Superfoods and the immune system: which ones strengthened health the most in a pandemic

If the global health emergency taught anything, it was the importance of a healthy and varied diet in preventing diseases. On World Food Day, specialists highlighted which are the nutrients that cannot be missing

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Broccoli has compounds that can stimulate the production of antioxidants (Getty)

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted something that everyone knew but few took into account: leading a healthy lifestyle is directly proportional to being in good health. Or at least it will increase the chances that this is the case because of course there are genetic and even environmental conditions that can hardly be modified.

The truth is that -welcome it- More than one focused on reviewing the way they were fed, with the aim of strengthening the immune system to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

And so many learned, for example, of the existence of superfoods that help and enhance the body’s natural defenses.

“The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a lot of curiosity around certain ‘savior’ foods. The truth is that it is more complex and there are no foods with such capacity, that only with their intake they can cause miraculous changes since we are complex beings and what will contribute to protection against diseases and recovery against infections is an adequate integral nutritional state”. The nutritionist doctor Virginia Busnelli (MN 110351) began to explain that “Carrying out good nutrition, with a sufficient supply of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, reduces the probability of getting sick.”

” The quality of the microbiota is related to the immune system and, at the same time, it communicates with our brain, participating in our food choices and quality of life,” said the director of the Crenyf Center for Endocrinology and Nutrition. A dysregulation in it can cause alterations or a greater susceptibility when facing a virus. There are foods that are going to help the stability or possible improvement of our intestinal microbiome ”.

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“Carrying Out Good Nutrition, With A Sufficient Supply Of Nutrients, Including Vitamins And Minerals, Reduces The Probability Of Getting Sick” (Efe)

For her, if the diet is abundant in ultra-processed foods and lacks fiber, that person will probably have a depleted microbiota. And to avoid that he gave a series of tips, in the framework of World Food Day.

– Incorporate fruits both in the snack and in the breakfast. The fruit should have a leading role in the diet.

– Prioritize that vegetables abound in the lunch and dinner plates.

– Analyze purchases. A good exercise is to look at what ultra-processed foods could be modified for some homemade ones.

– Increase the consumption of whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts, foods full of fiber, a substrate for intestinal bacteria, and numerous vitamins and minerals that enhance our immune system.

And after ensuring that “although the above advice is extremely necessary for a balance in health”, Busnelli highlighted: “When that is already established, you can go one step further and pay more attention to the incorporation of certain foods that can collaborate with the strengthening our immune system ”.

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Specialists Agree In Recommending Prioritizing That Vegetables Abound In Lunch And Dinner Dishes (Getty)

At this point, the graduate in Nutrition Alexa Gómez, head of residents of the Department of Food and Dietetics of the Hospital de Clínicas, said that “fashionable foods are constantly emerging, and this phenomenon can be due to cultural beliefs, new scientific findings of benefits for health or as a result of the marketing of the food industry ”. “One of these groups is superfoods, whose term was coined by the physician Steven Pratt, author of numerous books on this subject,” he noted. The connotation of the word super suggests that they stand out from other foods ”.

According to the specialist, “some of the foods studied as ‘super foods’ are: blueberries, goji berries, strawberries, chili peppers, garlic, ginger, chia, flax, quinoa, cocoa, maca, spirulina, wheatgrass, acai and pollen among others. However, when scientific studies that address this issue are analyzed, it can be quickly identified that many healthy foods such as other fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, etc. they are left out of the so-called superfoods ”.

Another point to take into account is that some of the foods mentioned are not commonly consumed in our population, they are not produced locally and therefore have high prices, as Gómez added.

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“For The Immune System To Function Properly, A Balanced And Balanced Diet Is Needed, With A Great Predominance Of Little Processed Natural Foods” (Getty)

In Busnelli’s opinion, some of those that cannot be missed in the daily diet are:

– Turmeric: this ancient root has a component called curcumin, it has great anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial properties, which makes it an exceptional ingredient for our immune system. To promote the action of curcumin, it is necessary to accompany its consumption with black pepper.

– Garlic: studies show us that this essential household ingredient can reduce the frequency of respiratory infections. To take full advantage of its properties, it is advisable to consume it raw.

– Blueberries: This fruit has an enormous functional capacity. The star components that allow blueberries to be so beneficial are anthocyanins, which can act as antioxidants and immunomodulators. On the other hand, it is a fruit rich in vitamins such as A, B, C, E, and K, which are protagonists in the immune system.

– Broccoli: the consumption of all vegetables is essential for our health. Specifically, broccoli has compounds that can stimulate the production of antioxidants. Here we can include others like kale and cauliflower.

– Citrus: these foods are very rich in vitamin C, which strengthens the immune responses that the body generates to protect itself from pathogens. Do not miss oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and lemons in the refrigerator.

“There Is No Magic Food But The Sum Of Healthy Eating Habits Can Help Us Maintain Health And Prevent The Onset Or Progression Of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases Such As Overweight, Obesity, Diabetes And High Blood Pressure”

“The first thing to keep in mind is that although some of these foods can add flavor to preparations such as bitter cocoa powder and garlic. Vitamins and minerals such as blueberries, goji ground, spirulina, and strawberries. Fiber like quinoa, chia, and flax. It does not mean that we cannot replace these foods with other local, accessible products whose consumption is familiar to us, ”Gómez said. A review of the available literature by van den Driessche concludes that, although there are multiple studies that seek to link the consumption of superfoods with the prevention of metabolic syndrome, information is still lacking to establish this relationship. There is no magic food but the sum of healthy eating habits can help us maintain health and prevent the onset or progression of chronic non-communicable diseases such as for overweight, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure”.

Along the same lines, Busnelli stressed that “For the immune system to function properly, a balanced and balanced diet is needed, with a great predominance of little processed natural foods, since in this way the necessary nutrients are provided to protect against infections and diseases”.

A plus: where are the vitamins

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The Covid-19 Pandemic Highlighted The Importance Of Leading A Healthy Lifestyle (Getty)

Vitamin A and D: in egg yolk, milk and liver, and in cheeses, whole yogurts, or that have been fortified (these are also beneficial for the microbiota that prevents infections caused by viruses or bacteria), in kidneys and in meats of all kinds, orange or dark green vegetables (vitamin A), fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel, and sardines (vitamin D).

Vitamin B complex: B12 is found in meat products, B1 in whole grains (oats, rye, or brown rice).

Vitamin C: it is in the orange, grapefruit, tangerine, kiwi, strawberry, and kumquat, and also in peppers, parsley, white and red cabbage, and in broccoli.

Iron and zinc: present in red meat, liver, chicken, pork, legumes (lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas), nuts, and whole grains. The preparation of the meats can be alternated (stews, baked, roasted, grilled, in hamburgers, baked milanesas, cakes).

Fermented foods: such as yogurts, and those that contain probiotics, provide beneficial microorganisms for the microbiota and immunity.


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