ABCs to boost your immune system for a period of viruses

The autumn period full of viruses is coming soon and it is time to review your daily menu and analyse whether it contains foods that help strengthen the immune system and increase the body’s resistance to diseases. Here’s a list of what needs to be consumed on a daily basis and what is the ABC of an anti-inflammatory diet:

1. Antioxidants

There are constant processes in our body that damage the health of our cells. The result is rapid aging and increased susceptibility to disease and infections. Antioxidants help to protect our cells from this. The main antioxidants are vitamins A, C, E, the minerals zinc and selenium, and phytonutrients. All this we can get when we eat different coloured fruits and vegetables, berries, whole grains and nuts.

The daily recommendation is to consume:
– at least 500g of vegetables (excluding potatoes and sweet potatoes);
– 200-400g of fruits and berries;
– 5-6 portions of grains (preferably whole grains) – 1 portion is, for example, 1 slice of
bread or 70-100 g of cooked whole grains;
– A handful of nuts or seeds.

Green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables (various cabbages, but also radishes), blackcurrant and goji berries are especially rich in antioxidants. The berries are also rich in phytonutrients, which have anti-cancer effects. In summer it is preferable to consume domestic berries and in winter they can be consumed thawed or freeze-dried. Nuts in turn are rich in different minerals. For example, Brazil nut is an excellent source of selenium. All superfood mixes, collagen mixes and raw bars found in the Be More e-shop contain various freeze-dried berry powders with a high concentration of vitamins and
antioxidants.

2. Anti-inflammatory diet

Proper diet can indeed reduce inflammatory processes in your body. To do this, make sure that the menu is balanced in terms of fatty acids and that there are some sources of Omega3 fatty acids in the menu on a daily basis. The best sources of Omega3 are, for example, chia, flax and hemp seeds and oils made from them. Camelina oil also contains Omega3 fatty acids. Various scientific studies confirm that the Omega3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA found in fatty fish have a protective effect on our organs, especially the heart and brain, and also contribute to the normal development of the nervous system and support immunity. It is recommended to eat fatty fish (salmon, trout) 2-3 times a week.

In addition, it is recommended to consume other sources of unsaturated fatty acids also, such as avocado, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds. However, saturated fatty acids and Omega6 fatty acids should be limited in the menu, because they have a detrimental effect on our cardiovascular system and tend to promote inflammation. The main sources of such fatty acids are meat and dairy products.

In the Be More e-shop, you will find a good source of Omega3 – chia and hemp seeds in the selection of superfoods. They can be added, for example, to porridges or smoothies. Be More superfood mixes also contain chia or hemp seed powder (except Detox mix).

3. Fermented food

Our immunity is in our gut. The bacteria that live there take care of the health of our intestines. The healthier our menu, the more bacteria in the gut that take care of our immunity and protect us from bad gut microbiota. To support and increase the number of good bacteria, it is recommended to eat fermented food on daily basis. These can be fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi), but also kefir or Greek yoghurt. Keep in mind that the products should be sugar-free.

4. Fiber

Dietary fiber is also a food for our intestinal and especially colon bacteria. Consumption of fiber is essential for a well-functioning digestive system. We need to get 25-35g of fiber from food every day. The most common fiber is cellulose, which makes up more than half of the carbohydrates found in plants – it is found primarily in vegetables such as carrots and cabbage. Grains are also a very good source of fiber, and whole grains should be preferred for consumption. It is also recommended to eat a handful of nuts or seeds every day, because they are a source of both – fiber and minerals.

5. Spices and herbs

The menu can also be diversified with various herbs and spices. There are many scientific studies that confirm that spices and herbs have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, blood sugar and cholesterol lowering effects. Herbs are good sources of vitamins, minerals and phenolic compounds. Vitamin E, known as a strong antioxidant, is present in dried oregano and ginger, for example. Dried marjoram and dried oregano are excellent sources of calcium.

The interesting fact is that dried herbs have a better concentration of vitamins and minerals than fresh herbs. Sulfur-containing foods are also recommended, especially garlic and onion. Sulfur helps the body make antibodies.

The most remarkable spices are turmeric and ginger. Both have antioxidant properties and help support the immune system. Turmeric and black pepper capsules are available as a dietary supplement in the Be More e-shop. Black pepper supports the immune system and has antioxidant, antiparasitic and antimicrobial properties.

Which foods should be restricted or avoided in order not to harm the body's
immune system and health of our cells?

The consumption of refined foods (wheat flour, processed foods, refined vegetable oils) and also the excessive consumption of sugar must be strictly limited. It is also not recommended to eat too much of meat products and fatty dairy products. To support the immune system, there are many supplements available in the market that can also be consumed, but still all must base on a healthy diet and on an
antioxidant-rich menu.

I recommend everyone to review their daily menu and make corrections. Then we can face the period of viruses during autumn with more confidence.

Nutritionist Diana Zintšenko

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