When it starts to get cold outside, it’s crucial with an immune system capable of fighting viruses and bacteria. We explain how to strengthen your immune system with the right foods.
It is as easy as including the correct items in the menus to support the immune system, so that it can prevent the multiplication of viruses and bacteria that cause respiratory infections.
In general, if you cook fresh and with healthy, seasonal ingredients, you’ll be helping with your immune system. We show you the foods whose properties interest you, as well as those that you should avoid.
FOODS WITH VITAMIN C TO STRENGTHEN DEFENSES
Most people know that vitamin C helps against colds. This nutrient strengthens the immune system thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant effects.
In addition, vitamin C plays a decisive role in the good condition of tissues and thus improves their resistance to the damaging effects of free radicals and infectious agents.
The best way to get vitamin C is through citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, and also through bell peppers, broccoli, and sea buckthorn. PROBIOTIC FOODS SUPPORT THE IMMUNE SYSTEM.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that promote a healthy gut microbiota and, consequently, good overall health. A healthy gut flora is so important because 80% of immune cells are found in the gut. A healthy gut also means a healthy immune system.
You don’t need to take probiotics through supplements. Lactic acid bacteria, which are among the most important probiotic bacteria, are found in fermented vegetables such as kimchi and sauerkraut, as well as kefir, yogurt, and kombucha.
VITAMIN A STRENGTHENS THE BODY’S DEFENSES
You can also strengthen your immune system with foods that contain vitamin A. This vitamin, which in plant foods is found in the form of beta-carotene in foods such as sweet potato, pumpkin, apricots, carrots, spinach, peppers and broccoli, promotes the growth of healthy cells in the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, and a healthy mucous membrane is a great barrier against pathogens.
SUPPORT IMMUNITY WITH ENOUGH IRON
Iron also plays an important role in the immune system. Too little iron can lead to anemia, which significantly weakens it.
Not only does meat contain a lot of iron, but also some plant foods such as peas, cabbage vegetables, salsify, nuts, flaxseed, oats, and legumes.
If you eat iron-rich foods along with vitamin C, the body can better absorb the mineral. So, if you enjoy a muesli with homemade oatmeal along with a freshly squeezed orange juice the mixture is healthier.
THE BEST FOODS TO BOOST THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
What we eat every day is crucial for a strong immune system. During the period when flu and colds rage it is more important to take care of immunity.
There are some foods that especially strengthen the immune system, as they contain many micronutrients and plant substances that support it.
1. GINGER AND TURMERIC
With its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, ginger is just what you need to boost your immune system. Turmeric, meanwhile, has been valued for thousands of years in natural medicine for its antibacterial and antiviral effects.
If you want to have a delicious, comforting and defense-stimulating drink, add some ginger juice to the traditional recipe for golden milk with turmeric. You can take it daily until spring.
2. GARLIC AND OTHER BULBOUS
Bulbous plants such as garlic, onion, and shallot provide the phytonutrient allicin, which fights free radicals and protects cells from the effects of inflammation.
The vegetable substance is formed by peeling and chopping garlic and the other vegetables that contain it. To really boost your immune system, eat two to three cloves of garlic, lightly fried or in pasta sauce or soup every day.
Due to the essential oils, it contains, fennel promotes digestion, which in turn is beneficial for a strong immune system. It also contains vitamins E, A and C, along with minerals that can strengthen the immune system.
Also, if you finally end up catching a cold, fennel is a good ally since it has an expectorant effect on respiratory diseases and can also be taken in the form of an infusion.
Most people probably know licorice as a trinket, but this root inhibits the growth of viruses and bacteria, which is why it has been used in natural medicine for thousands of years.
Pregnant women should avoid the consumption of licorice, as it increases the risk of premature birth.
5. NUTS AND SEEDS
Nuts and seeds are sources of health. They have minerals such as zinc, vitamin E, copper, and selenium, which strengthen the immune system and are found in hazelnuts, walnuts, and other nuts. Walnuts are also very rich in fiber and contain omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
Zinc, which is abundant in pumpkin seeds, is not only good for the immune system, it is also necessary for the formation of some hormones. Vitamin E and copper, on the other hand, are mostly found in almonds and sesame.
6. ROSE HIPS
Not only do fruits like lemons, oranges, and apples contain plenty of vitamin C, rose hips are also excellent suppliers of this antioxidant nutrient. 100 grams of rose hips contain as much vitamin as the same number of oranges.
It is best to chop the pure, dried or powdered fruit into mueslis or yogurts. You can also benefit from the high vitamin content in the form of infusions.
This superfood contains digestive bacteria, which contribute to an intestinal flora in optimal condition. In addition, sauerkraut is packed with other healthy components such as folic acid, minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamin C.
Remember that the healthiest sauerkraut is the one you make at home, because it contains live bacteria. The one sold canned is pasteurized, therefore, it does not provide beneficial microorganisms. If you buy sauerkraut, it has to be among the refrigerated products.
THESE FOODS WEAKEN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Our diet can also have a negative impact on health and weaken the immune system. If you eat a lot of fast food and precooked or prepared products instead of cooking them fresh, you consume too few nutrients and too much fat and sugar, which weakens the microbiota and immune system. Alcohol also weakens the immune system as it reduces the activity of pathogen-fighting white blood cells.