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Boost your immune system this winter with the right foods

January 29, 2014 - By Nautilus Plus

Temps de lecture 2 minutes

Winter is the most promising season for skating, sliding, skiing and colds! Many of you drift from colds to flu’ and sinusitis, but do you know that you can boost your natural defenses against infection with the foods you eat? Here are three simple steps you can take right away.

Make sure you eat vitamin C-rich foods

Indeed, vitamin C stimulates immune cell (T lymphocyte) production, and these cells attack pathogens. When taken as a supplement though, vitamin C does not provide the same benefits as food sources. So, for snacks or desserts, go for citrus fruits, strawberries, or kiwis, and then add bell peppers, tomatoes, and Brussels sprouts to your meals.

Get enough vitamin D

During the winter months, we seriously lack this much talked about “sunshine vitamin”, which influences the immune system through its antibacterial activity, among others. The recommended dietary intake, adjusted in 2010 by the Institute of Medicine, is 600 IU a day for persons aged 1 to 70 years and 800 IU a day for those aged 70 years and up. In fact, vitamin D is the only vitamin recommended by the Canada Food Guide for daily use in supplemental form. Otherwise, make sure you eat enough vitamin D-rich foods, like grilled or poached salmon (600-920 IU / 100 g), canned salmon (320-760 IU / 100 g), red tuna or marinated herring (280 IU / 100 g), grilled trout (200-280 IU / 100 g), milk (120 IU / 250 mL) or soy beverages (80 IU / 250 mL).

Fill up on probiotics

Probiotics are good bacteria, an adequate consumption of which benefits your intestinal flora. Since your intestinal flora is the first line of defense of your immune system, it has to be strong and healthy. Probiotics in amounts generating a therapeutic effect are found mainly in capsule form: Bio-K®, Probalac® or Lactibiane®. You can also get your fill of good bacteria by eating fermented milk products, like yogurt and kefir, or even unpasteurized sauerkraut, all of which would be a plus for your diet!

Wishing you good health!

By Marilyne Petitclerc, P.Dt., Nutritionist



L. Kamen, D. and Tangpricha, V. (2010). Vitamin D and molecular actions on the immune system : modulation of innate and immunity. Journal of molecular medicine, 88 (5), p. 441-450.

Boost your immune system this winter with the right foods is a post from Nautilus Plus. The Nautilus Plus blog aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
Copyright © Nautilus Plus 2014

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