Why does immunity decrease? Correction of the diet to enhance the protective functions of the body. TOP 7 food products for strengthening human immunity.
Food for immunity is a source of vitamins, minerals and other useful substances that will help strengthen the body's defenses and fight off disease-causing agents. Diet correction as a preventive measure gives excellent results already after a few weeks. We will find out how to support the immune system, activate the body's defenses, what foods strengthen the human immune system, how to put things in order in order not to grab an insidious virus and not fall into bed.
Causes of decreased immunity
Immunity is a protective function of the body, which is aimed at resisting various adverse factors. These include external threats in the form of bacteria, viruses and other pathogenic microorganisms, as well as internal infection of their own cells. In order for the immunity to be resistant and actively reflect the attacks of pathogens, it is important to pay attention to its strengthening and not to allow the weakening of the defense.
Let's find out the main reasons for the decrease in immunity:
- Increased physical activity;
- Sedentary lifestyle (physical inactivity);
- Chronic fatigue;
- Unhealthy or short sleep - less than 7 hours a day;
- Bad habits - alcohol abuse, smoking;
- Taking antibiotics for a long time;
- An excess of toxins in the body;
- Stress, depression;
- Bad ecology, pollution in the environment.
Another reason for the decrease in immunity lies in the wrong diet. These are constant snacks and frequent consumption of fast food. Also, immunity is weakened when the diet lacks vegetables and fruits containing useful vitamins and minerals necessary for immunity.
To strengthen the protective functions of the body, it is important to eliminate the possible causes of their decline. To do this, you need to correct physical activity, sleep and wakefulness, stop drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, and you will feel an improvement in your condition. Do special exercises every day, which include daily exercises, and jogging, and yoga.
Hardening procedures will help make the body more enduring: they practice dousing with water or a cold shower. It also reduces the risk of infection with pathogenic organisms by visiting the bath. However, when performing a set of procedures, it is important to know and take into account the measure so as not to overdo it. Excessiveness is fraught in any business, because instead of confronting viruses and microbes, you can worsen the general condition of the body.
You should also establish nutrition, minimize the amount of junk food in the diet, pay attention to foods that increase immunity, and draw up a menu with their participation. Every day you need to drink about 1 liter of pure water, not counting tea, coffee, juice, compote and other drinks.
Pay attention to the signals that your own body gives you. The first alarm bells are a sudden change in health, increased irritability, the appearance of signs of a cold and allergies. At this moment, it is important to direct all efforts to strengthen the protective functions of the body. But such a preventive measure as proper nutrition and the use of foods to increase immunity will turn out to be much more effective, then you will not have to think about the possible negative consequences.
How to adjust the diet to improve immunity?
Correction of the diet and the inclusion of immunity-boosting foods in the menu gives noticeable results already after a few weeks. It is important to add to the diet food rich in such useful nutrients, which are of great importance for enhancing the protective functions of the body:
- Vitamin C … Ascorbic acid is a substance that increases the body's resistance to adverse external factors. And they include not only great physical activity, bad habits, hypothermia, but also all kinds of infections. Under the influence of vitamin C in the body, the formation of immune cells is accelerated, the process of producing antibodies and interferon, which protect against virus attacks. In addition, ascorbic acid is known to be a powerful antioxidant. Products that strengthen the immune system, which contain vitamin C, include oranges and lemons (citrus fruits), black currants, kiwi, rose hips and rowan berries, apples, persimmons. There is ascorbic acid in berries such as cranberries, strawberries, lingonberries, sea buckthorn. The presence of the nutrient is noted in cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and sauerkraut, tomatoes, parsley, dill, and various seedlings.
- Vitamin A … The substance enhances the protective function of the body, and also protects the skin and mucous membranes from drying out, which provokes the appearance of cracks through which pathogenic microorganisms penetrate. Vitamin A reduces the harmful effects of free radicals as it is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin A is found in foods of plant and animal origin. In the first case, we are talking about carotene, for the assimilation of which fats are required. That is why vegetable oil is used for dressing vegetable salads. But food of animal origin contains easily digestible vitamin A. Plant products to strengthen the immune system are vegetables and fruits that have a red and orange color. These include tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin, bell peppers, melon, sea buckthorn, apricots, peaches, mangoes, rose hips, cherries. Also, vitamin A is present in the composition of green vegetables, namely broccoli, legumes, green onions, spinach. Herbs containing the nutrient: sorrel, parsley, fennel. When introducing products for immunity with vitamin A into the diet, it is important not to overdo it with the norms of the substance, since it can accumulate in the body.
- Vitamin E … The substance is primarily known as an antioxidant due to its ability to protect cells from free radicals. It is also a good counteraction to inflammatory processes occurring in the cells and tissues of the body. Products containing vitamin E for raising the immune system are represented by vegetable oils - olive, sunflower, corn, linseed. Also, the nutrient is in the composition of sunflower seeds, avocado, peanuts, almonds, legumes. Good sources of vitamin A are oatmeal, egg yolks, and greens.
