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Did you know that junk food can damage your child's immunity? Here's what you need to know

Swati Bhushan Swati Bhushan 3 Mins Read

Swati Bhushan Swati Bhushan


Do you know that there is a connection between eating junk food and your immunity? Eating junk food lowers your immunity. If you want to stay healthy, here is the list of foods you must avoid

Pre-schooler to Teen
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Did you know that junk food can damage your child's immunity? Here's what you need to know

Rahul Khanna, a fourteen-year-old teen, loves burgers and pizzas. Every day, he visits the nearest fast food outlet and orders his favorites with a large glass of soda. This has been his routine for the past four years. Of late, Rahul has been falling sick frequently. He either has a fever or an upset stomach and vomiting. He feels drained out most of the time.

Rahul's condition is not an exception. Those with poor eating habits often complain about falling sick frequently. Frequent intake of processed foods has weakened Rahul's immunity. Our immune system reacts differently when we eat junk or processed food. It creates an inflammation to provide protection to our tissues and cells. This chronic inflammation then hinders the immune system's ability to fight infections.

Foods to avoid

Junk food

French fries, samosas, vadas, etc. have little or no nutritional value and are loaded with fats, refined flour, sugar, and sodium. Nutritious alternatives can be planned by using a variety of vegetables, whole grains, pulses, fruits, and spices; lowering the amount of fat in the preparations and making it nutrient-dense is important. Switch to healthy, unsaturated fats like sesame oil, olive oil among others. Consume saturated fats like butter and ghee, in moderation.


Sodas provide empty calories with no nutritional benefits. If you take too much sugar, the immune system gets suppressed.  During this time your body becomes vulnerable to infection and with frequent intake, your child's immune system weakens. Moreover, phosphoric acid present in soda leaches away important minerals like calcium and magnesium from the body. Milk, curd, buttermilk, milkshakes, and smoothies without added sugar are healthy alternatives to soft drinks as they are packed with protein, calcium, and vitamin B, and are gut-friendly too.

Red meat

Red meat is high in saturated fats (bad fats) which are linked to increased levels of inflammation in the body. Better alternatives to red meat are chicken, fish, and eggs in moderation.

Processed foods

Excessive consumption of processed food that contains harmful chemicals gradually weakens the immune system. Parents need to act responsibly and provide healthier alternatives to their children. Foods like dalia (Lapsi), oats, quinoa, ragi, etc. can improve their overall health.

Refined grains

White bread, pasta, etc. are prepared with refined flour (maida), which lacks important nutrients like vitamin B and fiber. During processing, most of the fiber is removed, leaving only starch and lesser nutrients. It also causes weight gain and constipation.


Sugar can temporarily weaken the immune system. Sometimes, it is used with different names on food labels like dextrose, maltose, fructose, lactose, or corn syrup. But these are all various forms of sugar. Canned fruit juices have added sugar along with artificial additives, so it is best to opt for real fruits.

To help your child have a healthy immune system, avoid processed foods and include fresh vegetables, fruits, pulses, and millets in his diet.

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