularly

· Maintain a healthy weight

· Get adequate sleep

· If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation

· Try to minimize stress

Recall that we said that vitamin D, C, and zinc are the three top nutrients for the immune system. You can get these nutrients from the following sources:

The best sources of vitamin D

· The sun

· A vitamin D3 supplement

The best sources of vitamin C

· Sauerkraut

· Bell peppers

· Leafy greens

The best sources of zinc

· Red meat

· Shellfish

· Seafood

The worst thing for your immune system that’s not food is stress. Cortisol from stress can paralyze your immune system. The two worst things for your immune system are sugar and stress.


Sugar is the worst food ingredient for your immune system. When you have high blood sugar — which is caused by many factors, but the biggest is consuming too much of it in your diet — it starts a vicious cycle of insulin resistance and obesity that drives up inflammatory cytokines, damages blood vessels, and activates the immune system to repair those areas.

This significantly distraction the immune system and paves the way for dangerous bacteria and viruses to slip through our body’s defenses.

Eliminating excess sugar from your diet can not only help end this cycle, but it can reverse it completely. Dialing back your sugar consumption is one of the most effective ways to improve your immune system.

Disclaimer: Dr. Berner does not diagnose, treat, or prevent any medical diseases or conditions; instead, he analyzes and corrects the structure of his patients with Foundational Correction to improve their overall quality of life. He works with their physicians, who regulate their medications. This blog post is not designed to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or any other individual. The information provided in this post or through linkages to other sites is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, consultation, or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Foundation Chiropractic and Dr. Brett Berner are not liable or responsible for any advice, the course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this article or others.

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