Food is one way to support our immune defenses. We often immediately think of citrus fruits rich in vitamin C, because this vitamin is often associated with immunity. In fact, it has an anti-infective role. However, other vitamins also contribute to the proper functioning of the immune system.
Vitamin A found in carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, salad, but also in liver, cheese and butter. It contributes to the good health of the mucous membranes – nasal, oral, intestinal…- which are the first line of defense against infections. Vitamin D, which comes to us mostly from the sun than food, is essential for good immune health.
Importance of fruits and vegetables
Other nutrients are also needed. That’s why it’s important to have a varied diet. Pr Renato Monteiro, president of the French Society of Immunology, insists on the importance of fruits and vegetables.
“Their fiber is good for gut health, which plays an important role in immunity.” He also advises not to eat too much fat and too much sugar to avoid gaining too much weight. “Being significantly overweight actually promotes mild chronic inflammation that can lead to an inappropriate immune response.
You do not need to take food supplements if you eat well and have no deficiencies. It can even be counterproductive. Plants such as willow, yarrow, and echinacea, which have anti-inflammatory properties, could disrupt the immune system. Inflammatory reactions are initially beneficial for fighting viruses.
Regular physical activity helps keep your immune system young
If anything is proven, it’s the benefits of exercise. I know, I talk about it often. But to be in good immunological condition, you need to be in good physical condition. Exercise increases the number of white blood cells in the blood and makes them more active in patrolling blood vessels and removing virus-infected cells.
Studies have shown that people who exercise are less likely to get respiratory infections than sedentary people. That’s not all, being active also seems to limit the aging of the immune system, which becomes less effective with age. In active seniors, the immune system weakens less quickly.
The benefit of physical activity is even greater when it is regular. It can be walking at a good pace, cycling, swimming… There is no need to force yourself too much: if inactivity is not good, too much exercise can also weaken the immune defense. You also need to know how to rest.
Sleep is a weapon against viruses
The power of rest should not be underestimated. But if you feel abnormally tired, you should seek advice to find the cause. This can come from, for example, bad nights, disrupted by sleep apnea, which is still too often underdiagnosed. However, quality sleep contributes to the proper functioning of our immune system. It also helps regulate stress, which is now known to make you more prone to infections.