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How to strengthen your immune system?

During the winter season, it is not complicated to keep an iron health simply by putting in place some good habits and sometimes by taking some food supplements. This article looks at good habits, tips and misconceptions for perfect immunity.

Avoid weakening your immune system

We often hear it said: for our body to be in top shape, it is important to eat well, sleep well, hydrate well, move well, and avoid stress. In short, a balanced and varied diet, sufficient hydration, a good quality sleep, and at least 30 minutes of daily walking. Add to this a little yoga or meditation and the cocktail is perfect!

In any case, contrary to certain beliefs, we don't need to eat more fatty or hearty foods in winter to better face the cold. Tartiflettes, raclettes and other fondues make your mouth water? You are not forbidden to eat them, but you should know that unless you are doing physical work outdoors, you do not need any extra calories compared to the rest of the year.

The aim is not to make our stomachs heavier, but to take care of our intestines: they are the first defence barrier of our immune system. It is therefore important to ensure that it has a flora rich in good bacteria by eating yoghurt, sauerkraut, gherkins or even fermented drinks such as kefir or kombucha.

Eat properly and strengthen your body

A balanced diet is the best way to replenish your vitamins and minerals, strengthen your immune system and fight infections. Did you know that vitamins are fragile and sensitive to light, heat and oxygen? The ideal is to select the freshest fruit and vegetables, especially those in season.

For your immune system, we are talking about vitamins C, D, A and E:

  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant. It helps to fight infections, for good iron absorption, for healing and for healthy bones, cartilage, teeth and gums. It is found in many fruits, vegetables and herbs, such as peppers, broccoli, cabbage, parsley, chives, citrus fruits, kiwis, apples, pears and bananas.

  • Vitamin A is necessary for vision, defence against infection, skin and growth. It is found in dairy products (milk, cheese, butter), eggs, some fish, liver, carrots and spinach.

  • Vitamin E has antioxidant properties, for blood clotting, protection of cell membranes and the fight against inflammation. It is mainly found in wholemeal cereals and dried fruit (peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts).

  • Vitamin D is essential for our bones, the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and the defence against infections. It is found in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and tuna and in eggs.

What is meant by deficiency?

Vitamin D is a special case. It is absorbed by our skin when it gets sufficient doses of sunlight (UVB rays). If you eat a balanced diet and go out for 15 to 30 minutes every day, you should not be deficient. Many people, however, are deficient in vitamin D, especially in late winter and early spring.

Minerals such as selenium and zinc also play an important role in strengthening our immune system. They are present in our diet (oilseeds, wholegrain cereals, meat, brewer's yeast, liver, seafood, fish). Together with vitamin D, these are the most common deficiencies.

Depending on your health situation (age, pregnancy, immunodepression, etc.), your diet (vegetarianism, junk food, etc.) or your lifestyle (sedentary, sporty, etc.), your doctor may advise you to take different food supplements. Ideally, you should have a blood test every year to identify any deficiencies.

Which supplements should I take?

In allopathy, your doctor or pharmacist will be able to direct you towards syrups or tablets adapted to avoid any mineral and vitamin deficiency.

In phytotherapy, you can also turn to certain essential oils (such as ravintsara, Scotch pine or compact oregano). Find out about dosages and recommendations (especially in the case of pregnant or breastfeeding women and children). Echinacea is also a plant that fights infections. Propolis strengthens your immune system. Bees make it from tree resins to seal, coat and purify their hive. It also contains vitamins and trace elements and acts against bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Protect yourself from the outside world

As the events of 2020 have made clear, hygiene is essential for good health. Regular hand washing and good ventilation of our offices and homes are two essential means of limiting the spread of viruses, but also of Covid, flu or colds.

Remember to open the windows for 10 to 15 minutes every day: this is enough to preserve the air quality in our homes and workplaces.


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