Whether through our skin, our breath or what we eat, our channels of entry and communication with the outside world cannot always guarantee that pathogens do not enter. In fact, in the body itself we sometimes find cells that our squadron feels obliged to eliminate - we refer to autoimmune diseases, which we will not cover in this article.
There has been a lot of talk lately about the immune system, as it is critical to protect us from the Sars-Covid-2 virus as well as other pathogenic micro-organisms that visit us daily.
We recognize that it is important to keep the immune system healthy so that viruses do not affect our bodies - the immune system is our line of defense, we will call it the protection squad.
For this reason, all the time the protection squadron goes into action, and the healthier it is, the better its ability to respond to external events.
The question we want to answer is: is there any food that can be regularly included in our diet that helps boost the functioning of the immune system?
The answer is yes, there is! There are many foods, but in this article, we have chosen to focus on 5 of these foods and their properties.
Oranges are a food source of vitamin C, a strong antioxidant, that is, it prevents the oxidation of the immune system cells. By consuming them, we prevent cell death and allow the organism to be better prepared when exposed to aggressive agents. Eat them unpeeled, but whole, please. Orange juice tastes good but lacks the fiber that regulates glycaemia and helps the intestinal function. If you don't have oranges to hand, you can treat yourself with lemons or kiwis - they are equally rich in vitamin C. Choose fruit that is in season, organic and local - it would be a perfect match!
Oysters, for their zinc content. As our bodies don't produce this naturally, we have to ingest it through food. This mineral favour the proper functioning of the immune system by activating T-lymphocytes (also known as T-cells), which help the body by attacking invading microorganisms.
If you don't like oysters, or if you can't find them easily - because you live far from the sea, for example - no problem! Opt for pumpkin seeds, but without salt, please. They are also rich in zinc, as well as being a great snack.
We selected honey for our list for its physical properties and composition. So why is honey good for immunity? Because it has antibacterial properties. And where do these antibacterial properties come from? Thanks to its viscosity (which limits oxygen penetration), its low pH (acidic) and low water content. Therefore, honey, because it is low in water and has a viscous texture, is not a very favourable medium for bacterial proliferation.
In addition, unlike resistance to antibiotic drugs, the antibiotic properties of honey are not known to be resistant, which is why it can be widely recommended. Another advantage is that we can find honey almost anywhere in the world, although it is of different types (depending on the predominant flora), but whose beneficial properties are retained. Whether for coughs, colds or flu, or as a simple healing agent (by topical application), honey should be taken regularly - one dessertspoon of honey per day is ideal. It should be taken at room temperature - straight from the jar, for those with a sweet tooth!
We chose sweet potatoes for our list because they are easy to find and there are many ways to include them in your diet. It has beta-carotene and vitamin A, and its antioxidant activity is associated with fighting ageing and reducing the appearance of some types of cancer. From simply boiled, in soups, baked in the oven with the peel, in desserts, or even cooking it in seconds in the microwave, it is so versatile and nutritious, you will want to have it on hand in your pantry at all times.
Popeye taught us to include spinach in our diet - it was the reason the sailor was athletic and healthy. Besides vitamin C and antioxidants, which play a key role in the immune system, they have folate, which participates in the production of new cells and DNA repair. They are also a good source of fibre, which keeps the intestine healthy - and a healthy intestine is halfway to a healthy immunity. In addition to spinach, there are turnip greens and kale, which are also good for strengthening the immune system.