Salt, sugar and unhealthy fats are the staples of the Standard American Diet—and they are taking a toll on our country’s health. Our love of heavily processed, high-carbohydrate foods has triggered a nationwide rise in heart disease, obesity and diabetes, and now a new study reveals our immune systems may be in danger too.
Dr. Ian Myles of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases led a study to determine the impact of a Western diet and lifestyle on immune health. His findings, published in Nutrition Journal, reveal that the way Americans eat may lead to increased inflammation and a significant decline in overall immune function.
According to the study authors, as we continue our poor eating habits over time, they become ingrained in our DNA and could permanently alter the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut—which can weaken our immune systems even more. And this affects not just us but future generations, since research reveals these changes can be passed on to our children.
“Our bodies are a kind of mini-ecosystem, and anything that disturbs our bacteria can alter our health in profound ways,” said Myles. He stressed the need to eliminate processed sugars and unhealthy fats from the diet to support healthy immune function.