Foods for the Immune System
Winter brings us low temperatures, lack of light, and many viruses! All these elements are gathered to weaken our immune defenses. Infections of the respiratory tract multiply, the nose becomes stuffed, the throat burns, and the lungs easily become susceptible to infections.
These common winter ailments are not a fixed sentence, in fact it’s easy to prevent and cure them simply by eating the right foods. Certain foods such as garlic, dark chocolate and wheat germ can help make our winters easier and alleviate our seasonal problems by providing the right nutrients to our bodies. This makes our bodies stronger and our immune systems more apt to protect us.
In order to know the best superfoods to consume this winter, keep on reading!
Wheat germ is rich in protein and fiber; it is also rich in vitamins E, B1, B6, B9 as well as the minerals zinc, magnesium and iron. This makes 2 tablespoons of wheat germ enough to cover one-third of the recommended daily intake of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that protects the cells from aging, one-third of the zinc intake which protects against infections and promotes healing and 25% of the daily magnesium recommended amount which helps with fatigue and stress.
Wheat germ is also one of the richest foods in phytoesterols, plant compounds that lower cholesterol, as well as lutein, an antioxidant protective of the retina
Extracted from the grain of wheat, the wheat germ is sold in the form of flakes. It is a 100% natural food supplement rich in vitamins and minerals that easily slips into recipes.
Thanks to its anti-microbial properties, garlic is particularly suitable for naturally treating certain cold-related ailments, such as sore throats or colds. During the H1N1 (influenza A) outbreak in 2009, the Chinese, particularly affected, believed that garlic could prevent the spread of the virus by eliminating toxins and chasing bacteria.
Garlic has powerful properties. Consumed regularly, it has an antibiotic and anti-parasite action. Very useful for purifying the body, garlic has a variety of other benefits. It is great for the cardiovascular system; it lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure. It is also beneficial to the skin and nails and helps with hair growth.
Rich in carbohydrates, vitamin C, potassium and calcium, fennel is a vegetable whose properties confer many health benefits and virtues. Like anise, coriander and caraway, fennel is part of the “four hot seeds”, it is digestive, carminative (helpful with digestive gas) and galactogenic (activates the rise of milk in lactating mothers).
Fennel promotes contractions, activates the secretion of glands of the digestive tract and fights positively against flatulence. The root of the fennel stimulates the appetite. It is also diuretic. It effectively fights against water retention which can be a problem in the cold weather.
Thanks to its content of minerals and trace elements, salmon helps strengthen our immune system. High in copper, selenium, iron and phosphorus … it contains a perfect cocktail of elements to enhance immunity. This makes salmon a great food to consume during winter. Additionally, thanks to its vitamin D content, it is one of the foods that promote the absorption of calcium and strengthen our bones. This is especially important in the colder months because we don’t get enough sun.
We tend to underestimate the benefits of eggs. However, it is scientifically proven that this food is excellent for the human body in many ways. In addition to being very low in calories with only about 90 calories per serving, the egg is one of the most complete foods. It is rich in protein and essential amino acids, high in vitamins A, D, E and K as well as in minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
Eggs are also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants known to strengthen the body’s capacity to defend itself against aggressors. Rich in vitamin B, eggs also boost our brain, help us stay focused and improve our moods, which can be very beneficial in the gloomy weather.
Dark chocolate is very rich in flavoinoids, antioxidants which play a significant role in the prevention of certain diseases and help the body fight against oxidation and inflammation. The antioxidant capacity of cocoa is 2 to 3 times higher than that of green tea and wine; this makes it very beneficial to the body and the immune system.
Dark chocolate is also an excellent source of magnesium. It helps combat fatigue, stress and anxiety. It also contains tryptophans that transform and transmit serotonin to the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in mood regulation as it helps to bring a feeling of calm and well-being. This is why dark chocolate is often thought of as an antidepressant. The simple fact of enjoying chocolate brings comfort and satisfaction; it also promotes the secretion of endorphins, the hormones of happiness which is an added benefit to combat the winter blues!