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Strengthening the body's defenses: which foods help you get through the winter in a healthy way
Especially in the cold season, it is important to strengthen the immune system. A healthy and balanced diet is particularly important. Experts explain which foods are the best way to strengthen the immune system and thus prevent infections.
How to protect yourself from the common cold
Especially in winter there is a risk of catching colds. The next flu phase is just around the corner. To protect yourself from such infections, you should keep away from infected people, exercise regularly in the fresh air and wash your hands frequently. A balanced diet is also important.
Three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit daily
While many people use dietary supplements to protect themselves from infections, health experts say it is much more sensible to use food to strengthen the body's defenses. Vitamin C is particularly important for this. Among other things, peppers are considered ideal vitamin C donors.
But many other types of fruit and vegetables also contain a lot of the vitamin important for the body. In a message from the dpa news agency, experts explain which foods are particularly suitable for getting through the winter in a healthy way.
It is recommended to eat three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit daily, as well as juices and smoothies made from them. Because they are among the best vitamin C suppliers, as Antje Gahl from the German Nutrition Society (DGE) in Bonn says.
Broccoli strengthens the immune system
Broccoli is recommended. The green vegetables are very rich in vitamins and strengthen our immune system. "When consumed raw, 100 grams of broccoli already cover the daily requirement of 100 milligrams of vitamin C for an adult," explains Gabriele Graf from the NRW consumer center in Düsseldorf.
Broccoli also contains some B vitamins as well as iron and other minerals such as potassium, calcium and zinc. Graf recommends only eating the florets raw and cooking the stems, as these are more difficult to digest.
Kale, Brussels sprouts and lamb's lettuce are also good for the vitamin C intake in winter.
Oranges with a lot of vitamin C.
Margret Morlo from the Association for Nutrition and Dietetics explains in the dpa report: "Almost identical amounts of vitamin C are contained in orange and orange juice." Even a 200 milliliter glass of orange juice covers the daily need for vitamin C.
"But you don't have to drink juice every day," said Graf. According to the consumer advocate, it is better to rely on balance and variety: "Vitamin C is also found in peppers and parsley, for example."
However, too much does not necessarily work: It has not been scientifically proven whether the intake of vitamin C can help prevent colds beyond the recommended daily dose.
Delicious chicory salad in winter
Salads from the chicory group are also ideal in winter. In addition to vitamin C, chicory also contains minerals and inulin, a soluble fiber that plays a role in preventing bowel diseases.
Chicory is also a supplier of carotene. "Beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E are so-called antioxidant vitamins that protect the body against free radicals and can thus strengthen the immune system," says Gahl. The winter vegetables are also very low in calories at 17 kilocalories per 100 grams.
Garlic for colds
Garlic also helps against colds. The tuber contains health-promoting, bioactive substances such as allicin, a substance that traps free radicals and ensures that cell membranes in the body are not damaged. "It was found that allicin, if the clove of garlic was squeezed beforehand, lasted longer when cooked than if whole cloves of garlic were added," explains Gahl.
An apple alone is not enough
Apples are one of the most recommendable types of fruit. They fill you up, stimulate digestion, contain 12 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams and minerals such as potassium, which has a central role in nerve and muscle metabolism. “One apple a day is good, but it doesn't ensure healthy eating,” says Morlo. In addition to the apple, four more servings of fruit and vegetables should be consumed every day.
Almonds protect against infections
Almonds are also used to protect against infections. They contain "valuable fats, vitamins and minerals," says Morlo. Almonds are rich in vitamins B2 and E. They also contain many calories - around 600 calories per 100 grams. Therefore, they should only be consumed in small quantities. "As part of" five a day ", a portion of fruit can be replaced by 25 grams of nuts or almonds," explains Gahl.
Dietary supplements do not help
It is probably useless to take vitamin C and zinc as a dietary supplement against cold viruses. "The effectiveness of such preparations to prevent or cure infections has not been scientifically proven," emphasizes Gahl.
It should be ensured that the daily diet is varied and balanced. It is not important to consume fruits imported from overseas in winter. "The longer the fruit is until it is consumed - and this sometimes does not stop at the long journeys - the lower the vitamin content," explains Morlo. (ad)