5 Food Habits That Boost Immunity & 5 Food Habits That Drain It !


The immune system in the body has a prominent role in saving us from diseases, virus-attacks, and pandemics. It can fight from noxious substances that enter our body.

The immunity system produces white blood cells[1], that help to counter destruct antigens and invaders that attack the body. Our Immune system comprises cells and proteins that grow with the intake of nutrition and help maintain a healthy balance within the body by fighting against[2]:

  • Pathogens like viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites 
  • Harmful substances that have not yet entered our body but are there in the environment. 
  • Changes that can be detrimental for the physical well-being and are grown within the body like cancer cells
  • Malignant substances present in food

Immunity identifies these destructive elements[3] and counterbalances the body, thus, keeping it away from ailments.

How habits play a role in our health

Your habits, lifestyle, and attitude towards life decide your long-term health and disease-free life[4]. Humans are surrounded by machines that have invoked a sedentary lifestyle. Poor food habits, lack of physical exercise, and the advent of new viruses and diseases attack the immune system every now and then. This can lead to metabolic diseases, skeletal problems, hypertension, depression[5], violence, weight issues, cardiovascular problems, and much more.

It is imperative to work on your habits, starting with contemplation and realizing how you want to start working on the betterment of your physical health.

Besides major changes that need to be made in your eating and exercising pattern, there are a few other habits that people develop unknowingly and find it hard to let go. These have a huge impact on the person’s overall health, which can be detrimental to their well-being.

Below are a few examples of bad habits and how they can be injurious to health[6]:

  • Biting Nails
  • Sleep deprive yourselves
  • Loud sound on speakers or head/earphones
  • Over-use of Mobiles especially before sleeping
  • Sit for a long period
  • Being alone and depressive
  • Ignoring your dental health
  • Overeating and eating too fast
  • Intake of Junk Food
  • Drinking too much
  • Intake of tobacco and nicotine
  • Cracking Knuckles

If you find yourself following any of these habits, then it’s advisable that you get rid of them soon and pave your way for a healthier lifestyle. Apart from minding certain bad habits, you should also look after your food habits. What you eat defines the health of your immune system. While there are some good food habits that you should imbibe, a few others should be done away with wisely. Let’s know about these food habits in detail.

5 food habits that boost your immunity

Here is a list of 5 important foods that help in boosting immunity and have the potential to keep the human body free from diseases and pathogens:

Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits[7] like sweet oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes, grapefruit, kiwi, red peppers, strawberries, sudachi, etc. are excellent sources of vitamin C that strengthen the immune system and give it the vitality to combat infections, pathogens, and diseases.

Citrus fruits have sumptuous amounts of vitamins and minerals and are rich in plant compounds that have beneficial antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects. Citrus fruits are low in calories, are an excellent source of fiber, and contain nutrients to boost the heart, kidneys, and brain’s health, and can also help destroy cancer cells.[8]

Cruciferous Vegetables

Vegetables like broccoli, kale, and cauliflower help boost the immune system by fighting intestinal pathogens. Inflammatory bowel ailments can be cured by consuming these nutritional powerhouses. Besides these, veggies are also rich in vitamins, especially vitamin C, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.

Fermented Foods

All bacteria are not bad for consumption. Essential bacteria in foods like yogurt, miso, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi enhance the immune system and benefit health. Trillions of bacteria live in the gut called ‘microbiome'[9] which help in fighting bad bacteria that lead to diseases.

Garlic and Ginger

Popularly known as magic elixirs[10] or cure-alls, these foods carry potential health-boosting advantages. Garlic and ginger contain cell-protecting antioxidants, antimicrobials, and anti-inflammatories that add flavor to your food. A clove of whole garlic contains a compound called alliin. When you crush, chew or slice garlic, alliin turns into allicin that has disease-fighting properties. Similarly, gingerol in ginger has protective medical properties that are essential for the body.

Almonds and Nuts

These foods are packed with antioxidants, and immunity boosters, especially Vitamin E. They can also evade viruses and bacteria. They also contain fiber, protein, and iron that are essential for consumption.

