Myth on eating dirty food and immune system dismissed
The idea of getting down and dirty with a little street food trip from time to time to build the immune system up in order to be healthy has been going around so long that it seems like common knowledge. But is there truth to this?
Immunologist, Tirumalai Kamala, dished out on this myth in a Forbes report.
She said that the question ‘does eating dirty food and being exposed to the elements strengthen your immune system?’ exemplifies an all-too common flawed premise that strength is or should be an overhyped attribute of the immune system.
She said this as a response to question originally posted in the inquiry site, Quora.com.
Kamala explained that comparing microbes in food with terms such as ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ is thus another mischaracterization.
“If ‘dirty’ in ‘dirty food’ refers to microbes and their products, that term is a contradiction since it implies the existence of contrasting ‘clean food’ that lacks them because living in a microbial planet, it’s practically impossible for food to be free of microbes or their products,” she said.
Meanwhile, the idea of picturing the immune system as either weak or strong is a mischaracterization, Kamala explained.
A strong immune system doesn’t necessarily indicate health.
According to her, autoimmunity and allergy are both examples of strong but inappropriate immune responses. Which, in turn, harms the body as different tissues, organs and even organ systems could be targets of damaging immune attack.
“So a strong immune system is not necessarily to be desired as much as a properly functioning immune system,” she further said.