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Boosting the immune system: what women should eat 

Written by The Plusbaby Team

boost-immune-system

What can you do to boost your immune system?

It's often difficult to know how to boost your immune system and how these factors affect your overall health. Advice, particularly on diet, is constantly changing. We're going to look at foods and micronutrients that are considered beneficial for immune system processes, foods that can potentially weaken your immune system, and other practices to try and live a healthier life in general.

Boost your immune system

Your immune system defends your body against infection. What can you do to help your immune system do its job properly? Because of the complexity of the immune system, there is no simple answer to this question, but there are some good tips you can follow. If you take good care of yourself, you're more likely to help your immune system and your overall health. Focus on how you treat your body and other factors within your control. Make healthy choices about things like exercise, diet and sleep.

Foods that boost your immune system

It's not always possible to find high-quality products and other fresh foods. When fresh foods are not available, plain frozen foods, or frozen foods with no added sugar or sodium, retain much of their original nutritional value. So what should you look for to have a positive impact on your immune system and overall health? Foods rich in antioxidants help fight inflammation. Here are some foods that could be beneficial in your diet:

  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Turmeric
  • Fruits, especially acai berries, blueberries and watermelon.
  • Yogurt (low-fat)
  • Spinach and other dark leafy vegetables

Vitamins, minerals and nutrients to boost your immune system

Micronutrients are necessary for the functioning of many bodily systems, including the immune system. Vitamin C can help you prevent or recover more quickly from infection. Foods rich in vitamin C include spinach, peppers and strawberries. Vitamin E, found in nuts and vegetable oils, also helps fight infection. Iron transports oxygen and plays a role in many immune system processes. Animal products such as red meat, chicken and fish contain iron. Zinc, found in foods such as baked beans and yoghurt, helps produce new white blood cells. Selenium, folic acid and vitamins A and D also play a role in boosting your immune system.
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Other ways to boost your immune system

Diet is not the only factor that can influence the way your immune system works. Age, gender, genetics and lifestyle are other factors that influence the way your immune system works. Although many of these aspects are beyond your control, you can change your behaviour. To better understand the links between your behaviour and its impact on your immune system, it is necessary to go into more detail :

Lifestyle

You have some control over how you spend your day. Lifestyle habits can influence your general state of health and, to protect your health and improve your day-to-day functioning, you can :

  • Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night
  • Regular exercise (for example, a 30-minute walk every day)
  • Eat nutrient-rich foods
  • Manage your stress level
  • Maintain your relationships
  • Work on a positive frame of mind
  • Don't smoke.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation (or not at all)

Foods that weaken your immune system

To maintain a healthy and sustainable diet, you need to exercise balance and moderation. Poor nutrition and a diet rich in overly processed foods can damage your immune system. Certain foods can slow down natural processes and have a negative impact on the functioning of your immune system. However, it's not necessary to avoid all foods considered unhealthy, the key is moderation and monitoring your food intake. Maintaining such a restrictive diet is incredibly difficult (almost impossible) and is not recommended.
It's important to know which foods are most likely to cause you problems, whichever way you decide to approach your diet. Foods that increase the risk of weakening your immune system should be eaten in moderation. Foods that can cause inflammation or weaken your immune system include the following:

  • Added sugar or artificial sweeteners
  • High salt levels
  • Fried foods and other foods rich in saturated fats
  • Processed meats
  • Additives
  • Highly refined carbohydrates

 

If you have any questions about improving your diet, we suggest you consult your GP or a nutrition expert.

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