Although there is no specific diet to maintain a healthy spleen, it is known that some foods can impair its function.

A platter full of fried baby corn.

The spleen is a small organ that is part of the immune system of the human body, usually without too much prominence. While is true that It is known for its ability to break after a traffic accident, it is not usually taken into account when it comes to diet, exercise and health in general.

However, it is not only traffic accidents that affect this body. Diet could also cause damage or increase damage to the immune system in general, and the spleen in particular. While there are cardio-protective, neuro-protective or even specific diets to protect the liver and kidney, the spleen has no known specific diet. But it is known which foods we should avoid and which ones to promote, with the aim of reducing inflammation and improving the health of the immune system.

As we explained in its day in EL ESPAÑOL, the spleen is an organ of just over 10 centimeters and barely 150 grams in weight, whose specific function is to “recycle” blood cells: destroys old cells, helps to produce new cells and maintains a certain cell reserve in case of emergencies. It is the main organ of the lymphatic system, which collaborates in the functions of the immune system, so the spleen also collaborates to deal with infections.

In fact, if the spleen malfunctions, or there is an attack against the immune system that cannot be adequately defended, a enlarged spleen splenomegaly. It is a specific inflammation of the spleen that will alter its proper functioning, which will end up affecting the immune system.

While it is true that this inflammation occurs from direct or indirect infections of the spleen, or due to a malfunction for other reasons, food can help this situation improve or worsen in the medium and long term.

In fact, if the swelling of the spleen cannot be controlled, whether due to an external infection or internal malfunction, the optimal treatment is splenectomy or removal of the spleen through surgery. When this occurs, the spleen functions are carried out by the liver and kidneys. It is not the ideal situation, but it is known that an acceptable adaptation occurs.

What foods to avoid to protect the spleen

As we have commented, although it is true that diet is not the main cause nor can it be a specific cure for a malfunction of the spleen, some foods can help to improve or worsen the situation.

In this chaos, they should avoiding pro-inflammatory foods, which are nothing more than those that characterize the western diet: processed and ultra-processed foods, such as processed meats, refined vegetable oils, food fried, refined flours, refreshments and any food with added salt or sugars. All these foods are characterized by an excess of saturated fat, added salt, added free sugars, or several of them as a whole.

On the one hand, processed meats, in addition to the aforementioned excess saturated fats, they also contain nitrites, a preservative that has been associated with an increased risk of cancer and other metabolic ailments. And, as with the other additives, they are also pro-inflammatory molecules.

Regarding vegetable oils, not all should be avoided not all are considered pro-inflammatory. In fact, some examples such as olive oil have been linked to various health benefits and its consumption is more than recommended.

Finally, ultra-processed foods in general, an essential pillar of the Western diet, would be totally discouraged within any ailment at the spleen level, or any disease that affects the immune system in any way: these are pro-inflammatory foods in general, and each time they are plus studies that have linked its consumption with a worsening of autoimmune diseases in general.

A recent example would be the relationship between inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, and the Western diet, which makes the symptoms of these diseases even worse; and also its prevalence.

What foods to eat

Finally, on the other side of the coin, would be the most recommended foods to reduce inflammation and improve health in general, and spleen and immune health in particular.

In this case the Recommended foods would be those that characterize the plant-based diet, the best known example of which in Spain and neighboring countries is the Mediterranean diet: whole grains, legumes, lean meat (especially poultry), fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts and healthy fats such as the aforementioned oil olive.

While other diets such as The DASH diet They would also advise skimmed dairy to reduce dietary fat, the new studies advise against such consumption: fat naturally present in dairy products and derivatives is necessary, and healthy.