Dhaka     Sunday   01 November 2020

Foods that weaken immune system

Md Billal Hossen || risingbd.com

Published: 12:55, 16 August 2020   Update: 10:59, 24 September 2020
Foods that weaken immune system

Though there are a good number of foods that naturally boost the immune system. Those immune-boosting foods contain functional components and phytonutrients that accelerate the activity of our immune cells. To stay healthy and active, it is necessary to eat immune-boosting foods because the immune system is the body’s most effective barrier against pathogens. Due to the pronounced function of immunity-boosting foods, it is always discussed as talk of the town. On the other hand, some foods disrupt the function of the immune system. Those immune weakening foods contain some deleterious or harmful chemicals that negatively affect the activity of immune cells and many other immune regulatory components. So, it is essential to know which food is responsible for the weakening of the immune system. Let’s disclose the Pandora’s Box.

Foods with Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), also known as tasting salt, is widely used in the ready-to-eat food in our country. The prevalence of using MSG is high in the restaurant food of our country. Most importantly, they give a delicious umami taste to the food. Research indicates that MSG disrupts the function of thymus and spleen that are the key players of our immune system. The thymus produces lymphocytes (B cell and T cell), a type of cell that is produced in response to the pathogen. MSG causes significant oxidative stresses into the thymus and spleen, thus reducing the lymphocyte production. In this way, MSG makes us more prone to disease. As a result, our immune system becomes weak. Moreover, it also interferes with the production of interleukin (IL), a signaling molecule that modulates the immune response. Instead of choosing MSG rich foods, you can choose fermented food that has pronounced benefits.

Alcoholic beverages

Alcoholic beverages reduce the production of macrophages, a phagocytic cell that breaks down the foreign particle enter into the human body. It also reduces the activity of immunoglobulin and cytokine. Cytokine helps to maintain cell to cell communication. That is why it is known as a chemical messenger of the human body. Drinking alcohol can also impair T and B cell production. To avoid alcohol addiction you can choose water and some other healthy drinks made with fruits.


It is well-known to us that drinking caffeine beverage brings briskness in our mind but do you know it has some deleterious effects on our immune system? Tea and some other caffeine beverages contain a phytonutrient called caffeine which is responsible for boosting freshness of mind. Regular consumption of caffeine weakens the immune system. Moreover, it also interferes with the production of T cell and interleukin (IL).

Pesticide-laden fruits and vegetable

The fruits and vegetables that we eat every day are anyhow contaminated with different types of pesticides which are simply harmful to our health. But, what’s more? The contaminated fruits and vegetables can alter gut microbiota. We know that healthy gut microbiota can play an important role in accelerating the immune system. Beneficial microorganism, known as probiotics, has pronounced health benefits houses in the gut. After consuming pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables, the microbial population of our gut has become changed and immune system loses its natural strength. To avoid this problem, you can choose organic fruits and vegetables for your family.

Fast food

Fast food is rich in sugar and salt and low in fiber. Regularly eating fast food can reprogram the way of your immune system's response to the foreign particles. And it becomes a “high alert” immune system which is harmful to your body. Thus, your immune system gets weakened day by day. To avoid fast food, you should try something homemade which will save your money as well as your health.

Diet soda

Diet soda contains artificial ingredients such as saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, etc. These artificial ingredients reduce the beneficial microbes in the gut, thus weakening the immune system. You can try cool water or green tea to avoid diet soda.

Sugary snacks

Snacks rich in sugar are the fuel of unwanted bacteria in your body. Most importantly, sugar competes with vitamin C, a core nutrient for boosting the immune system and makes vitamin C unavailable for the immune cells. So, you should try to avoid sugary snacks to keep your immune system healthy.


Gluten, a protein, is mostly found in grains such as wheat and barley. When you eat gluten-rich foods, it passes through your gut, at the time passage gluten triggers the production of zonulin which is the protein in nature and disrupts the intestinal wall. As a result, unnecessary immune response is produced.

From the above discussion, it is clear to us that some specific foods are deleterious for our immune system. Those foods must be removed from the diet to improve our immune system. We all know that there is no effective vaccine invented yet to cure Covid-19. That’s why the most important tool to fight against coronavirus is our immune system. So, it is indispensable to keep our immune system healthy and active. To get a healthy immune system, we all should try to avoid the aforesaid foods and then we will be able to actively fight against coronavirus.


(Writer is a student of the Department of Applied Nutrition and Food Technology, Faculty of Biological Science of Islamic University, Bangladesh. Email: [email protected])


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