What can weaken the immune system?
A poor, nutrient deficient diet is the biggest reason why weakness in the immune system may develop. Young people growing up today have a vastly different diet to that of their parents and grandparents when they were children. Fast food, soft drinks, and sugar laden snack foods have become a daily part of many children’s lives. Food that comes in brightly coloured packets filled with artificial colours, flavours and preservatives, has taken dominance over basic fresh foods like vegetables, fruit, fish and meat.
In 2016 researchers at the University of Adelaide found that Australian children obtain nearly half of their daily energy intake from discretionary foods. These are foods that people refer to as junk foods; those high in fat, salt, sugar and artificial additives.
Vegetables and fruit are an excellent source of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants we need to keep our immune system strong and without them, health problems will inevitably surface. One of the greatest problems with modern day diets in children is that they are so high in sugar. Excess sugar directly suppresses the immune system and creates an environment where bacteria can thrive, making infections more likely.
A lack of essential fatty acids in the diet is another major problem. The omega 3 fats EPA and DHA are mostly found in seafood, grass fed meat, flax seeds, walnuts and chia seeds. Many children never eat fish, or if they do, it is the battered and fried type in which the essential fatty acids have been destroyed.
Many older people living alone do not cook, or may have dental problems which make it hard to chew whole unprocessed foods. Many live on diets of toast and tea or convenience meals cooked in a microwave oven. Heating food or microwaving food destroys vitamin C. The overuse of antibiotic drugs can weaken the immune system by disturbing the gut flora and breeding antibiotic resistant bacteria and fungi such as candida. Low selenium soil levels mean food is often not a good source of this important mineral. Selenium has anti-inflammatory effects and helps support a healthy immune system.