In winter and autumn, infectious diseases are very common: flu, colds, urinary tract infections... They primarily affect vulnerable people, such as children and the elderly. However, they can also affect other categories of people with weak immune systems.
So boost your immune system and protect yourself against these diseases.
Food supplements : for whom and why?
Today, our plates are no longer as rich and complete as they used to be in terms of nutrient intake. We must therefore look for them differently. Dietary supplements aim to supplement an individual's normal diet. They include foodstuffs that are rich in nutrients and substance. Generating nutritional and physiological effects, they are available in several forms:
Depending on the case, the individual may also consume them in their raw form.
Dietary supplements promote the body's functioning and help protect it from external aggressions, such as viral diseases.
It is important to specify that food supplements cannot replace a healthy and balanced diet. It is used to supplement and strengthen the elements that are missing from the individual's diet and that prevent him or her from developing the immune system.
What is the relationship between the immune system and diet?
An individual's health depends on a well-functioning immune system. A multitude of traditional remedies associate food with immunity. In addition, several studies prove the effectiveness of food supplements in strengthening the immune defense.
Many researchers agree that there is a link between food and immunity. Indeed, the immune system, which is very active, needs a source of energy. This energy source allows the immune system to function properly. The absence or lack of an energy source can cause the immune system to malfunction. This means that antibodies can no longer protect the body or fight infection.
What causes a weakened immune system?
Several factors can contribute to the decrease in the body's natural defences. It is important to pay attention to our body's signals in order to protect it preventively.
- Chronic stress: during a stressful situation, our body releases more hormones (adrenaline, cortisol). If our body struggles to recover fully from these stressful phases, this leads to an increase in the level of stress hormones and a decrease in the activity of immune cells. This can lead to a weakening of our immune system.
- Lack of sleep: not getting enough sleep disrupts the body, which will have difficulty producing a sufficient quantity of T-lymphocytes.
- Lack of hydration: Pathogens can penetrate the mucous membranes more easily. Toxins cannot be eliminated sufficiently. It is strongly advised to drink 1.5 litres a day.
- Lack of exercise: A healthy balance between sport and relaxation is necessary to ensure a strong immune system. Lack of exercise limits its functionality.
- Alcohol and tobacco consumption: the immune system functions less efficiently, the number of antibodies in the blood and the number of immune cells are reduced.
- Nutrient deficiency: a lack of vitamins and minerals can lead to an immune deficiency.
- Underlying diseases such as diabetes can weaken the body. In this case, organic and natural food supplements can be a suitable solution.
Which food supplements to take?
To get through infectious diseases, you need to protect yourself. The external aggressor is sometimes too powerful that the body needs external protection and reinforcement to avoid getting sick. Note that this is a non-exhaustive list.
Produced naturally by bees, royal jelly is a nutrient-rich cosmetic substance. It contains between 13 and 18% protein. It is also an excellent source of vitamins B and C. Thanks to the diversity of its composition, it has exceptional virtues.
Royal jelly maintains the immune system by providing it with the energy sources it needs to function. It stimulates the immune system and allows it to act effectively against external aggressors that are detrimental to the well-being and health of the body.
It is also very effective in meeting the body's nutritional needs during seasonal changes or cold seasons. It is also an excellent remedy to fight against stress or fatigue.
Like royal jelly and honey, propolis comes from bees, especially from the hive. The bees use it as a natural shield that guarantees the protection of the hive. They also use it to sterilize colonies before entering the hive to prevent the spread of bacteria or viruses. Thanks to propolis, the hive avoids the risk of microbial or fungal invasions.
This element is distinguished by the diversity of its compositions. It contains more than 50% resin. It contains between 30 and 35 % wax and between 5 and 10 % essential oils. It is also rich in vitamins and trace elements. Apart from that, it is composed of provitamin A, vitamin B5, magnesium, zinc and manganese.
Propolis has therapeutic virtues and stimulates natural defences. These allow the body to protect itself against external aggressors such as fungi and diseases. This product is also effective against respiratory infections.
Whether it's winter or autumn, choose foods rich in minerals and vitamins such as citrus fruits to stay in shape. Lemon, grapefruit, orange and clementine are all you can choose from. Citrus fruits are effective in protecting the heart and boosting immunity. Rich in vitamin C, they help the body fight against microbial aggression and fatigue. For 100 g of orange, for example, you will have 151 mg of potassium, 57 mg of vitamin C, 29.7 mg of calcium and 12.4 mg of magnesium. Apart from that, this fruit also contains water, carbohydrates, fibre...
Generally known to preserve the body against intestinal infections, probiotics also have other virtues. They produce vitamins, generate antimicrobial substances and stimulate the immune system.
You will find probiotics in cheese, yogurt, fermented milk... To preserve the living microorganisms in these products, it is strongly recommended to keep them in the refrigerator.
This trace element is essential to the proper functioning of the body and helps strengthen the immune system by increasing the number of T-lymphocytes. There are many foods rich in zinc, such as oysters, cocoa powder, egg yolk, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, wholemeal bread, wheat germ, oily fish, lentils, beef or dried beans.
Zinc is found in our bodies in minute doses (2 to 3 grams). However, it is not uncommon to have deficiencies, which is why it is important to make up for them with a dietary supplement. Note that the absorption of zinc is higher on an empty stomach than during a meal.
