Our immune system can be strengthened with proper nutrition. What should you eat to increase it and fight certain infections?
Regular physical activity, a healthy and balanced diet followed by restful sleep form the essential trilogy for staying healthy. But what would be the ideal shopping list to support our natural defense systems?
First: priority to raw materials
Choose raw, little or less processed foods, if possible, from organic farming and short circuits. It is a priority in normal times and is more important to help our immune system. Therefore, most of your purchases must contain raw food that is eaten as is or processed at home.How to recognize raw food? There is no ingredient list on it! These are meat, chicken, fish (fresh or frozen), unprocessed legumes and cereals, oilseeds (almonds …), cold-pressed oils and fruits and vegetables …
Second: we increase the proportion of plants, spices and herbs.
Half of the dishes must be composed of vegetables, whether raw, cooked, grated, in salads, as a starter, as a garnish … Vegetables (fresh, frozen or even canned) and fruits (fresh, frozen, dried, etc. ).).
Their caloric densities are very low, so they are precious allies to lose the kilos potentially gained during confinement (on average 2.5 kg).
They provide vitamin C and antioxidants that protect white blood cells and fibers that nourish the microbiota.
What is the role of the microbiota in immunity?
The microbiota is one of the body’s first lines of defense. It is even thought that 60 to 80% of immunity comes from the balance between the different intestinal bacteria. Any imbalance would limit the effectiveness of natural defenses.
Therefore, we must limit ultra-processed foods, rich in refined grains and/or sugar that create dysbiosis and increase inflammation, and bet on foods rich in prebiotics to feed these good bacteria and probiotics to replant them. In short, we add fertilizer and sow good seeds!
Where to find prebiotics?
We choose foods that have a good content of fermentable fibers: oat flakes, flax and chia seeds, alliaceous family (garlic, onion, leek), cruciferous family (cabbage, broccoli, radish), endives, salsify, asparagus, artichokes.
Foods containing resistant starch are increased: pasta, potatoes, lentils, etc. they are cooked and placed in the refrigerator because, once cooled, part of the starch in these foods becomes “resistant”: it is not digested and it is not digested. therefore, it can feed the microbiota.
There are also green bananas and green banana flour.
Where to find probiotics?
The best known is plain yogurt, with no added sugar, because there are 2 bacterial strains: L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus, which are particularly interesting for immunity.
Then we can consume:
Lacto-fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, pickles …).
Fermented soybean (miso, tempeh).
Fruit or milk kefir.
Kombucha tea (green or black).
In summary, it is necessary to consume raw products and plants, in quantity.
Ensure an adequate supply of animal and/or plant proteins.
Some of the immune system actors, immunoglobulins and certain neurotransmitters of emotional balance and sleep like serotonin, dopamine, melatonin … everything that ends in “ine” are proteins!
Use 0.8 to 1 g of protein per pound of body weight. A person who weighs 60 kilos should consume around 60 g of protein a day, divided between the different meals of the day, even in the morning at breakfast.
In the morning, for example, oilseeds.
At lunch: meat, poultry, fish (lean or fatty).
At dinner: eggs to choose “outdoors”, so 0 or 1 in the shell, tofu, tempeh, legumes …
Where to find essential vitamins and trace elements for the immune system in food?
The essential vitamin is vitamin D3.
It is essential for innate immunity (the first line of defense) as it participates in the synthesis of antimicrobial peptides and adaptive immunity (the second line of defense).
You synthesize it especially putting yourself in the sun and in the dishes, you have to bet on fatty fish (herring, sardines, natural mackerel) and cod liver.
Vitamin C also works in both lines of defense by increasing phagocytosis, producing immunoglobulins (antibodies), and protecting white blood cells from oxidation.
It would also have a direct antiviral effect by slowing the multiplication of certain viruses in infected cells.
Therefore, we will bet on citrus fruits, especially lemons (yellow or green). Peppers are also tasty, but this is not the season. Add fresh parsley and thyme to your dishes.
Two other vitamins are also important for our immunity.
Vitamin E that supports T cells, found in sunflower seeds and almonds.
Vitamin A, found in large amounts in cod liver, and a little in butter and egg yolk.
A trace element is crucial, zinc, since it limits the replication of many viruses and increases the number of T lymphocytes.
Therefore, we opted for beef (maximum attention 500 g per week), wheat germ, oysters and sesame and pumpkin seeds.