Wrong habits, incorrect nutrition, stress: when the body is subjected to continuous daily micro-attacks, it risks seeing its immune response to external agents severely tested. Especially in particular periods, such as in the coldest months of the year, the body is particularly exposed and may need adequate protection. An appropriate stimulation of the immune response can be implemented by increasing the consumption of foods and ingredients considered effective in strengthening the defenses.
Here 10 foods to be included immediately in your winter diet.
They are the number one allies for strengthening immune defenses . Their peculiarity is the presence of selenium , which helps white blood cells to produce cytokines (protein molecules), and of beta-glucan , an immunostimulant that activates white blood cells , such as macrophages, granulocytes and monocytes, responsible for defense against infections.
Originally from the Caucasus, this natural fermented milk drink is a rich source of calcium and B and K vitamins. It is consumed with the intent to improve digestion and intestinal health since Kefir also has a high percentage of nutrients and probiotics. In fact, it contains well 30 types of bacteria and yeasts, which is why in addition to stimulating the immune system, it is a food enhancer of the bacterial flora .
This precious fruit helps fight cell aging, thanks to its antioxidant and energizing activity. In addition, it is a food particularly rich in vitamin B 12 , effective in stimulating of energy metabolism. In the fermented version , the papaya also has strong immune-stimulating virtues which facilitate the body's response to external stimuli, at the same time they strengthen the dialogue between the cells and balance the activity of the immune system .
The large presence of polyphenols in the almond peel stimulates the efficiency of white blood cells, helping to block the spread of viruses in the body . Not only that: regular consumption of almonds increases the intestinal bacterial flora , lowers the sensitivity to seasonal ailments and performs an effective antioxidant action thanks to the presence of vitamin E. According to a study conducted by researchers of the Institute of Food Research of Norwich in Great Britain and the University Hospital of Messina, the almond peel also performs an antiviral action against the Herpes simplex type 2 virus. The ideal daily quantity of almonds is 80 grams.
Various studies have shown that the allicin contained in garlic has effective antibiotic, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Consuming it regularly helps to greatly reduce the risk of contracting seasonal colds . Not everyone loves it, yet food experts recommend cooking with two cloves of fresh garlic every day.
A study conducted in the United States has highlighted the ability of epigalocatechins galate (EGCG), antioxidants contained in green tea leaves, to stimulate the formation of T cells, fundamental in strengthening the immune system and for the prevention antitumoral and. Rich in antioxidants, green tea is also active in the protection from inflammation and, therefore, from fever, cold and flu.
7-8. RED GRAPES AND BLUEBERRIES
A study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research has shown that red grapes and blueberries are really able to strengthen the defenses and increase the response body's immune system from attacks by bacteria. The reason is the high presence of resveratrol , a phenol contained in the grape skin and the pterostilbene present instead in blueberries , two compounds produced by plants to fight infections and analyzed specifically by researchers from Oregon State University (USA).
An Oregon State University study analyzed the effects of curcumin, a key component of this spice, on activating an immune system gene. According to the research, curcumin would increase the levels of CAMP, a protein that regulates the innate immune response , which is crucial in protecting the body from the attack of viruses, fungi and bacteria. Consuming turmeric regularly can therefore help the human body to defend itself from the attack of infections, such as those affecting the intestinal tract and stomach.
Oranges, lemons, grapefruits and tangerines are rich in organic acids and vitamins B1, B2, B3, active in stimulating digestion and disinfecting the body . They represent an authentic cure-all for natural defenses, thanks to their high content of vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system, helps to combat the main seasonal ailments and protects against the action of free radicals.