Certain foods could strengthen the immune system to give it all the necessary weapons against viruses and bacteria. Here are the ones to favor against seasonal infections.
In public transport, in family or at work, we are surrounded by microbes which, if our immune system weakens, only ask to express themselves with force symptoms in us.
Seasonal illnesses like the flu, gastroenteritis may seem out of control, however the contents of our plates can help us avoid catching them or alleviate their symptoms.
Note, however, that the immune system is not just a parameter to play on, but an entire system, as the name suggests. For it to work as well as possible, it’s the whole lifestyle that needs to be balanced, not just food.
Furthermore, if there are studies that assess the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, etc. on the immune response, no direct link has yet been proven between lifestyle and improved immune function.
How to strengthen flora, our first line of defense
The health of the flora is intimately linked to that of the immune system, so it is a priori the first barrier to pamper in order to avoid getting sick.
The intestinal flora (or microbiota) is made up of non-pathogenic bacteria that protect the intestines. They are the ones that keep “bad” bacteria from getting into the bloodstream or from growing in the intestines.
The microbiota accounts for 70% of the immune system’s effectiveness. So for these bacteria to help you fight those that are pathogenic, you have to provide them with a favorable environment.
Prebiotics are the “food” of good bacteria (or probiotics). They are mainly found in the form of indigestible fibers. It is strongly recommended to consume at least 2 to 3 food sources of prebiotics each day.
Here are the foods richest in prebiotics:
Pampering your probiotics is good, but sometimes the good bacteria are not numerous enough in the microbiota due to a poor diet (with too many ultra-processed foods, too much sugar …), or following an antibiotic treatment . This can be remedied by consuming probiotics, either in the form of food supplements or through diet.
Foods richest in probiotics:
Fermented milk (Kefir)
Pickles and lacto-fermented vegetables
Foods that directly boost the immune system
Certain micronutrients seem to play a direct role on the immune system.
These are in particular:
This vitamin stimulates the production of white blood cells as well as that of antibodies when given to people who lack them.
Here are the foods to choose to fill up with vitamin A:
Cod liver oil
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radicals, limit the oxidation of immune cells, but also stimulates the immune system, especially in people who lack it. In addition, it promotes the absorption of iron.
Here are the foods to fill up on vitamin C:
Red bell pepper,
Zinc plays an important role in immunity: a deficiency in zinc would cause a disruption of the immune response and an inflammation phenomenon.
Here are the foods to fill up on zinc:
A final food that boosts the immune system: the fungus, which has beneficial effects on the intestinal flora and could also modulate immunity by increasing the proliferation of T lymphocytes, improving the functioning of immune cells and reducing inflammation.