- B vitamins … These nutrients are essential for raising immunity during difficult periods associated with stress and illness, and for the production of antibodies that are required to fight infections. The most important B vitamins for strengthening the body's defenses are B9, B2, B5, B6, B1, B12. Products that strengthen human immunity, with their content, are legumes, brown rice, buckwheat, oatmeal, nuts, sunflower seeds, millet. Also, B vitamins are found in brewer's yeast, eggs, rye bread, greens.
- Vitamin D … The substance is formed in the body by exposure to the sun. Promotes the absorption of calcium, which actually causes the strengthening of bones, normalizes the functioning of white blood cells. You can only count on a not insignificant content of vitamin D. Products for maintaining immunity with its content: fatty sea fish, shiitake and maitake mushrooms, garlic. It is also good to consume pomegranate juice.
- Alimentary fiber … Remove harmful substances, which include cholesterol, heavy metal salts, neutralize inflammatory processes in the body. Dietary fibers are soluble, which include pectin and gluten, and insoluble, represented by lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose. To enhance the protective function of the body, it is important to include in the diet such foods for immunity, containing soluble dietary fiber, such as apples, cabbage, citrus fruits, oatmeal. The most famous product with insoluble dietary fiber is bran. Sunflower seeds and unrefined grains also contain this nutrient.
- Phytoncides … These are substances that fight against pathogenic microorganisms that cause various diseases, thus increasing the body's ability to resist disease-causing agents. Also, thanks to their properties, the recovery processes occurring in the tissues are enhanced. Products that raise human immunity, in which phytoncides are found, are represented by garlic, onions, horseradish, radishes, blueberries, black currants. They are recommended to be consumed fresh. In addition, in order to enhance the protective properties of the body and resistance to infections, herbs and plants rich in phytoncides should be added to the medicinal collection: ginseng, echinacea, red clover, dandelion, St. John's wort, elecampane, celandine, aloe. There are such substances in the composition of spices, for example, cinnamon and ginger.
- Protein … An important source of essential amino acids. Promote the restoration of cells that are affected by pathogenic agents - bacteria and viruses. Protein foods that improve immunity include primarily fish - salmon, tuna, as well as meat and eggs. Proteins are also found in dairy products - milk, cheese, as well as mushrooms, legumes, nuts, broccoli, cereals. When formulating a diet, it is important to include plant and animal proteins in it.
- Zinc … It is the most important mineral needed to fight pathogenic organisms. Participates in the regulation of cortisol suppressing the immune system and the formation of immune cells, antibodies to protect our body from disease-causing agents. Zinc enhances the action of vitamin A and ascorbic acid associated with the stimulation of the body's defenses. The mineral deficiency is especially observed in the elderly. Immune-supporting foods with zinc are primarily animal protein, namely meat (especially liver), seafood (shrimp, oysters), sea fish. Also, this substance is contained in beans, mushrooms, walnuts and peanuts, oatmeal, chicken egg yolks, cheese. Zinc, present in plant foods, is poorly absorbed.
- Magnesium … It is a mineral that gives calmness, especially needed in stressful situations, periods of excitement. Expending magnesium reserves, the body returns the desired balance. You can find the substance in legumes, seafood, nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds). Useful foods that increase immunity, with a magnesium content, such as whole grain cereals: first of all, these are oats, buckwheat, millet, quinoa. It is good to introduce wild rice, spelled, pearl barley, bulgur into the menu. It is important to take into account that instant porridge is absolutely useless. In addition, the concentration of magnesium in mineral water is high.
- Selenium … The substance promotes the production of infection-fighting antibodies and, together with ascorbic acid and vitamin E, protects cells from the effects of free radicals. Helps preserve zinc. What foods increase immunity: seafood and sea fish, nuts, mushrooms, garlic, sunflower seeds.
- Iodine … This nutrient is involved in the formation of thyroid hormones, and, accordingly, is responsible for the immune defense. Iodine is found in seafood, sea fish, seaweed. Also, useful foods for immunity that contain the substance include asparagus, green lettuce, garlic, carrots, eggs, tomatoes.
- Omega-3 … Unsaturated fatty acids help to strengthen the body's defenses, regulate recovery processes. The best product for immunity with omega-3 content is fish, in particular, you should pay attention to trout, salmon, tuna. There are unsaturated fatty acids in the composition of olive oil, fish oil, seafood.
- Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli … These substances are involved in creating an environment that is favorable for the multiplication of protective cells from pathogenic agents, the destruction of pathogenic microflora that develops in the intestine, suppression of putrefactive processes, and the formation of a person's immune status. What foods increase human immunity: first of all, fermented milk. They include yogurt, ayran, koumiss, kefir, fermented baked milk, yogurt, tan. Also, lacto- and bifidobacteria are found in sauerkraut, soaked apples, kvass.
