Fruit, seasonal vegetables and lots of water to keep you hydrated : this is the perfect recipe to protect you from cold at the table . The healthy diet – says Luca Piretta , Melarossa’snutritionist doctor – is the first shield to keep seasonal illnesses away , because your body is able to raise its immune defenses against virus attacks only if it is well fed.
It’s autumn and your body is preparing to face the winter. The thermometer goes down, the first colds begin and the immune system comes into action against the attack of pathogens. But sometimes the stress of the change of season , associated with the drop in temperatures, can cause your natural defenses to weaken, so it may be useful to follow a diet that helps to strengthen them .
Do you know which foods are right to naturally strengthen your immune system and prevent colds? Those rich of the vitamins Cand beyond, the minerals , water, protein and antioxidants, all nutrients that stimulate your immune system and give you the right energy for a winter without sneezing.
In addition to this, it is important to emphasize that sport also helps to boost the immune system , provided it is practiced in an intelligent and balanced way.
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The diet to fight colds
In fact, if you want to protect yourself from colds, you don’t need to take drugs or supplements. A healthy lifestyle and a diet rich in the right foods are what you need to help your body make the defenses it needs. If you take care of your body, he will work best, enhancing your immune system and protecting you from seasonal ailments .
A well-functioning immune system is based on a varied diet rich in all the nutrients that protect your body. And then, varying food at the table not only helps you fight a cold, but also makes your daily food more tasty and tasty .
First of all foods rich in vitamin C , useful for:
protect cells from oxidation
promote iron absorption
raise the immune system
Many foods are rich in vitamin C, not just citrus fruits, but also kiwis, pomegranates and vegetables from the cruciferous family, etc.
Other foods to boost your immune system
Even some spices are valuable for the immune system . For example, red pepper (which added to dishes increases its vitamin C content), ginger and turmeric.
Even The sulfur-rich foods are important because this substance is able to inhibit bacterial growth . Garlic, onions and shallots and cruciferous vegetables are especially rich .
Foods rich in beta-carotene, a substance capable of stimulating the growth and development of the immune system, are very useful . In this season we find it, for example, in sweet potatoes, persimmons and squash.
Furthermore, in this season, it eats mushrooms because they are rich in selenium and betaglucan, which are essential for activating white blood cells .
Finally, don’t forget about foods rich in zinc , which are mainly found in fish, meat, eggs, cereals, legumes and dried fruit. Zinc has an important protective role for the immune system.
Furthermore, it is important to take probiotics (microorganisms able to exercise beneficial functions for the organism), together with an adequate amount of prebiotics (non-digestible substances that promote the growth and / or the activity of probiotics of the intestinal tract). In other words, prebiotics are the food of probiotics.
Probiotics are contained in some types of yoghurt and in lesser-known foods in western cuisine such as kefir, miso and tempeh. Instead the prebiotics are mainly contained in chicory, artichoke, onion, leeks, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, kiwi, oats and soy.
12 foods to prevent and fight colds: illustrated cards
1 – Carrots
Thanks to the presence of vitamins and minerals, carrots play an important role in combating dry inflammation of the bronchi , throat, trachea and pharynx.
Frequent consumption of carrots helps to prevent dry cough and to alleviate the disorder if it is already present.
The carrot, therefore, is an excellent food to be consumed in autumn and winter to prevent and combat colds and seasonal ailments.
2 – Kiwi
The kiwi contains a lot of vitamin C : 85 mg every 100 g.
It would be enough to eat one a day to satisfy the daily need for vitamin C ( the recommended dose of vitamin C is 60 mg / day ). Furthermore, it is a natural source of well-being with innumerable beneficial and therapeutic properties and a very low calorie content (44 per 100 grams).
3 – Milk
Milk helps you improve your immune response against viruses and bacteria. In fact, it contains high quality proteins , which favor the synthesis of antibodies and ensure our body the right defense against diseases.
To the action of proteins is added that of lysozyme, a defensive enzyme rich in antibodies, and lactoferrin, which is transformed by the body into lactoferricin, an antibacterial substance that acts as a natural antibiotic .
4 – Olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is the absolute best seasoning fat , both raw and for cooking. In fact, it has excellent nutritional properties that make it an effective ally to prevent cardiovascular diseases and to keep the levels of “bad” cholesterol under control.
In addition, it also acts as a shield against colds thanks to the high content of polyphenols, vitamin E and other antioxidant compounds that fight free radicals and help you stimulate the immune system.
5 – The pumpkin
Rich in beta-carotene , a powerful antioxidant of the carotenoid family that your body transforms into vitamin A, the pumpkin strengthens your immune system. Not only that, it preserves the elasticity of the skin and promotes the recovery of mucous congested by the cold .
In fact, vitamin A also contributes to normal iron metabolism, guaranteeing the right oxygenation and correct functioning of all systems, including the immune system.
6 – Citrus fruits
Thanks to the high content of vitamin C , citrus fruits strengthen your immune system , defend you from seasonal ailments and promote collagen synthesis, helping you to keep mucous membranes intact in case of colds.
Citrus fruits that contain more vitamin C ? Clementines, with 54 mg per 100 g , followed by oranges and lemons with 50 mg / 100 g. Citrus fruits also contain powerful antioxidants that protect the body from being tested by the cold.
7 – Broccoli and cauliflower
Broccoli and cauliflower are a mine of vitamin C that helps promote the proper functioning of the immune system, even if with cooking a part of this precious wealth is lost.
Thanks to the high content of antioxidants , these two vegetables are able to counteract the degenerative action of free radicals and, therefore, to stimulate your defenses to protect you from harmful external agents such as viruses and bacteria .
8 – Red meat
Meat is an important source of proteins of high biological value and high quality , which help you keep your shield of antibodies against viruses and bacteria efficient. Not only that, it also contains good amounts of vitamin B12 (absent in any food of vegetable origin) and zinc and selenium, two essential minerals for the correct functioning of the immune system.
9 – Fish
The fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids with an antioxidant action that strengthen the immune system and also act as a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Source of proteins of high biological value and high quality, the fish helps you keep the antibody screen efficient and, thanks to the vitamin D content , promotes the immune response from the respiratory system.
10 – Spinach
Spinach is a vegetable with the highest iron content , essential for guaranteeing good oxygenation of all vital systems that, with the right amount of iron, are more protected from attacks by viruses and bacteria.
Thanks to carotenoids , which your liver transforms into vitamin A, minerals, chlorophyll and folic acid, spinach is a concentrate of energy that stimulates your immune defenses and fights tiredness and fatigue .
11 – Persimmon
The Persimmon is an excellent fruit to be consumed during the cold season because it contains carotenoids (vitamin A) and vitamin C that make your immune defenses stronger and promote the regrowth of tissues and mucous membranes after colds.
Attention : it is a very caloric food ( 65-70 Kcal per 100 gr ) and sugary (it is composed for 18% of sugars), therefore it must be consumed in moderation, above all in a low calorie diet.
12 – Green radicchio
Green radicchio is a mine of vitamins and nutrients that help protect you from colds.
Carotenoids, precursors of Vitamin A, chlorophyll, magnesium, folic acid and calcium make green radicchio a precious vegetable in autumn because it contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system. It also helps to combat tiredness and fatigue , classic symptoms of seasonal ailments.