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Can an over-active immunity be caused by poor diet?

Data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) showed that an unhealthy diet causes inflammation, which in turn causes heart attacks (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2006). Doctors can measure how active your immunity is with blood tests such as CRP, homocysteine, and IL-6. MESA showed that a diet high in fatty and processed meats, flour, high-fat diary products, fried potatoes, salty snacks or desserts is associated with high levels of blood markers for inflammation. In contrast, whole grains, fruits, nuts, green vegetables and fish were associated with very low levels of these markers.

When a germ gets into your body, your immunity is supposed to make proteins called antibodies that attach to the germs and paralyze them and cells that gobble them up. However if your immunity stays active, these same antibodies and cells start to destroy your body. An overactive immunity is called inflammation, and it increases your risk for heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, arthritis, asthma and many other diseases and conditions. Here is more evidence that eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and other seeds reduces inflammation, for a longer and more healthful life. See my modified DASH diet

Checked 1/20/15

May 10th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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