5 food habits that drain your immunity

Chronic inflammation caused by harmful foods can be disastrous to the immune system. It is directly linked to life-threatening diseases like cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, neurological disorders, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular ailments, pulmonary diseases, and diabetes.[11]

The list of the most harmful foods that can deleteriously impact your immunity are as follows:

Consumption of Fried Foods

These extremely destructive foods can destroy the natural defense mechanism[12] of the body, increase cholesterol levels, and instigate an inflammatory reaction, thus weakening the immune system of the body. Foods like fried chicken, French fries, burgers, fritters, etc. are mouth-watering delicacies, but over-eating these foods or regular consumption can do more harm than satisfying your taste buds. It is not possible to stop eating these foods altogether, but the feasting should be limited.

Refined Sugar

The biggest misconception is that sugar is present only in chocolates, puddings, candies, and sweets, and one feels safe by avoiding such diets. The fact is, sugar can lurk in processed carbs, yogurts, fruit juices, bread, rice, pasta, and many other forms of food that are a part of our staple diet. Besides other harms, sugar harms our sleep, teeth, cholesterol level; it inhibits the immunity cells. The recommended intake of sugar should be limited to 30g a day.

Soda and Alcoholic Beverages

Soda and alcoholic beverages are loaded with artificial sweeteners and high sugar levels. These drinks hamper the conducive health of a person by destroying hunger, sleep cycle and strongly inflames the gut, which in turn can slow down the immunity and disease-fighting capacity. These drinks should be avoided as much as possible. Having a couple of drinks in a week won’t cause the amount of harm it can cause if consumed daily.

Refined Carbohydrates and processed foods

Processed foods and refined carbs are high in fructose, artificial ingredients, and refined carbohydrates that are responsible for increased insulin levels and blood sugar, and are extremely low in nutrients and fiber. One should eat these foods in moderation and try and avoid them.

Red Meat

Although red meat is a rich source of iron and other nutrients, according to a recent research[13], red meat like lamb, beef, and pork possess a specialized type of sugar – Neu5Gc, which is recognized as a pathogen. Over-consumption of red meat can adversely affect the immune system. It is recommended to limit the consumption of red meat and try eating more fruits and vegetables.


Nutrients, food intake, and nourished provisions can have a key influence on the body’s immune responses and can have a long-lasting effect on holistic well-being and good health. Food intake and regular diets directly or indirectly impact the immune system’s function and cause changes and reactions in the gut microbiome. A thorough investigation, research, comprehension, and implementation of the effect of different varieties of food and its role in the immune function can improve human health.

Sources :
[1] About half of blood volume is composed of blood cells, out of which White blood cells are those who fight infections
[2] how the immunity system works, April 23, 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279364/
[3] How Immunity system fight back, https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/how-use-your-immune-system-stay-healthy#1
[4] Lifestyle is a way used by people, groups, and nations and is formed in specific geographical, economic, political, and cultural and religious text
[5] and poor lifestyle, which can affect a person’s mental well-being. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4703222/
[6] How your bad habits affect your health, Reviewed on July 15, 2019,  https://www.webmd.com/balance/ss/slideshow-bad-habits
[7]  How citrus fruits are helpful: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/citrus-fruit-benefits#section9,  https://blog.fitbit.com/immunity-boosting-foods/
[8] http://www.fao.org/3/x2650t03.htm
[9] Fermented food – https://blogs.webmd.com/food-fitness/20200305/what-to-eat-to-boost-your-immune-system
[10]  https://blog.fitbit.com/immunity-boosting-foods/ and https://blogs.webmd.com/food-fitness/20200305/what-to-eat-to-boost-your-immune-system
[11] Harmful foods: https://www.avogel.co.uk/food/is-your-diet-harming-your-immune-system/ and https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/foods-and-drinks-that-compromise-your-immune-system
[12]  Natural barriers and the immune system defend the body against organisms that can cause infection
[13] Red meat in a western diet – https://www.avogel.co.uk/food/is-your-diet-harming-your-immune-system/