With the arrival of the winter season, the typical ailments also arrive: colds, sore throats, joint pains, flu … Our immune defenses do not decrease with the cold, but we get sick more easily in winter as the chances of contagion increase in closed, heated and often poorly ventilated environments such as schools, offices, pubs and meeting places. Here are some tips for proper nutrition to avoid getting sick in winter.
How not to get sick in winter: We protect our body
Prevention is very important to better face and overcome the cold season, especially for the elderly and children. The food we consume can be a valuable ally in keeping our immune system efficient. However, it is good to remember that a correct diet must be maintained throughout the year, and not just as a diet to avoid getting sick in winter. It must be as varied as possible and must be an integral part of a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and smoking cessation.
How not to get sick in winter: the right diet to avoid getting sick
If the diet is varied and balanced, it provides our body with all the nutrients it needs. Some substances, in particular, are able to increase the body’s defenses and can be useful in preventing and fighting winter diseases:
- Vitamin A, Vitamin E: these are fat-soluble vitamins, antioxidants and strengthen the immune system;
- Vitamin C : is a water-soluble vitamin, easily perishable because it is photosensitive and thermosensitive. It is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and increases the immune system. Promotes the absorption of iron which, in turn, is essential for the defense system of our body;
- Zinc : it is a mineral salt, able to stimulate the production of antibodies;
- Selenium : it is an antioxidant mineral salt, it protects cell membranes and improves the production of antibodies by strengthening the defense system, especially if associated with vitamin E;
- Fatty acids of the Omega series (3, 6, 9) : contribute to proper circulation, improve brain functions and promote the proper functioning of the immune system.
What are the tips on proper nutrition to avoid getting sick?
Some foods, due to their richness in protective nutrients, should always be present in the diet during the cold season.
- It is important to consume 5 portions of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables daily , to ensure an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals. Among the fruits, citrus fruits and kiwis are particularly suitable, consumed immediately after having peeled or squeezed them, so as not to lose their vitamin C content. Among the vegetables, preferably choose broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, parsley, spinach and leafy vegetables dark green. It is recommended to use lemon juice to season vegetables and other dishes, to improve the absorption of the iron contained in food, which is also useful for strengthening the defenses especially against colds, coughs and sore throats;
- To dress dry first courses, prefer vegetable-based sauces ;
- Consume soups, broths, vegetable creams which, when hot, can have a fluidifying effect on the upper airways;
- As main courses, alternate the consumption of fish, legumes and cheeses and eggs with that of meat , to ensure adequate supplies of essential fatty acids, such as zinc and selenium;
- In the preparation of the dishes, use abundantly aromatic herbs (rosemary, bay leaves, basil …) and spices (chilli, paprika, turmeric, ginger …), precious sources of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances;
- For dressing, use moderate amounts of extra virgin olive oil or sunflower or corn oil , good sources of vitamin E;
- Maintain good daily hydration , not only with an adequate intake of water (equal to 8-10 glasses a day), but also with infusions, teas and herbal teas.
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