Derived from flax seeds, it is an important source of omega-3. It helps strengthen the immune system and helps fight against inflammatory reactions. It increases the multiplication of healthy cells. Rich in Alpha Linolenic acid, it helps to regulate the body and increase its natural defences. Linseed oil can very well be used during meals, to season a salad, or as a natural dietary supplement, which effectively participates in the prevention of autoimmune diseases, and helps in case of severe winter fatigue. Choose a 100% natural linseed oil, without added preservatives.
Herbal food supplements
An essential health ally, Spirulina is a super food often recommended for athletes and vegetarians for its protein and vitamin B12 resources, which are higher than in meat. Recognized by the World Health Organization, this microalgae-like bacterium has exceptional nutritional qualities. It is recommended for its richness in vitamins and minerals (Iron, Zinc, Magnesium), and its anti-inflammatory action.
Spirulina is a powerful antioxidant, composed of plant proteins, amino acids, omega-6, pigments, trace elements, as well as enzymes, which play an essential role in the construction of cells in the body.
Phycocyanine, the blue pigment that gives colour to spirulina, is an excellent modulator of the immune system. It gives a real boost to our body, tones the body and ensures the proper functioning of the nervous system.
Also known as aloe, aloe vera is a plant that produces a gel with multiple benefits for humans. Powerful detoxifier of the body, it helps the body to get rid of toxins, which optimizes its functioning and fights against fatigue.
Indeed, aloe vera stimulates the action of the bone marrow, and in particular the multiplication of lymphocytes and white blood cells, responsible for the proper functioning of the immune system. It also nourishes the good bacteria of the intestinal flora, where 80% of the immune system is located.
There are natural food supplements with aloe vera, also in the form of juice and gel for external use.
Grapefruit seed extract
With its anti-bacterial properties and high content of vitamin C and flavonoids, Grapefruit seed extract or GSE (not to be confused with grapefruit extract) helps to strengthen your natural defences. It fights against pathogens without affecting the intestinal flora. It is considered an excellent natural antibiotic, and protects the body's cells against premature aging.
A course of grapefruit seed extract can be very effective against bacteria and viruses. To be diluted in water, it should be consumed in moderation. We advise you to always seek the advice of your doctor or pharmacist in order to find the dietary supplement best suited to your health.
Asian ginseng is part of the pharmacopoeia of traditional Chinese medicine. Used for nearly 4000 years in Asia, it helps to tone the body of tired and weakened people, and restores intellectual concentration. Orientals call it "root of life" for its many beneficial properties.
Ginseng contains the precious vitamin B12, as well as vitamins C, E, A. It is rich in minerals and trace elements (calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper...) and amino acids. The real asset of ginseng lies in the presence of ginsenosides which participate in the overall resistance of the body.
A dietary supplement to ginseng can be accompanied by royal jelly, an ideal combo to strengthen your body's defences.
Located in North America, Echinacea helps the immune system to function properly. It is often found in capsules made from Echinacea powder. A true shield during the winter, the Amerindians consumed it to relieve their respiratory tracts in case of coughs, as well as for insect bites and snake bites. It prevents the flu, eases sore throats, and increases physical performance. To complement the action of the plant, it is often accompanied by zinc and vitamins B and C which also help to reduce fatigue.
This aromatic plant promotes respiratory well-being and strengthens the body's defences. The food supplement, in the form of essential oil in capsule form, can be accompanied by green propolis and vitamins to allow the body to regain strength more quickly. Thyme can also be consumed pure, as an infusion. It helps to fight colds and is an excellent source of iron, which is essential for the transport of oxygen and the formation of red blood cells in the blood.
Guarana is a shrub, with seeds of multiple effects. To better endure hunger, the Amazonian Amerindians consumed guarana. Caffeine is its main active ingredient. It is a general stimulant for the body, which improves endurance, helps detoxify the blood, and acts as an analgesic and anti-flu, making it an excellent shield against bacteria and invigorates the body as a whole.
Guarana can be consumed in capsule form, or as a powder. The dosage of guarana must be adapted to each individual because it contains caffeine and can have an exciting effect.
Please note that a healthy, balanced diet and a dietary supplement alone are not enough to boost the immune system. Our body is a great machine, capable of repairing itself, but it needs a lot of attention. There are also other requirements that you must meet:
- Getting enough sleep;
- Regular physical activity;
- Drink water regularly and in sufficient quantity...
Why choose an organic or natural food supplement ?
The problem with non-organic food supplements is that they often contain petrochemical ingredients (synthetic ingredients), genetically modified organisms and pesticides, which are very harmful to health.
Therefore, prefer organic food supplements recognized as AB or Ecocert. These labels guarantee quality products whose production and processing methods respect the environment, with 95% to 100% of the ingredients coming from organic farming.
It is safer to choose an organic and/or natural food supplement in order to optimise your chances of staying healthy. Moreover, it is strongly advised to choose food supplements made and controlled in France. French regulations are one of the strictest.
To find out which dietary supplement you need, depending on your overall state of health, it is important to ask your pharmacist, doctor or naturopath for advice. A specialist will be able to direct you to the type of natural food supplement that suits you best. In fact, certain plants or components may have altercations with your medications, if you are taking them.