Why Processed Food is Bad for Your Immune System and What You Must Eat Instead


Guest Post By AnnaLaura Brown

Processed food is bad for your immune system. You probably already know that, however, if you are still eating processed foods, then you probably don’t realize how bad they are for you and what you must eat instead. Keep reading and I will share with you seven main reasons why processed food is bad for your immune system.

First, the sugar content. Yes, it’s true processed food for the most part has very high amounts of added sugar. While this isn’t true for all of them, it’s true for a big part of them. For example, did you know that most brands of ketchup have more sugar in them than some cookies and cakes? Sugar is one of the worst things you can consume for strong immune health. In fact, I’ve heard sugar called the white death because of how bad it is for your health. Note: I’m not talking about the sugar in fruit or honey, but white sugar, cane sugar and other forms of processed sugar. So if cutting back on sugar or even trying to avoid it completely is important for your immune system, then you must avoid processed foods with added sugar.

Second, MSG and other similar chemicals. If you are like most people you are aware that MSG is often added to things like canned soups and Chinese food at restaurants. However, MSG is a common chemical in a lot of other processed foods. In fact, most brands of store bought chicken broth, cereals and lots of other things have this bad chemical in it. In fact, there are over 10 different names for MSG making it easy for companies who sell processed foods to add it in without you even being aware of it.


“Eat the Rainbow” referring to eating all the colors of the rainbow in your diet

Third, bad highly processed oils such as canola oil. Canola oil is a very common highly processed oil that is added to many processed foods. This oil is highly inflammatory and extremely bad for your immune system. One of the keys to having a strong immune system is low inflammation. Canola oil along with some other highly processed oils such as rapeseed oil, and palm oil are proven to increase inflammation. While olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil are good healthy fats. However, due to their increased costs, you won’t find these healthier oils in most processed foods. There are a few exceptions to this but it is pretty rare.

Fourth, It lacks the vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy diet. You’ve probably heard the saying before, “Eat the Rainbow” referring to eating all the colors of the rainbow in your diet. This is because eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables or even canned or frozen when necessary makes it so that you will be eating all the vitamins and minerals you need.  For example did you know that oranges and spinach have as much or more calcium in them than milk?  Usually green vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli, celery and cabbage have the highest amount of vitamins and minerals, however, you also want to eat vegetables and fruits of other colors such as apples, beets, red and orange peppers, bananas and yellow squash. You can also experiment with eating purple cabbage in addition to green cabbage. Making sure to get enough of all your needed vitamins and minerals including magnesium, vitamin c, vitamin d and others is a very important way to have a strong immune system.

Fifth, GMOS- otherwise known as Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOS are when a food is genetically modified and changed from its original state. While these are less common with fresh fruits and vegetables, they are very common in processed foods. This is especially true with anything with corn in it. Even worse, many foods have corn to one degree or another added in or used when processed even if corn isn’t listed on the ingredient list. For example corn syrup is used as a sweetener in a lot of packaged foods. Corn is eaten by a lot of animals who are then slaughtered for processed meats. Corn or corn syrup is added to chips, crackers, soups and more. The long term effects of GMOS on your immune system aren’t well known, however, this is some evidence that these can cause allergies, autoimmune issues, digestive problems and other things that ultimately affect your immune system and your overall health.

Sixth- A lack of digestive enzymes- What many people do not realize is that raw foods and foods in their natural state have digestive enzymes in them that are necessary for a healthy diet. While you can buy digestive enzymes in a pill form to help you digest processed foods easier, this is not a good habit to adopt on a regular basis. Instead you should be eating real foods that contain these naturally. When you cook foods you change their enzymes, and when you process them even further, in most cases you completely eliminate them. Eating lots of foods without digestive enzymes affects your digestive system and your gut and your immune system and gut are directly connected to each other. If you have a healthy gut, you will have a healthy immune system. However, if you have a compromised gut, then your immune system will be too.

Seventh- Too many calories that will lead to weight gain, and possible diabetes and other health complications.  Processed foods usually have a lot more calories in them and it is a lot easier for you to eat a lot more. For example, if you compare the number of calories in a bag of potato chips to those in the same number of whole potatoes, or those in a homemade pizza with a crust you made yourself to those in a pizza from a restaurant. Eating too much, including consuming too much processed food, sugar, low quality oils and other similar ingredients, can lead to diabetes and other health issues that affect not only your endocrine or digestive systems but also your immune system. Statistics are showing for example, that a large percentage of the patients in the hospital with COVID 19 right now have diabetes. So if you want a strong healthy immune system you must avoid processed foods and eating real whole food that you cook yourself.

AnnaLaura Brown is a certified health coach who studied at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is passionate about helping people with allergies, immune healthy and living a life with autoimmune challenges that is happy and healthy. Learn more about her at http://annalaurabrown.com