Our Fragile Immune Systems and How Popcorn Bags Can Harm Them

Depends how much you want to be depressed on Memorial Day Weekend, but want to know the foods and things that can really hurt you?

According to Leah Zerbe at rodalenews.com, the biggest is microwave popcorn. Now, we've all heard the scare stories about how it will give you lung cancer and stop you from growing (made that one up).  But they're out there, and so are the ones that say it can harm your immune system.

Foodbabe.com reports that the bag almost all microwave popcorn varieties come in is lined with a chemical, the same toxic stuff found in teflon pots and pans. It can stay in the environment and in the human body for long periods of time. This chemical when heated has been linked to infertility, cancer and other diseases in lab animals. No long term studies have been conducted on humans, but the EPA lists this substance as a carcinogen.

Zerbe goes further, claiming that what's in the bags of this popcorn (that I and my son can't wait to eat a bag of, every night) destroy your immune system.  "A recent study in Environmental Health found levels the government considers 'safe' are 100 to 1,000 times too high for children. These chemicals have been shown to mess up your immune system; vaccines given to people with higher levels of PFCs in their bodies were much less effective."

A recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found women with higher levels of hormone-disrupting perfluorinated compounds like perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in their blood were more likely to have the autoimmune disease osteoarthritis.  These are two chemicals found in the bags of microwave popcorn, put in there to prevent grease from leaking out.

Watch out for your pots and pans, too, because they may contain these chemicals, as well.

Now for the stuff that doesn't concern the kitchen.  Zerbe says loneliness is another thing that can disturb our immune systems.  

"If you're not so social, it could impact your ability to fight disease," she writes. "Ohio State researchers recently found worrying about close relationships acts like a chronic stressor that suppresses your immunity. Previous research found we're more likely to get sick--and die earlier--when we have fewer social connections."

And don't forget lack of sleep, another immune-system-buster.

Canned food and sugar can also hurt you.  "Eating 100 grams of sugar (think a bottle of soda, fruit yogurt, and a candy bar) significantly lowered the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria for up to five hours," Zerbe notes.

 Finally, we've all gotten the memo about anti-bacterial soap and how it kills our germ-fighting capabilities by altering our immune system development.  (But I don't think I'll stop using it on my son's grimy fingers when he comes home from school!)


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