Strengthen the immune system with these foods
Many people regularly take vitamin C supplements and dietary supplements to strengthen their immune system and thus protect themselves against infectious diseases. And when an infection looms, some rely on home remedies such as ginger or lemons. It is most effective to permanently integrate foods into the daily menu that provide lasting support for the immune system in order to actively prevent diseases.
During the pandemic, many people wonder what they can do to prevent possible infections with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Above all, it is recommended to follow the so-called AHA rules in order to reduce the viral load on our body: keep your distance, wash your hands regularly and wear mouth and nose protection and ventilate your body several times. But how does healthy food influence our immune system in the long term and what can a balanced diet counter to the risk of infection? The se are the questions that Prof. Dr. Dorothea Portius from the SRH University for Health is involved in a current article.
Proven immune promoting effect
To protect against infectious diseases, many people use vitamin C preparations and dietary supplements, which are supposed to strengthen the immune system. If an infection is developing, home remedies such as oranges, ginger, lemons or chicken soup are often used. The most effective way of doing this is to permanently integrate immune-boosting foods into the daily menu in order to actively prevent infectious diseases.
“Some foods have already been shown to have an immune-promoting effect. Regular consumption of mushrooms, for example, is linked to having a positive effect on the risk of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, ”explains Prof. Dr. Dorothea Portius, professor of nutrition therapy and counseling, in a press release.
Mushrooms contain a wide range of bioactive substances that protect our body and cell functions. In particular, they contain a certain type of fiber called beta-glucan, which is known to have positive effects on the metabolism and the gut. In addition, recent scientific studies have also proven their immunomodulating effect.
Broccoli to ward off flu
“Broccoli, on the other hand, contains substances that effectively help fight off flu. In order to achieve the best effect here, broccoli should be consumed together with mustard seeds, radishes, rocket or cress ”, says the expert.
In order to obtain the highest possible effectiveness of the sulforphanes – secondary plant substances that activate the immune system and thus contribute to the immune defense – the broccoli should be chewed thoroughly. This leads to the release of a certain enzyme called myrosinase, which converts the precursors of sulforphanes into the active and therefore effective form.
Like all enzymes, however, myrosinase is also sensitive to heat, so that cooked broccoli can hardly supply sulforaphane.
Immune building properties
“Fatty fish and virgin or extra-virgin olive oil also contribute to an improved immune defense and reduced inflammatory processes”, explains Prof. Dr. Portius.
As stated in the post, virgin olive oil contains the bioactive components such as hydroxytyrosol, oleocanthal and oleic acid, which have been shown to have immune-building properties.
Blood samples from study participants who were supposed to eat strictly according to the Mediterranean diet (in which a lot of olive oil is used) showed improved activation of certain immune cells (T cells), and the number of these defense cells increased by 53 percent.
Active against infection by viruses and bacteria
Fermented and probiotic foods – just like mushrooms – contribute to the development of an improved intestinal flora and have direct immune-promoting effects on certain organs such as the brain, liver and adipose tissue.
To further support the immune system, it is advisable to drink a lot, especially water or unsweetened tea. Daily exercise in the fresh air (at least 20 to 30 minutes), regular exercise and adequate sleep (at least seven to eight hours per night) should also be integrated into everyday life. It is also important to take measures to reduce stress.
By consuming the mentioned foods and embedding more exercise and sleep in everyday life, you can actively counteract infection by viruses and bacteria. (ad)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.
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