In recent months there has been a lot of talk about covid-19 with tones that oscillate between justified alarms and alarmism. Although it may not seem like that, our diet can largely affect the proper functioning of our immune system. The immune system protects us daily from various infections, diseases and harmful substances present in the environment.
There are small precautions that can make a difference in the long run such as having a healthy diet, exercising, sleeping well (to reduce stress), not exceeding with alcohol and not smoking.
When we feel down because we have had a tough week, the immune system suffers and we can rely on the dear old remedies of grandma (which as children we hated or loved to madness) such as honey, ginger tea, chicken broth and natural herbs such as lavender, valerian or sage (great for fighting colds. Try to believe!).
What are the main causes that we should try to avoid?
- - Chronic stress: in fatigue situations our body releases more stress hormones (unfortunately it happens much more often than we would like to admit).
- - Do not exercise: or doing too much of it can lead to weakening the immune system. Moderate physical training is always recommended to be proportionate to your physique and needs.
- - Do not get enough sleep: not less than 6 hours a night.
- - Do not drink enough: this involves the incorrect hydration of our mucous membranes that in this way are not protected by a fluid film and this involves penetration by pathogens.
- - Drinking too much alcohol: drinking too much can lead to turning off the immune system for several hours.
- - Smoking: reduces the number of immune cells and antibodies in the blood.
- - Consume too many sugars: more than 100g of sugars per day can impair the ability of white blood cells to attack bacteria and viruses.
What can we take to strengthen the immune system?
- - Vitamin A: supports anatomical barriers of the non-specific immune system. Foods rich in vitamin A: dairy products, vegetables and fruits.
- - Vitamin D: it has an important function in cell division and supports the activation and reaction of white blood cells. Vitamin D is present in fish, avocado and mushrooms.
- - Vitamin C: contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system, especially during and after intense physical activity. Among the most important sources of vitamin C we find potatoes, vegetables and fruits.
When we're at the supermarket it can be tricky to spot what's best to buy, but there are simple tricks that help make your shopping easier. For example, when we are in the fruit and vegetable department, just think of the orange vegetables and fruits (Vitamin A). All seeds and dried fruits are rich in copper (antimicrobial action in the proliferation of T cells and the production of antibodies). All fish is also a great source of copper. Iron, on the other hand, present in meat, legumes and whole grains, is a component of the structure of enzymes fundamental for the functioning of immune cells.
By: Alessandra Grimaldi