At the onset of cold weather, everyone claims large quantities of vitamin C and looking for it mainly in citrus fruits even if there are at least others 10 foods for the immune system, to strengthen it so that it is able to deal with seasonal ailments without too much immobilization at home with fever, cough and cold. Furthermore, we must not forget that our defenses are not alerted only in winter, in all days of the year around us there are external threats such as pollen, viruses, bacteria and much more to which we must be ready to react. The table, and not the pharmacy, is the first place where we can defend our health, day after day, choosing to eat often 10 foods for the immune system.
10 foods for the immune system
This list of suggested foods can be an opportunity for us to also get off the track, change habits and taste new flavors, experimenting with creative recipes. Many are common foods, easy to find and that we most likely eat by default already, without even knowing that they are great for strengthening us.
- Mushrooms: thanks to the large amount of selenium and beta-glucan they contain, they are able to stimulate the activity of white blood cells to which all the immune defenses of our body belong
- Fresh salmon, and all fish in general: the vitamin D contained in it makes it a recommended food for strengthening, because those who lack it more often fall victim to nasty respiratory infections. Those who do not like fish can also look for vitamin D in eggs, milk and its derivatives, as well as in some green leafy vegetables.
- Sweet potatoes and pumpkins, linked to vitamin A because they contain high doses of beta-carotene. This vitamin is important because it stimulates the activity of the immune system. The pumpkin recipes that we can cook from autumn onwards are very delicious, it will be a joy to fill up on this vegetable.
- Peppers. They will not be easy to find in winter but in the other seasons if we need food for the immune system we can take advantage of them because they contain a lot of vitamin C, much more than we can find in the many acclaimed oranges, and this vitamin is antioxidant and immunostimulant.
- Almonds. Here we can find vitamins, in particular E that we have not yet encountered but which is antioxidant and can protect us from winter ailments. Similar properties can also be found in sunflower seeds and wheat germ.
- Garlic. Only this food of the 10 foods for the immune system contains allicin, precious due to its antibiotic and antifungal effects. When it is crushed we feel its strong smell but when we eat it we can feel its effects, not only on the breath: it lowers the risk of catching seasonal colds to almost halve it.
- Fresh brewer's yeast, wheat germ, onion and cabbage. We can choose the one we prefer in this category but let's not neglect it because it is that of foods rich in precious minerals such as iron, zinc and selenium.
- Dark chocolate. Yes, only the dark one, containing abundant quantities of cocoa, improves our reaction to infections by stimulating the T-helper lymphocytes.
- Tender. The black one is particularly recommended because it is the one with the highest doses of theanine, able to strengthen our immune system. We even recommend 5 cups a day. We can also alternate cups of green tea, the best for aging well.
- Yogurt. Rich in live enzymes with probiotics that make the intestine healthy, a very important premise to allow our immune system to react promptly. Not all yogurts are equally effective, those to be preferred for this purpose are those that explicitly contain live lactic ferments.
3 ingredients to avoid for the immune system
It is easy to remember this trio: fats, sugars and additives. Before intervening, however, let us clarify why as everyone knows not all fats and sugars are harmful to our body, first of all, also the best choice is never to eliminate them but to limit their consumption.
- Let's start with fat. The worst in this circumstance are triglycerides and cholesterol because they clog both blood vessels and lymphatics. What needs to be done is to reduce the quantities of fatty meats, milk and dairy products by preferring vegetable-based condiments. This is especially true if we also have a cough, because they increase the mucus. An interesting food to be introduced together with extra virgin olive oil islinseed oil. We can add two drops to our dressing because it contains omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, useful for infections because they make the cells less exposed to external attacks.
- As for the sugars, the most important thing is to limit the consumption of white sugar and sweets, and all other simple sugars because in the long run they can decrease the defensive action of lymphocytes and also reduce the absorption of vitamin C.
- Additives. This category is under fire because it often has allergenic effects that alter our immune response. We try to eat more genuine food that does not contain many, thus avoiding leavened products and canned fish (tuna, sardines, mackerel).