An optimal immune system is a guarantee of good health. Its proper functioning protects the body from infections. It promotes our ability to fight threats such as viruses and bacteria. To face the winter, it is necessary to boost our immune defenses.
Lifestyle habits play an important role in this task. Indeed, diet, sleep, physical activity, or even stress are factors that strongly influence the immune response.
Different vitamins and certain nutrients help support the body at all times. Their deficiency is the main cause of an immune deficiency. It is therefore on this basis that we must work! Find out quickly how to keep fit and healthy during the less sunny days of the year!
Why strengthen your immune system before winter?
To better fight viruses
Did you know that exposure to cold can increase the risk of contracting a virus? Harmful agents, responsible for colds and winter ailments, spread very easily when temperatures are low. These survive better during the winter and affect a greater number of people. Even those who are healthy. A cold, wet, or dry climate can therefore have a negative impact on everyone’s immune system.
To promote the immune system response of white blood cells
As soon as bad weather arrives, the blood vessels of the upper respiratory tract narrow. They thus retain body heat, despite the inhalation of cold.
This reaction negatively impacts the work of white blood cells. These hardly reach the natural cavities of the body and have trouble fighting against bad germs. The body and its immune defenses are therefore more sensitive in winter and must be stimulated.
To maintain optimal vitamin D levels
Bad weather forces us to stay home more often. We benefit less from sunlight and store an almost zero amount of vitamin D. This situation favors a greater spread of viruses such as the flu or the common cold.
Antioxidant foods for a strong immune system
Garlic is a natural antibiotic. It keeps the lymphatic system healthy. The role of the latter is to allow the circulation of immune cells and the activation of defenses during infection.
Feel free to combine garlic, onion, oregano, and thyme in your dishes. Let’s add beetroot, spinach, and broccoli to the list: they are all rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. Enough to be protected from the first cold days!
Vitamins: the anti-fatigue allies of winter
Vitamins are essential elements for maintaining vital balance. They also help keep the immune system in good shape.
The B group of vitamins is part of the category of super-vitamins. Their contribution helps to preserve the health of immune cells. It promotes the production and distribution of energy in the body. Certain elements of the B vitamin family are however to be favored when one wishes to better face the winter.
Essential for the proper functioning of the immune system, it maintains the health of the lymphoid organs. Their role is to produce white blood cells and immune cells.
We can therefore conclude that vitamin B6 acts against the risk of winter infections. It must therefore be present in sufficient quantity in the body, despite its water-soluble nature.
Its deficiency involves consequences such as fatigue and physical weakness.
The idea is to include anti-fatigue foods in your menu: oily fish, organ meats, potatoes, and whole grains. Thanks to these natural sources of vitamin B6, the body better converts food into energy. You quickly feel invigorated!
This vitamin, also called cobalamin, with multiple properties is beneficial during the winter months.
It acts in reactions involving the mitochondria which provide the energy necessary for the cells, thus promoting energy metabolism and strengthening the immune defenses. Its deficiency can amplify the state of fatigue or depression.
It is naturally found in good quantities in food:
- beef, veal, or lamb liver;
- rabbit ;
- mussels, oysters, caviar;
- steamed salmon.
Note that vitamins B1 and B2 also contribute to energy production. Their contribution is made via brewer’s yeast, pulses, nuts, green vegetables, and mushrooms.
It’s the one we all need in winter when the sun’s rays are weak and the days are shorter.
Its benefits for health and the immune system are numerous:
- reinforcement of the skeleton by maintaining the level of calcium and phosphorus;
- fight against winter blues and depression;
- resistance to viruses, bacteria, and respiratory infections.
By increasing the number of lymphocytes in the body, vitamin D promotes the anti-inflammatory effect. The mechanism of elimination of pathogenic elements and the adaptive immune system is thus perfectly stimulated.
Vitamin D deficiency is very common in Europe. Only a few foods contain it: fish, dairy products, and mushrooms. However, its presence there is so small that it does not meet daily needs.
At this time of year, it is therefore essential to provide a supplemental supply of vitamin D.
It is the antioxidant par excellence!
Its ingestion promotes the production of cells that fight infections: white blood cells. It thus protects the body and will boost the defenses as soon as necessary.
You should know that vitamin C is an inflammation reducer. That means she’s not going to prevent catching a cold. However, it can reduce its severity and relieve its symptoms.
Food sources rich in vitamin C are:
- citrus fruits;
- red pepper;
- broccoli ;
- cranberry ;
- the blueberries ;
- the grenade.
Note that the more your plate is colored, the more you ingest vitamin C! Thanks to these different ingredients, you fight much better against the pathogens that cause winter ailments.
Essential minerals for the immune system
Minerals are essential nutrients for overall health and well-being at any time of the year.
It is the best remedy for the common cold. This mineral facilitates the production and activation of lymphocytes which prompt the body to fight infections. A mild zinc deficiency can have a significant negative impact on several aspects of immune function. Plant sources such as nuts, unrefined grains, and pulses contribute to an adequate intake of zinc.
It plays a role in regulating body temperature in winter. It is he, too, which produces hemoglobin: the protein responsible for transporting oxygen to the tissues. An iron deficiency can be the cause of repeated infections: sinusitis, otitis, and sore throat… This is why it is recommended to eat beans, lentils, leafy vegetables, and red meat as soon as you arrive. of winter.
Our anti-fatigue tips to boost immune defenses
In addition to these natural elements, you can bet on vitamin A. It plays an essential role in maintaining physical barriers preventing infections.
Add to that the practice of moderate physical activity. This allows a better cardiovascular form, the maintenance of muscle mass, and the normalization of blood pressure. In addition to promoting good overall health, exercise has a direct effect on immunity and stress!