In troubling times like the one we are living now, being aware of our own body needs is crucial. Seventy percent of your immune function comes from the healthy bacteria of your gut. And a healthy gut is the result of a balanced diet.
These are some micronutrients and antioxidants present in food that can make your organism stronger:
1. Citrus fruits (Vitamin C)
Most people turn to vitamin C in capsules after they've caught a cold, but if you have access to fresh oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, lemon, and lime, it's even better. It builds up your immune system, with the increase of the production of white blood cells and helps to fight infections.
2. Coldwater fishes (Omega 3)
Fatty acids in fishes like salmon, sardines, fresh tuna, and halibut have a powerful effect on our bodies, reducing the production of harming substances when you have inflammation caused by an infection. The ingestion of these fishes are a source of Omega 3, a polyunsaturated fat our bodies can't produce on our own.
3. Berries (Antioxidants)
Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals in your body, which can cause harm if their levels become too high. And several things increase the production of free radicals, like smoking, air pollution, alcohol, viruses, and more. So, to maintain balance, the consumption of berries rich in antioxidants may reduce oxidative stress.
4. Legumes and Shellfish (Zinc)
An essential mineral, zinc metabolizes nutrients, maintains your immune system, and grows and repairs body tissues. Our bodies don't store zinc, so you need to eat enough every day to ensure you're meeting daily requirements. Legumes as beans, chickpeas, and lentils, and shellfish - oysters, crabs, shrimp, and mussels - are excellent and choices to keep your daily needs.
5. Mushrooms and Eggs (Vitamin D)
Vitamin D is the only nutrient your body produces when exposed to sunlight. However, up to 50% of the world's population may not get enough sun for various reasons. Deficiency of vitamin D can affect your immune system, making you sick more often. So, to help your immune system to stay healthy, wild mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D, as pasture-raised chickens' eggs.
6. Dark Chocolate and Leafy Greens (Iron)
Iron is an essential nutrient your body doesn't produce, so you must get it from food. Its deficiency can cause extreme fatigue and anemia, so the ingestion of leafy greens as spinach and broccoli are fundamental. Dark chocolate has flavonoids, antioxidants linked to the reduction of age-related cognitive decline, the risk of Alzheimer's disease, and depression.
7. Ginger and Turmeric (Anti-Inflammatory)
Powerful ingredients, both have been used for centuries to treat a variety of illnesses, ranging from migraines to chronic inflammation and fatigue. Combined, they are a powerful force against inflammation processes and helps the improvement of our immune system.
8. Greek Yogurt (Probiotics)
For a better result, prefer yogurts that have "live and active cultures" printed on the label, like Greek and Icelandic yogurts, or 100% whole milk options. These cultures stimulate your immune system to help fight infections and to have a healthy gut.
9. Almonds and Avocado (Vitamin E)
Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with vitamin E and have healthy monounsaturated fats. Avocado, not a staple or indigenous to Finnish diet, but a trendy and a superfood, is packed with vitamins and nutrients and leads to a healthier life.
And, the 10th and most important of all: Water. A dry mouth decreases its natural functions as a first-line immunological barrier. That means more susceptibility of the body to bacteria and viruses. In sum, eat well with a varied diet of functional and nutrient-packed foods, and drink water!
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