Published: 04/21/2010 - Updated: 08/15/2019
In the winter, with exposure to cold and other climatic changes, our immune system is tested. That's why we try to optimize the body's response to prevent viral and bacterial diseases typical of this season. Thus, Dr. Charles W. Castells-member of Diquecito Sanatorium, refers to the help of high-quality food in the fight to prevent colds and flu.
According to the doctor, lifestyle habits play an important role in the immune system, and "everything we do or not can make a beneficial effect or not,"he says.
The immune system and food
The immune system uses many strategies to get rid of infections and protect the organs so that antioxidants become an important weapon of defense and control, one of the key elements needed by the body to defend against attacks viruses or bacteria.
How to avoid getting sick?
The antioxidants that are incorporated with food, must be present if possible before exposing the person to infection. However, if the individual is already ill, "it is important not to consume large quantities of the same sources, especially fruits," says Castells.
An idea of food that would strengthen the immune system should have:
Good amount of fiber: A highly recommended food is oats, which can be taken with yoghurt, or probiotics which also contributes.
Vitamin C: You should eat at least 5 to 8 fruits daily, preferably citrus, either as juice or whole. We also recommend taking supplements.
Zinc: Plays an important role, especially against nasal congestion and sore throat. It is therefore advisable to include in our diet a portion of red meat at least twice a week, which also provides very good quality iron. It is also important to have the habit of eating one or two nuts a day.
Other foods more "exotic": can be helpful, such as edible mushrooms of all kinds, natural pomegranate or pomegranate juice, etc.
Wine: Provides a large amount of polyphenol antioxidants, like chocolate. Eat 50 grams of good quality chocolate (60 or 70% cocoa) or have a glass (150 cm3) of red wine at least 3 times a week.
Cherries, Strawberries and Blueberries: Provide a plus, thanks to their content of "ellagen acid” and other polyphenols with antibacterial action.
With regard to other factors, the most important recommendation of Docotor is "lower levels of stress and stop smoking." He explains: "stress is able to lower the defenses in a remarkable way, and when stressful situations are prolonged in time end up increasing levels of steroids in the body, producing devastating effects on the immune system (immunosuppression)".