[Article updated on 19/09/2023]
More than ever, today it’s about strengthening your immune system, and it’s even better to do it through your plate!
Before reading on
I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.
The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.
You should know that the functioning of the immune system can be influenced by several factors such as: stress, tobacco, sleep, age, physical exercise, etc.
To make it effective and efficient, it is important to focus on a balanced diet with as few processed foods as possible.
But also on a digestible diet which will promote good intestinal functioning, preserving the digestive organs such as the stomach, intestine, liver, pancreas. To counter the imbalance of intestinal flora, I advise you to avoid industrial cold meats, poorly prepared bread with several flours, syrups and sodas, excess fat and fatty foods.
You understand, you have to pamper your microbiota! By providing prebiotics: these compounds contained in our food (fibers) which serve as food for the intestinal microbiota and allow the multiplication of the bifidobacteria populating our digestive system.
Prebiotics can be found in whole grain cereals, legumes, garlic, asparagus, onion, leek, chia and flax seeds. We must also think about probiotics, that is to say living micro-organisms also called good bacteria, these will promote digestion, regulate transit and stimulate our immune system, among the foods rich in probiotics we have the yogurts and fermented milk, kefir, but also raw sauerkraut.
It cannot be said enough that a diet rich in raw and cooked fruits and vegetables is important for their richness in vitamins and minerals, in addition fruits and vegetables have a protective effect due mainly to their phytochemical compounds, also called antioxidants. They thus protect the DNA of cells against attacks by free radicals, which can also lead to cancer!
Protein with every meal
Proteins are the building blocks of our body and will also allow the synthesis of compounds important for the body’s defense in the event of an invasion of pathogenic microorganisms!
We will therefore favor proteins such as legumes (low in saturated fatty acids), fish, poultry, eggs, oilseeds.
Eat good fat
Without consuming too much, you should limit your intake of good fat to around 30% of your caloric intake. Monounsaturated fatty acids are found in olive oil, avocados, nuts and peanuts.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids, the famous omega 3, which can reduce our bad cholesterol: LDL are found in fatty fish, herring, sardines and chia and flax seeds.
Don’t forget the iron!
This trace element at the base of our hemoglobin which transports oxygen, is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system, deficient in iron, we will lack red blood cells and be more tired, even anemic! Foods rich in iron are blood sausage, offal, liver, red meat, fish and seafood, eggs
It is also an ally of our immune system because it helps with wound healing, it contributes to protein synthesis and promotes the development of antibodies. You should know that our body can neither produce nor store it and we must consume between 8 and 12 mg per day. It can be found in red meat but also in pumpkin seeds, chickpeas
This essential trace element is useful to macrophages, the cells derived from white blood cells, real defense agents of the immune system which will fight our microbes. Our needs are 2 mg per day for a man and 1.5 mg for a woman. It is found in herring, calf’s liver, nutritional yeast, multi-grain bread, hazelnuts, 70% dark chocolate and cooked shrimp.
It has antioxidant properties, contributes to maintaining the immune system and acts as a detoxifier for the body. Our needs are 501 µg per day and 60 µg for a man, it is mainly found in nuts, meat, offal, seafood, fish, whole grains, certain fruits and vegetables (tomatoes, pears, oranges, cooked leeks, cooked turnips, cooked onions, cruciferous vegetables, etc.), etc.
This vitamin will influence but also regulate the immune system, it will stimulate the production of antibodies, it will not only destroy pathogens through macrophages but will play the role of regulator in anti-inflammatory reactions by limiting the onset of autoimmune diseases. In France the recommended nutritional intake is 10 µg or 400 IU: you should know that foods rich in vitamin D are exclusively of animal origin such as cod liver oil, cod liver (raw), sardines raw, smoked herring.
It is the stimulant of the immune system without it the cells cannot grow or differentiate, our need is 600 to 800 µg per day. Vitamin A can be found in foods of animal origin such as butter, eggs, milk, cheese, offal, liver, etc.
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid
It contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system by producing T lymphocytes which will destroy infected cells. It also helps fight against oxidation, therefore protecting against cellular aging.
However, our body cannot synthesize or store it, so it must be absorbed fairly regularly. It is recommended to consume 110 mg per day and up to 120 mg if you smoke. The ideal is to rather consume raw vegetables or raw fruits but also aromatic herbs, blackcurrant, fresh parsley, kale, peppers, broccoli, kiwi, red fruits and citrus fruits contain a quantity not negligible.
In short, you understand, the treasure is on the plate and the more variety you eat, the richer you will be!