Keeping your immune system strong and healthy is the best way to protect yourself from most diseases. However, there’s a common dietary mistake that can destroy your immunity. And if you make this mistake, it can damage your immune system in as little as two weeks.
Researchers from the Babraham Institute in Cambridge made this amazing discovery. They fed mice a diet void of vegetables for two to three weeks. At the end of the study, they found the lack of vegetables prevented immune cells in the gut and the skin from functioning properly. These intra-epithelial lymphocytes (IELs) cells are your first line of protection against air and food-borne illnesses.
“It is still surprising to me,” said lead researcher Marc Veldhoen. “I would have expected cells at the surface would play some role in the interaction with the outside world, but such a clear cut interaction with the diet was unexpected. After feeding otherwise healthy mice a vegetable-poor diet for two to three weeks, I was amazed to see 70-80% of these protective cells disappeared.”
While we don’t know if these figures transfer directly to humans, a 70-80% drop in the number of protective cells is huge. Even if you experience 30-50% drop in the number of immune cells, it can severely compromise your ability to fight off disease.
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This is exactly what the researchers found in the mice. The smaller number of immune cells made the animals more susceptible to injury. And their healing time was lengthened considerably. They also were more likely to contract various illnesses, including cancer and heart disease.
If you’re finding you just don’t heal like you used to, or you seem to get sick easier, it could be a signal that you’re not eating enough vegetables. So make sure you’re getting five or more servings a day. It’s the best way to fight off disease.
Next week, I’ll show you how vegetables can make certain drugs more effective at fighting disease. And I’ll show you a simple way to get your daily servings if you just can’t eat all these recommended portions of vegetables.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand