For many of us, winter is a special time of the year. Falling snow rustling merrily underfoot, warm gatherings with the family, New Year’s holidays, bright decorations, gifts, tangerines, chocolate and aromatic mulled wine … Nevertheless, for our immunity, winter is a difficult test of reliability. After all, the lack of sun, a sharp cold snap, dry air inside the heated premises create favorable conditions for the growth of viruses and bacteria that cause seasonal diseases. They endlessly “attack” our body and weaken the immune system. As a result, at some point she does not cope and the person gets sick. But this could have been avoided simply by adding special foods to your diet.
Immunity and nutrition
The surest way to help the immune system is to provide it with favorable conditions for normal functioning. But this can be done only by understanding the principles of its work. And for this it is enough to imagine the immune system in the form of a huge, well-tuned orchestra. He owns a large number of instruments – lymphocytes, phagocytes and antibodies. With well-coordinated, good work, they “turn on” on time and provide timely and adequate protection to the body from various viruses, bacteria and toxins.
The results of the studies have shown that the protective functions of the immune system often decrease with age. Nevertheless, many scientists insist that the quality of human nutrition is at the heart of this decline. A balanced diet will help radically change the situation, providing the body with the necessary vitamins and microelements.
Dr. William Sears, one of the most famous pediatricians in the world, also talks about immunity. “The immune system of a person who eats well builds up its defenses. This is reflected in the increase in the number of white blood cells (leukocytes), which are a kind of immune army, and turning them into real warriors who can not only fight well, but also develop excellent “tactics” of fighting intruders. “
He also offers a list of vitamins and nutrients that can significantly increase immunity and reduce the risk of developing diseases.
Nutritional ingredients for boosting immunity
- Vitamin C… Its effect on the immune system has been the most researched. As a result, it was possible to experimentally prove that foods with its content can increase the production of leukocytes and antibodies in the body, which, in turn, increase the level of interferon, a kind of protective field of cells.
- Vitamin E… One of the most important antioxidants that stimulates the production of antibodies that can quickly find and destroy pathogenic microbes, bacteria and cancer cells.
- Carotenoids… Powerful antioxidants that slow down aging and boost immunity. Their main value lies in their ability to kill cancer cells. In addition, the body uses them to produce vitamin A.
- Bioflavonoids… Their purpose is to protect cell membranes from the effects of harmful microorganisms. And their main sources are fruits and vegetables.
- Zinc… This mineral is directly involved in the formation of white blood cells and antibodies, which, in turn, provides protection against cancer, various viral and bacterial infections. There is an opinion that it is zinc that can reduce the number of acute respiratory diseases in children in the autumn-winter period. However, research in this area is still ongoing.
- Selenium… This mineral helps to increase the number of defense cells and mobilize the body’s internal forces, in particular in the fight against cancer.
- Omega-3 fatty acids… The results of the studies have shown that people who eat foods containing them in their diet are less likely to get sick with acute respiratory diseases, and in case of infection they tolerate them more easily. This is because these acids increase the activity of phagocytes, cells that “eat” bacteria.
- Ð¡Ð¿ÐµÑ†Ð¸Ð¸ (oregano, ginger, cinnamon, rosemary, black pepper, basil, cinnamon, etc.), as well as garlic. They are deliberately listed as minerals and vitamins, as their effect on the immune system is difficult to overestimate. These are natural mucolytics (expectorants) that successfully thin the mucus accumulating in the respiratory tract and sinuses, and contribute to a speedy recovery. What’s more, garlic improves the functioning of white blood cells and antibodies.
When deciding to stick to this diet, it is important to remember that its success lies in balance. Therefore, ignoring any of these points, focusing on others, is highly undesirable, and sometimes even dangerous. After all, the truth says that everything should be in moderation.
Top 12 Immunity Boosting Foods:
Apples. They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, therefore they have a positive effect on the immune system.
Beet. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese. The latter supports immunity by improving the functionality of leukocytes.
Brussels sprouts. It contains vitamins C, K, as well as manganese and flavonoids. They endow it with antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
Garlic. Universal antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic and antitumor agent. During the First World War, it was successfully used as an antibiotic. Later, scientists explained this by the content of a special substance in it – allyl sulphide methyl, which has an antibiotic effect. Therefore, garlic can be used not only to boost immunity, but also to fight colds and flu.
Turnip. Natural source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and fiber. Perfectly protects the body from the effects of free radicals. And it is highly regarded for its content of hydroxycinnamic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to fight cancer cells.
Yogurt. Be sure to include it in your diet if you want all the vitamins and minerals that come with food to your body to be well absorbed. It contains beneficial bacteria – probiotics that affect gut health and determine the reliability of the immune system.
Green tea. Thanks to its antioxidant properties, it is able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, and thanks to its vitamin content, it can fight infections.
Pumpkin. An excellent source of vitamin A and beta-carotene, which enhance immunity. You can replace it with carrots or persimmons.
Blueberries. It has antioxidant properties, ensures cell resistance to the effects of viruses and bacteria, and also improves immunity and mood well. However, like any other berries that you like.
Almond. It enriches the body with vitamin E, selenium and healthy fats.
Salmon. Like other oily fish such as mackerel or trout, it contains selenium and omega-3 fatty acids, which increase the activity of phagocytes and the body’s resistance to colds and cancers. In addition, it reduces the risk of developing allergies, which is also the cause of the development of diseases (when, as a result of a runny nose, the nose ceases to fulfill its protective function and passes various infections into the respiratory tract).
Chicken. But rabbit and any other lean meat will do. It is an excellent source of protein, without which it is almost impossible to improve immunity. Protein is broken down into amino acids, from which new leukocytes are produced.
What else can you do to boost immunity?
- 1 Lead an active lifestyle, play sports, monitor your weight.
- 2 Get rid of digestive problems, if any.
- 3 Reduce intake of any allergens if the person is prone to allergies.
- 4 Quit smoking and do not abuse alcohol, as well as salty, fried and smoked.
- 5 Do not neglect healthy, sound sleep.
- 6 Follow the rules of personal hygiene.
- 7 Do not get tired of laughing and enjoying life. Scientists have proven that negative emotions and stress affect the state of the immune system. Do not forget about this if you want to always stay healthy!