Saarbrücken – What we eat and drink affects our immune cells. Even a slight micronutrient deficiency can weaken the effectiveness of our immune system, says nutritionist Christina Esser. But what vitamins and minerals can be used to boost it?
With zinc, for example, is the answer. According to Esser, zinc has an antioxidant character, so it intercepts harmful molecules in the body. “It protects us from disease and boosts our immune system.” It also has a positive effect on the maturation and number of certain immune cells.
The Secret to Chicken Soup
Foods containing zinc are, for example, meat, seafood and whole grain products, lists the professor from the German University for Prevention and Health Management in Saarbrücken. “By the way, zinc is one of the reasons good old chicken soup is such a treat when you have a cold.”
Vitamin C may already be outdated as an immune booster, but that doesn’t make it any less important. “It also has an antioxidant effect, and by activating the scavenger cells of our immune system, it improves disease resistance,” says Esser. Bell peppers, rose hips, berries, citrus fruits and Brussels sprouts could score points with lots of vitamin C.
Chili peppers and iron
According to the expert, iron is also important for our body’s defense mechanisms. A deficiency can lead to a decrease in the number of immune cells and antibodies. Iron of animal origin is better absorbed by the body.
“We need to give some plant-based iron help,” says Esser. It is best absorbed in combination with vitamin C, for example from a chili pepper. Iron-rich foods include meat, fish, whole grains, and legumes.
According to Esser, vitamin D, selenium, vitamin A, phytochemicals, protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids are also important for the body’s defenses due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. . This prepares you for infections. Because the body becomes more resistant through a healthy diet and can better fight off viruses.