A peer-reviewed study by the Environmental Working Group concludes that TBHQ (Tertiary butylhydroquinone), a synthetic preservative, may harm the immune system. Found in common snacks such as Cheez-It, Kellogg’s, Keebler, Dove, Ghirardelli, Little Debbie, and Nissin, just to name a few, TBHQ can either be added during manufacturing or sprayed on the food or packaging to extend shelf-life. You can access a more detailed list here: EWG TBHQ.
Part of the problem is that when added after manufacturing, manufactures do not have to disclose the use of TBHQ in the ingredients. In the US, the FDA allows the use of TBHQ, but specifies the amount and use-cases.
Even if you trust the FDA guidelines in terms of safety, research shows that preservatives can cause a list of health issues, including dementia. We get it: it’s hard to avoid highly processed foods with synthetic preservatives all together. But it starts with setting habits that allow you to eat fresh food whenever you can.
The Immune System
The current pandemic forced many to be more aware of their immune system and to eat more immunity “boosting” food. In fact, data shows that in the first stage of the pandemic, people reacted by consuming more plant-based “healing-foods”. This includes foods such as ginger, garlic, lemon, onion, and turmeric, all considered helpful for the immune system. Hopefully, this study will also help you avoid foods that may compromise the immune system.