3 everyday foods that are hampering your immune system

Want to keep your body fighting fit? Cut these out

tissues, a mug and a pair of glasses
(Image credit: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)

Now more than ever, keeping your immune system in tip-top shape is important. We're all taking steps to protect ourselves from viruses – whether that's regularly sanitising our hands or investing in one of the best face masks for when we do need to venture out. But what can we do to get our bodies in fighting condition if we do end up catching something?

The foods you eat can have a big impact on your immune system. We asked Jen Mackinder, Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist at Gusto Organic, for her top tips for foods you want to avoid if you want to keep your body fighting fit. All of these foods can impact on our bodies' ability to ward off infection. 

1. Processed meats

Put down that Pepperami because at the top of this list are processed meats. "Processed meats are often modified to lengthen shelf life with additives that also deplete the immune system," explains Jen. "Limiting these can help reduce inflammation and fight off infection."

2. Coffee

More bad news: you might to find a new way to perk yourself up in the mornings because caffeine can weaken the immune system too. "Our bodies absorb caffeine so quickly that the body prioritises the coffee over other nutrients," says Jen. "Many coffee drinkers also suffer with low iron, the absorption of which is greatly affected by caffeine."

3. Refined sugars

"Vitamin C (AKA Ascorbic Acid) is crucial for immune health. Our bodies can’t function properly without it, and we cannot produce vitamin C ourselves. This means we should be wary of refined sugars and processed foods," explains Jen. "These can damage cells and strip out nutrients, in particular vitamin C. Research indicates cakes, sweets, chocolates, sugary juices, carbonated drinks packed with sugar all negatively impact the immune system."

Jen Mackinder is a Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist at Gusto Organic, creators of Super DC immune support juices.