The cold and flu season is already underway. On the one hand, the red, dripping noses are already taking up many places in the ÖV’S again! On the other hand, every week a different work chair remains free due to the flu.
Those affected are then in the pharmacies in search of the golden grail of recovery. The queue at the checkout is getting longer and longer and the pharmacy showcases are overflowing with magic remedies such as Neocitran, Pretuval and Vicks Medinait.
Hippocrates once said “Your food shall be your remedies, and your remedies shall be your food”. This statement already suggests that the immune system can be influenced both positively and negatively by food selection.
But how do you influence it positively?
The immune system is highly complex and serves to detect and combat foreign bodies and diseased body cells. In order to be able to count on a strong immune system during the colder months of the year, some points need to be taken into account.
Vitamins and antioxidants are usually mentioned in connection with nutrition. However, the main components of the immune system are protein components, the amino acids. Independent of the micronutrients, the immune system is weakened if there is an increased protein breakdown!
Possible reasons for this are:
– A permanent calorie deficit
– High everyday stress or very high physical strain as well as an insufficient intake of carbohydrates at the same time
In both cases, the body then uses the important amino acids (e.g. L-glutamine) for energy production by means of carbohydrate formation (gluconeogenesis) (1). First and foremost, it is therefore important to ensure a balanced and needs-based diet. If the amount of energy is right, the immune system is additionally supported with the right micronutrients.
A Vitamins keep skin and mucous membranes elastic, so that viruses and bacteria can penetrate worse. The vitamins from the B complex support the supply of energy and vitamin D ensures the release of the body’s own defensive substances.
Suppliers: Carrots, spinach, kale, avocados, bananas and rice.
Vitamin C is the virus killer par excellence, it supports the development of antibodies. It also has an antioxidant effect. Antioxidants bind free radicals, which attack the sensitive cell walls inside. The most important antioxidants also include vitamin E, souls, zinc, beta-carotene and glutathione.
Suppliers: Citrus fruits, kiwi, berries, carrots, spinach, fennel, broccoli, olive oil, oat flakes, nuts.
Since plant foods typically contain higher amounts of carbohydrates (2) and antioxidants (3) than mixed foods, the vegan diet can be described as the optimal medicine against influenza, provided that the calorie requirement is met!
Special attention should be paid to this:
– Increase the carbohydrate content during high physical or psychological stress
– During a diet, the deficit should not be greater than 300 calories.
– Consume vegetables or fruit five times a day (as varied and colourful as possible).
– Sufficient sleep (7-8 hours per night) and avoiding stress
– Regular moderate outdoor exercise (sunlight)
– consume 2-3 litres of water or tea per day
– Sauna and Hardening
- Löffler, G. (2014). Integration und hormonelle Regulation des Energiestoffwechsels. In P. C. Heinrich, M. Müller & L. Graeve (Hrsg.), Biochemie und Pathobiochemie (9. Aufl., S. 466-482). Heidelberg: Springer.
- Calkins, B., Whittaker, D., Nair, P., Rider, A., & Turjman, N. (1984). Diet, nutrition intake, and metabolism in populations at high and low risk for colon cancer. Nutrient intake. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 40, 896-905.
- Rauma, A.-L., & Mykkänen, H. (2000). Antioxidant status in vegetarians versus omnivores. Nutrition, 16(2), 111-119.