Which foods stimulate the production of white blood cells

Nutrients for the immune system

Our immune defense is a finely balanced system to ward off harmful bacteria and viruses. If the immune response is too weak, we are easy prey for all kinds of pathogens. On the other hand, if the immune response is too high, we run the risk of developing autoimmune diseases such as B. to develop rhinitis or type 1 diabetes mellitus. That is why it is a myth that one can "strengthen" one's immune system. However, one thing is clear: through a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, we can support our immune system to function optimally. Certain vitamins and minerals are relevant in supporting the natural defenses. These mainly include vitamins A, C and D, but also folate, iron, selenium and zinc.

Protection through vitamins

Vitamin A is found in orange and red vegetables, dairy products, and oil-rich fish. It is assumed that the immune defense is supported by promoting the health of the skin and intestines, as these act as protective barriers against invading pathogens. Vitamin A is also used by important immune cells in the body. Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is found in citrus fruits, fruit juices, tomatoes, peppers, kiwis, strawberries and broccoli. Just like vitamin A, it supports the protective barrier of skin and intestines and also promotes the growth and function of important immune cells. Vitamin C stimulates white blood cells to migrate to sources of infection to fight bacteria and viruses - interestingly, the vitamin C level in white blood cells is ten to 100 times higher than in plasma. During recovery, vitamin C reduces inflammation and acts as an antioxidant to neutralize substances that cause cell damage. Many people are deficient in vitamin D, a nutrient that is formed in the body in response to sunlight, but also through the consumption of foods such as eggs, oily fish and mushrooms. Vitamin D receptors are present throughout the immune system, and the nutrient specifically supports the work of the T cells that control the immune system. Vitamin D also has an anti-inflammatory effect. Folate, the natural form of folic acid, is found in leafy green vegetables, orange juice, and fortified breakfast cereals. Its role in immune defense is to encourage optimal activity of immune cells through the correct activation of their DNA. Folate also helps make proteins, which in turn are used to make useful cells.

Control by minerals

Iron is relevant for the innate immune defense. This is the immune defense that we are all born with and that acts as the front line against bacteria and viruses. Low levels of iron in the blood can increase the risk of infection. Iron is found in red meat, leafy green vegetables, beans, and legumes. Zinc is probably the most important mineral for the immune system. It helps control different types of immune cells and stimulates the body's immune response to viruses. It is also an antioxidant that helps protect the body from cell damage during an infection and subsequent recovery. Fish, shellfish and nuts are particularly rich in zinc. Selenium is found in pork, turkey, and chicken, as well as fish and eggs. Brazil nuts are an extremely rich source of this mineral. Selenium helps coordinate the actions of T cells and natural killer cells that fight viruses effectively. It also acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

Gut feeling

An essential protective barrier against viruses and other pathogens is the intestine, which is why it is important to keep the digestive tract healthy and functional. About half a kilo of the human body weight is made up of the bacteria that live in the large intestine. Many of them are so-called "friendly bacteria", which are involved in the defense against pathogens. These friendly bacteria can multiply through certain foods and plant substances, e.g. B. through whole grain products, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, beans and legumes. Interestingly, certain fruits and their juices contain polyphenols, natural plant substances that are beneficial for friendly bacteria. Studies show that citrus fruits and orange juice contain polyphenols called hesperidin and narirutin, which restore the balance of gut bacteria in favor of beneficial species. The best tips to support the immune system

  1. Consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, including a glass of 100% fruit juice.

  2. Consume more fiber by consuming more whole grains, nuts, and beans and legumes.

  3. Get enough restful sleep and do at least half an hour of moderate physical activity every day.

  4. Consider taking a vitamin D supplement every day.

  5. Eat fish twice a week, including a serving of oil-rich fish, such as B. salmon, trout, mackerel or sardines.

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