Fighting constantly to protect us against disease-causing microbes and viruses that infiltrate the body, our immune system may sometimes get weak due to certain factors and some diseases may therefore be experienced severely or recurrently.
Anadolu Medical Center Nutritionist and Dietician Tuba Örnek has indicated that lifestyle plays a major role in strengthening the immune system: “Factors that suppress and weaken the immune system, wrong dietary habits, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, sleep irregularities and stress all play an important role. If these factors persist, immune-boosting supplements will not work properly. Right supplements for the right people, as well as structured lifestyle changes for a healthier lifestyle will add to your immune strength.”
Nutritionist and Dietician Tuba Örnek has also touched upon the importance of keeping our immune systems strong, especially at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is upon us. Here are some of her recommendations to make our immune systems stronger:
The importance of a diverse diet
Immune-boosting diet starts first of all with a well-balanced diet. We must eat sufficiently from the four main food groups. These are: milk and dairy, meat, fruit and vegetables and grains. There are certain foods among these groups that are highly successful in terms of tackling infections. Especially fruit and vegetables of color are rich in antioxidants and fiber. Onion, garlic, cabbage, radish, broccoli, pomegranate, orange and avocado as well as other fruit and vegetables should be staples in your diet. Fruit and vegetables also add strength to your defense system thanks to the fact that they help probiotics (good bacteria in our guts) proliferate. In order to increase the number of our probiotics we should benefit from fermented products such as yoghurt, kefir, pickles, and vinegar. You can also use probiotic/prebiotic supplements if your doctor and dietician deems appropriate.
Be mindful of your sugar and carbohydrate intake
We don’t need foods made with simple sugar and sugar as carbs, and these suppress our immune systems. Therefore we should go for complex carbohydrates such as unrefined, whole grains. Whole wheat bread, oats and bulgur should all be staples in your diet.
Our protein intake should be at a sufficient level
Antibodies secreted by the immune system are of protein nature. You must keep your protein intake at a sufficient level. Meat, chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, dairy and legumes are all rich in proteins. Zinc found in this group also helps increase our overall resistance.
We should consume three portions of fish a week
Omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in strengthening our immune system. Fish as well as purslane and walnuts are rich in Omega 3. You should opt for grilled or oven-baked fish. We recommend three portions a week. If you cannot consume enough fish you can take fish oil tablets in line with your doctor or dietician’s recommendations.
Turmeric activates the immune system
Turmeric is one of the most widely studied plants recently. We know that it activates the immune system. You can use it as a spice along with black pepper in soups. You can also benefit from sugar-free lozenges that include turmeric and ginger.
Oily seeds must be added to the nutrition regimen
Oily seeds such as walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds are rich in Vitamin E, vegetable oil acids and several other minerals. As for oils, olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil are strong antioxidants.
Do not neglect Vitamin D
Make sure you benefit from sunlight in order to increase your vitamin D levels. Consult your doctor and take supplements in needed.
Drink plenty of water
Drinking plenty of water is an effective way to get rid of toxins in the body and also to reinvigorate the metabolism.
Sample recipe: herbal tea to boost your body’s resistance
Here’s a simple recipe to give your body resistance a boost: green tea + sage + 1 teaspoon of natural honey. Mix and have two cups a day. Linden, fennel, ginger and rose hip teas are also recommended.
Sample recipe: Antioxidant salad
Boiled chickpeas/mung beans