TOP 7 foods to strengthen immunity
In general, a huge amount of food is useful for strengthening the body's defenses, as it contains numerous vitamins and minerals. However, there are those that lead the list of immunity products. Let's talk about them in more detail.
Rich taste and a great alternative to the sugar we are used to are not the main advantages of honey. First of all, a beekeeping product is used for immunity, since it has numerous beneficial properties: it promotes recovery from colds, supports the immune system and normalizes the nervous system, accelerates wound healing.
To enhance the protective functions of the body, it is recommended to consume honey daily in the amount of one spoon. Also, a beekeeping product to increase immunity is good to combine with tea and lemon, but remember that it should not be added to a hot drink. Otherwise, biologically active substances are lost. In addition, honey can be eaten by pouring it on a slice of lemon or apple, and in combination with cottage cheese, it is useful.
First of all, we should pay tribute to "live yoghurts" containing lacto- and bifidobacteria. Such fermented milk products normalize the health of the digestive tract and the functioning of the immune system.
According to many studies by American and European scientists, probiotics help to reduce the symptoms inherent in the flu and colds, which include fever, cough and nasal congestion.
In addition to bioyoghurts, it is useful to use fermented milk products that enhance immunity, such as kefir and yogurt. Thanks to the probiotics contained in their composition, digestion is normalized, harmful substances are removed.
Also, kefir will help to avoid colds, because kefir fungus enhances the function of the intestines, aimed at protecting against the penetration of pathogenic agents. And calcium stimulates the synthesis of protective antibodies that help fight viruses.
Important! It is recommended to consume fermented milk products on an empty stomach or in the evening.
Garlic is considered the recognized # 1 remedy for the prevention of viral diseases. Its healing properties have been appreciated since ancient times.
The composition contains the natural antibiotic allicin. According to some studies, it prevents complications that can develop after colds and flu. Thanks to the phytoncides contained in garlic, the body's ability to resist disease-causing agents is enhanced.
Garlic can be eaten fresh or added to meat dishes, soups and sauces. When cooking, its smell disappears a little, but useful substances remain.
If you don't know what foods can boost your immune system along with garlic, pay attention to lard. You can also use kefir before meals, to which pre-chopped cloves of garlic are added - 3 pcs., Or prepare tea with the addition of a piece of garlic and 1 tbsp. honey.
Note! In addition to garlic, phytoncides are found in onions, horseradish, herbs - dill and wild garlic.
Ginger root is a great addition to the list of immune-boosting foods. Its healing effect has been appreciated since ancient times. Chinese warriors used lotions with ginger to heal wounds received in battles.
It is recommended to use ginger root in the initial stages of a cold, since its effect is similar to the effect of garlic on the human body. To enhance immunity, it is used as a seasoning, adding to various dishes, for example, soup or porridge, meat and chicken dishes.
To strengthen the body's defenses, it is useful to brew ginger tea. Pour boiling water over the finely chopped root and add lemon and honey, taken in equal proportions. Wait for the drink to infuse before drinking.
Citrus fruits have not been exotic for us for a long time, and there is no doubt about their useful properties. Lemon contains a lot of ascorbic acid, which is stored not only in fresh fruits, but also in juice. However, keep in mind that heat treatment destroys vitamin C, as well as prolonged contact of fruits with air.
To boost immunity, add lemon juice to water and drink immediately. But tea is not suitable for enhancing the protective functions of the body, since boiling water neutralizes the healing substances contained in its composition.
Orange is another healthy citrus fruit that can help boost your immune system. In addition to ascorbic acid, it contains vitamins A, PP and group B. Fruits have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, they have a beneficial effect on digestion processes.
Sea fish is an unexpected product for immunity in our TOP. First of all, it is appreciated for its omega-3, and then thanks to protein, vitamins A, E, group B and zinc. There are not enough fatty acids in our body, and in order to get them from food, choose fatter fish, for example, trout, salmon, mackerel, tuna.
In addition, sea fish are an excellent source of zinc, which is involved in building immune cells. He also takes part in the production of antibodies necessary to protect our body from disease-causing agents - bacteria and viruses.
Berries and fruits
If you are interested in what foods boost immunity, pay attention to grapes and chokeberry. They normalize the endocrine system, lower cholesterol levels, saturate with vitamins and minerals. You can eat both fresh fruits and berries, and prepare useful infusions on their basis.
In addition, to enhance the body's defenses, it is recommended to introduce raisins into the diet. It has a positive effect on the state of the body during the treatment of cough and runny nose, it is also good to include it in the menu for bronchitis. The daily norm of raisins is 50-200 g. It is good to soak a handful in water overnight, and drink liquid in the morning.
Rosehip fruits increase the body's resistance to colds and the negative effects of pathogens due to its high content of vitamin C. To relieve fatigue, add strength, make tea from rosehips and do not forget to add honey to it.
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