Beyond the famous barrier gestures, it is possible to block microbes by adopting a good diet. Without deprivation or hassle, this is what is recommended to put on your plate for optimal immune defenses. The priority: Strengthen our microbiota and nourish our white blood cells which produce immune cells. (For them to be produced and function well, they need proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants… which can only be provided by a balanced diet.)
The 8 essential nutrients for our immune defenses
– Vitamin C, which is used by white blood cells to produce free radicals to fight viruses. It is found in fruits and vegetables: the richest being: blackcurrant, pepper, cabbage, kiwi, strawberry, orange, lemon, spinach. Preferably raw or lightly cooked because vitamin C is destroyed by heat.
– Vitamin D activates immune cells. Studies show a link between the severe form of Covid-19 and vitamin D deficiency. It is not very present in our diet, it is found mainly in fatty fish, a little in butter and egg yolk. The majority is synthesized using the sun’s rays. In winter, supplementation is recommended.
– Selenium: it is a cofactor of enzymes, including glutathione peroxidase. A selenium deficiency increases the virulence of viruses and the frequency of their mutation. It is found in fish (tuna, cod, monkfish, saithe, etc.) and seafood (crabs, spiders, scallops, etc.). Brazil nuts are also very rich: 2 to 3 per day cover our daily needs. .
Zinc is the most important mineral for our immune defenses because it participates in the production of antibodies. It is found in meat, fish and seafood (especially oysters). For vegetarians, it is also found in seeds (sesame, pumpkin flax, etc.) and whole grains; but vegetable zinc is less well assimilated.
– Omega 3: viruses are surrounded by a lipid membrane. If we consume a lot of saturated fats (butter, cheese, etc.) this membrane will be more rigid. On the contrary, if we favor unsaturated fats like omega 3, it will be easier to destroy. Omega 3 also has anti-inflammatory properties. They are found in fatty fish (sardines, mackerel, herring, trout, etc.) and certain oils and seeds (rapeseed, walnuts, flax, chia, hemp, camelina, etc.)
– Polyphenols have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. They are real protectors of cells. They are found in colorful fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices. The most famous are anthocyanins from red fruits, catechins from tea and cocoa, resveratrol from red wine*, curcumin from turmeric.
– Fibers are food for our good intestinal bacteria. They prevent the development of pathogenic bacteria and protect against inflammatory damage that disrupts our immunity. They are found in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes. In particular onion, leeks asparagus, artichoke, barley, oats.
– Probiotics are good bacteria that strengthen our intestinal microbiota. A healthy microbiota is an effective barrier against microbes. They are found in fermented foods like yogurt, lacto-fermented vegetables, raw milk cheeses, tempeh, kefir and kombucha.
A day of special immunity menus:
Breakfast: fermented milk and pancake with banana and wholemeal flour.
Lunch: endive and walnut salad/Oven pumpkin chicken/Comté with a few grapes.
Dinner: cauliflower vinaigrette and kimchi / lentil dahl with basmati rice / baked apple with cinnamon
Banana and wholemeal flour pancake. For 4 to 6 people
Mash 4 bananas with a fork in a salad bowl, whisk in 4 eggs. Mix 100 g of wholemeal flour, 60 g of hazelnut powder and 1 sachet of yeast. Add to the banana and egg mixture. Heat a non-stick pan, pour in small spoonfuls of batter and cook the pancakes for 1 to 2 minutes on each side until they start to brown.
Baked pumpkin chicken: serves 4 to 6 people.
Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of turmeric and 1 tablespoon of thyme, brush a free-range chicken with it and slip inside ½ lemon cut into slices and 2 peeled garlic cloves . Place the chicken in a baking dish. Peel and remove the seeds from 2 pumpkins, cut them into pieces and add them around the chicken. Sprinkle with a glass of water, season. Cook for 1 hour 15 minutes in the oven preheated to 210°
*Alcohol abuse is dangerous for health. To consume with moderation.
About Anne Manteau
Your well-being is at the heart of its support while respecting your body, your morale and your social life. “My ambition is to help you (re)discover the pleasure of eating, through attentive listening throughout your follow-up. » More info: https://www.anne-manteau-dieteticienne.fr/