Health

The best foods to strengthen the immune system

The immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, organs, and the substances they produce that help the body fight infections and other diseases, according to the US National Cancer Institute.

“When germs like bacteria or viruses invade the body, they attack and multiply. This is known as an infection and this causes the disease it affects. The immune system protects a person from illness by fighting germs,” explained Medline Plus, the US National Library of Medicine.

Immune system
The immune system defends the body against substances it considers harmful or foreign. – Photo: Getty Images

Additionally, the US National Library of Medicine noted that the immune system has many different parts, including:

  • The skin: It can help keep germs from entering the body.
  • Mucous membranes: are the moist inner linings of some organs and body cavities. They produce mucus and other substances that can trap and fight germs.
  • White blood cells: They fight germs.
  • Organs and tissues of the lymphatic system: they include the thymus, spleen, tonsils, lymph nodes, lymphatic vessels, and bone marrow. They produce, store, and transport white blood cells.
Fatigue
Habitual tiredness can be a symptom of a weakened immune system. – Photo: Getty Images

Therefore, it is important to strengthen the immune system and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) revealed that the best foods are:

1. Those that contain vitamin C such as: citrus fruits (oranges and grapefruit/grapefruit) and their juices, as well as red and green bell peppers, kiwi, broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe, baked potatoes, and tomatoes.

2. Those that contain vitamin A such as: beef liver and other organs (although these foods are also high in cholesterol, so limit the amount you eat); certain types of fish, such as salmon; leafy greens and other green, orange, and yellow vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, and zucchini; fruits, such as cantaloupe, apricots, and mango; and dairy products.

3. Those that contain vitamin B such as: fish, chicken, beef, eggs, dairy products, green leafy vegetables, beans, beans, and some cereals.

In any case, before consuming any food, the first thing to do is consult the treating physician or a nutritionist so that they can guide the process and indicate what is most appropriate for each person, since the above recommendations are not the indicated for all people, since the information given above is in no way a substitute for medical advice.

Creative Getty Image
Foods with a high content of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins help the immune system. – Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

On the other hand, other recommendations to increase defenses are:

1. Drink water: daily consumption of this liquid is different for men and women, since there are differences between the intake, but in general, most men need about 13 cups of liquid per day and most women need about nine .

2. Exercise: The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests doing moderate aerobic physical activity for at least 150 to 300 minutes or vigorous aerobic physical activity for 75 to 150 minutes, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activity throughout the week.

3. Sleep well: most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep a night for good health.

5. Manage stress: “Chronic psychological stress has been shown to decrease the number of B cells, which are those that produce antibodies, as well as the functionality and activity of NK cells -Natural Killer for its acronym in English-. Both are within the group of lymphocytes and have a primary function in defending the body against bacterial, viral and fungal infections. The problem is that when faced with threatening situations, this function can be affected by the exaggerated and sustained release of adrenaline and cortisol. The above, with the aim of providing energy to face external demands”, explains Dr. Carolina Díaz, immunologist at Clínica Las Condes, in Chile.

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