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The Worst Food Ingredient For Your Immune System

Our immune system is complex, important and incredible! It’s the central checkpoint for protecting us from things that want to harm us – germs and disease. Our immune system takes the gut punch and fights back! And these threats can come externally or internally.

To stimulate immune function and make it work the best it can, we have to fuel up. Feeding our bodies the nutrients it needs to operate will help it fight for us. Eat mostly whole, minimally processed foods and good amounts of complete protein to support white blood cells and stimulate good immune responses.

So of all the food items you may eat, what’s the worst food ingredient? It’s one of the main things that can distract an otherwise healthy immune system.

If you are at all familiar with nutrition, wellness or just healthy living in general, you may have some clue one what the answer is.

Yep… sugar!

High blood sugar is a culprit of insulin resistance leading to obesity and diabetes. Elevated blood sugar levels also increase inflammation in the body. This puts pressure on your immune system to jump in and solve the problem by controlling and repairing the damage.

If you’ve been diagnosed as prediabetic or even diabetic, it doesn’t have to be forever. The effects of insulin resistance can be reversed with some easy changes!

So what do you do?

Well, being mindful of how much sugar you take in is a good start. Eliminating excess sugar from your diet is a great way to reverse the impacts of high blood sugar and improve your immune system.

You may be thinking, “Well, I don’t have a sweet tooth and I don’t eat a lot of sweets!”

But this is where some people get tripped up. Because it doesn’t just mean cutting out the sweets….

Sugar hides everywhere! And carbohydrate-rich food is also a culprit in increasing blood sugar levels. Having too many simple carbs like bread, pasta, rice, and some fruits and juices can have a huge impact on your body.

Also, some common pantry staples – ketchup, barbecue sauce, salad dressing – have added sugar. This also goes for other ultra processed foods – even the ones labeled as “healthy”. (Think cereal, yogurt, protein bars, or other snack bars.) Take a look at the food items in your kitchen and notice what’s in it.

4 Ways To Improve Your Immune System

Image of a woman biting into a piece of dark chocolate.

1. Cut back on sugary foods – the obvious kind.

  • Candy, cakes, cookies, sodas and your favorite seasonal latte are immediate sources of sugar that you can cut back on.
  • Instead of that candy bar, try opting for dark chocolate – in moderation – over 70% cocoa. Dark chocolate can help curb that sweet tooth. But it can also provide some antioxidants, minerals and other nutrients.
  • Occasional desserts and sweet treats are perfectly fine (and should be expected!) But cutting back initially to stabilize blood sugar is a great idea. Then add it back in where it fits with your lifestyle.

A woman is pouring a packet of True Lemonade Passionfruit into a clear water bottle.

2. Read nutrition labels and be aware of added sugar.

  • Start making it a habit to look at food labels. Check for the amount of added sugar in your normal staple items. You may be surprised by what you notice!
  • The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day for women, and 36 grams per day for men. It adds up quickly, and if you see numbers that have you worried, start making a few healthier swaps and substitutions. There are plenty of brands out there that make great products with no added sugar. Try them out!
  • This goes for fruit juices as well, like popular kids’ beverages and your favorite go-to bottles. Try switching to flavored water – this will also help improve your hydration!
  • True Lemon makes it super simple to get your water in and have it be just as delicious as your favorite beverages. Adding a burst of citrus with a powdered flavor enhancer is a great way to get the taste you savor without the ingredients your body doesn’t need. The Original Lemonade is made with real lemon juice and oils and sweetened with stevia. It has only 10 calories per stick with only 1 gram of added sugar. (Bonus: The littles also love the flavor of these Kids’ Drink Mixes!)

Image of a woman sitting at a wooden table, she is eating a salad. On the table are different vegetables and ingredients including avocado.

3. Eat more fiber – a key ingredient.

  • Fiber is super important for regular digestion and overall health. It also slows down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. So pairing fiber with carbs and sugar intake helps keep your blood sugar from spiking. This is essential to keeping your blood sugar levels under control.
  • The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 28 grams of fiber per day for women, and 34 grams per day for men. Try incorporating higher-fiber foods like beans and lentils, avocados, and steel-cut oats. High fiber fruits include berries, oranges and pears.

A man, woman, and child are standing around a counter with various food items on it. They are preparing something with the food.

4. Choose nutrient-dense foods.

Instead of looking at calories, focus on incorporating nutrient dense foods. This is impactful for keeping your immune system strong. You don't need to cut carbs out – just choose the carbs that are a better option for you. Fresh whole fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and sweet potatoes are examples of good sources of carbohydrates. These foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They will also fuel your body with energy. Pair these complex carbs with lots of great protein sources and healthy fats, and you’ve got a well-balanced diet.

This blog is brought to you by True Lemon
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This blog is brought to you by True Lemon
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  • 10-Calories
  • Sweetened with Stevia, 1g Sugar
  • NO Artificial Sweeteners
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