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Food for infections and immunity
 
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Foods to fight infection

To keep energy levels up and infections at bay, you need to fill up on... antioxidants! Vitamins A, E and C, beat-carotene and zinc, which are all found in daily food items, play a role in immunity and form the basis for immune defence. Without them, you’re lost! Some have a particularly significant role...

Foods to fight infection
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The winter days are short and temperatures are low... with the onset of winter comes aches and pains, colds, coughs and flu. To stop infections in their tracks and boost your immune system, make the right food choices… Here’s a little guide to anti-infection foods...

Probiotics, an ally for your intestines

Probiotics are living organisms found in milk and fermented yoghurts. They are extremely high in number, with more than 400 different bacteria species inventoried including the most commonly known lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. They protect us from intestinal infections, help digestion and influence our immune systems. Probiotics help to prevent and reduce the duration of gastroenteritis in particular.

While the role of probiotics in the prevention and treatment of diarrhoea is 100% proven for adults, it is however known that these enzymes help to restore intestinal flora, affected by antibiotic treatments for example.

The correct functioning of the immune system depends on intestinal flora balance. Many studies on this subject are currently underway; the European Union is financing the “Proeuhealth’ project which looks to more precisely determine the role of probiotic bacteria in our wellbeing. While awaiting publication of the results, it is recommended to eat at least 3 dairy products a day...

Read more in our All about probiotics dossier.

Vitamin C: first-aid for the body

This star vitamin gives energy and boosts the body’s defences. Originally famous for treating scabies, it is celebrated today for its anti-free radicals properties. It’s the “emergency services” of antioxidants, the one which takes effect the fastest. Regular intake of Vitamin C as soon as first cold symptoms appear can stop infection or at least reduce duration and severity.

Recommended intake: 60 mg a day (1 orange), 1 g for smokers.

Sources of Vitamin C (content for 100g)

Kiwi (94 mg)

Cabbage (60 mg)

Citrus fruits (50 to 80 mg)

Parsley (200 mg)

Strawberries (64 mg)

Peppers (160 mg)

Litchis (65 mg)

Sorrel (45 mg)

Broccoli (55 mg)

Spinach (45 mg)

Beta-carotene and Vitamin A: going strong!

Known as the vitamin for eyes and skin, Vitamin A is essential for good functioning of the immune system. Lack of Vitamin A depresses the body’s defences, therefore making it sensitive to infection.

Recommended intake: 800 to 1,000mg of Vitamin A per day, of which 60% in beta-carotene form (100g of raw carrots).

Sources of beta-carotene (content for 100g)

Carrots (10,000 µg)

Tomatoes (600 µg)

Spinach (6,000 µg)

Apricots (1,500 µg)

Melon (2,000 µg)

Broccoli (2,500 µg)

Sources of Vitamin A (content for 100g)

Liver (23,500 µg)

Butter (708 µg)

Egg yolk (570 µg)

 

The importance of zinc

Long unappreciated, zinc is one of the oligo-elements that researchers around the world are currently focusing their work on. Found in over two hundred chemical reactions (especially those necessary for protein synthesis), zinc works on growth, breathing, the endocrine system, immunity, inflammation, scarring, reproduction and sexuality... Zinc deficiencies lead to higher sensitivity to infection.

Recommended intake: 15mg a day, so that would be less than one oyster a day!

Sources of Zinc (content for 100g)

Oysters (80 mg)

Wholemeal bread (1 to 2 mg)

Meat, particularly beef (1 to 10 mg)

Green vegetables (1 mg)

Lentils (2 mg)

White beans (1 mg)

Posted 07.03.2011

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