Scientists linked processed foods with autoimmune disease
Processed foods were always deemed harmful for consumption especially by kids. Now a study found out that the high salt content in the processed foods can actually cause autoimmune diseases.
The lifestyle is now so fast paced that most of them tend to consume fast food takeaways. These foods are highly processed foods and contain high amount of salt in them. Lack of time to prepare a healthy meal is the very cause of this unhealthy food diet.
1 The study into processed foods
The study conducted by a team of researchers from Yale University in U.S. and University of Erlangen -Nuremberg in Germany found out cells known as T helper cells, which activate and help other cells in fighting dangerous pathogens such as bacterial and viral infections. Another kind of Th17 cells were found in body which help in development of autoimmune diseases.
It was also found out during the study that when these cells come in contact of table salt solution, these cells tend to act in a more aggressive way.
2 Study experiments and their results
In an experiments, mice fed with a diet of food which contained a high amount of refined salt resulted in high increase of Th17 cells. The researchers also found that these mice showed symptoms that they were highly likely to develop a form of disease similar to human multiple sclerosis or MS.
They also found that salt increased the levels of cytokines released by these Th17 cells. Cytokines are proteins that these cells used to pass messages to one another. The co-author of the study, Ralf Linker, said: ‘These findings are an important contribution to the understanding of multiple sclerosis and may offer new targets for a better treatment of the disease, for which at present there is no cure.’
3 What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple Sclerosis is a severe nerve degenerating disease. It develops when the immune system of the body mistakes the myelin which covers the nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord for some foreign body. The immune system then removes this myelin off the nerve fibers and this disrupts the passing of messages between the brain and the body. This impacts the speech, vision and balance controlling centres of the body and causes problems.
4 Role of refined salt
As mentioned earlier, refined salts tend to accelerate the activities of the Th17 cells which cause autoimmune conditions. According to Dr. Hafler, who is also a co-author of the study said that he believed an external factor was contributing the immune system into attacking its own body.
The team will be studying the effects of Th17 cells on autoimmune diseases that affect the skin.
They said: ‘It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake. However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’
5 How to avoid high salt intake?
Our body is not designed to break down processed salt as it has no nutritional value. But some naturally occurring salts are very beneficial properties which are important to our health. For e.g. Salts from Himalayan rocks or the greyish Celtic salts have many minerals in them which aid the body in a good way.
One of the biggest reasons for deteriorating health is that despite humans consuming salt for centuries, they know have started consuming foods like processed foods like fast food and soft drinks which do not have any minerals or nutritional value. Instead consume food like nuts, vegetables and fruits which have lots of healthy properties which benefit the human body to maximum.
Also natural salts dissolve into mineral ions in water and drinking a glass of natural salt water drives nerves impulses which energise muscle movement and thought process. Hence keep away from processed food which has high level of salt and stick to healthy food containing natural salts.