In winter, the immune system weakens, adults and especially children become susceptible to diseases. When there is an infection in the body, food intake also decreases due to anorexia. It is necessary to take care of a balanced and adequate diet to reduce the risk of getting flu and colds and to recover quickly after getting sick.
Energy intake should be higher in infectious diseases
In general, the energy requirement of the body increases in infectious diseases. Because fever is a common finding in these diseases. A 1-degree increase in body temperature causes an increase of 10-12% in basal metabolic rate. Therefore, energy intake should be slightly higher than normal. However, it should not be forgotten that excessive nutrition also increases the respiratory load. To meet the energy needs; A nutrition program rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals should be applied. Water consumption is 2.5-3 lt due to possible fluid loss. should be around. Vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that will support the immune system, especially in upper respiratory tract infections, are:
Vitamin C: It is one of the best antioxidant vitamins. If vitamin C is taken from foods rather than in vitamin form, photochemical substances in these foods are also used. Thus, the warrior cells in the body become stronger. Foods containing vitamin C such as tomatoes, fresh peppers, arugula, parsley, tangerine, grapefruit, orange, pomegranate, rosehip, and kiwi should be consumed during the day.
Zinc and selenium Are important minerals for the immune system. Selenium; is found in seafood, meat, onions, and garlic. Zinc, especially pumpkin seeds; is found in oilseeds such as raw hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, turkey meat, lamb, asparagus, and mushrooms. These minerals have a high antioxidant effect and strengthen the body’s cells that fight against toxins.
Omega 3 fatty acids: These are the most valuable oils. It is an indispensable nutrient for immunity, the brain and nervous system, psychology, and cardiovascular health. With the start of the fish season, fish should be eaten 2 days a week. Apart from omega-3, fish also contains essential amino acids that the body cannot produce, which are essential for cell renewal and aging. It contains Omega 3 in oily seeds such as raw hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds.
Beta-carotene: It is found in yellow-orange plants and is among the most powerful antioxidants. Pumpkin, carrot, pineapple, date, and apricots are vegetables and fruits that contain the most beta-carotene.
Quercetin; is a pigment found in the peels of foods such as citrus fruits, apples, red grapes, onions, strawberries, mulberries, blackberries, and red onions. It has a protective effect against cancer and heart diseases. It is important for the immune system and skin health and is a powerful antioxidant.
Prebiotic foods, intestinal health affects the whole body. The more probiotic bacteria there are in the intestines, the stronger the metabolism. To increase these bacteria should consume prebiotic foods. Kefir and probiotic yogurt are foods rich in these bacteria. Also, beets, bananas, leeks, artichokes, garlic, and onions increase these bacteria. It is a very useful food that contains sulfur compounds as well as vitamins A, B1, and C in garlic. These ingredients show antibiotic, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal effects by strengthening immunity and protecting cells. To benefit from these effects of garlic, it should be consumed not as a whole, but by chewing and crushing.
Ginger: With its sharp taste and aroma, it opens the respiratory tract, regulates digestion, detoxifying, gas-removing, and antiseptic properties. It can be used in soups, fresh vegetable dishes, and salads.
Turmeric (Curcumin): It is stated that the anti-inflammatory effect of turmeric is caused by curcumin as a result of extensive research. Curcumin regulates enzymes associated with inflammation. Inflammation functioning; It is known to play a role in many chronic diseases such as the brain, cardiovascular, lung, metabolic, and autoimmune diseases.
Cardamom: It is effective against bacteria and viruses. It is useful in relieving the complaints of cold, bronchitis, cough, high fever. It supports the immune system. It helps to develop resistance in people who often suffer from infectious diseases. It is effective in mouth and throat inflammation.
Echinacea: It has a protective and therapeutic effect against upper respiratory tract infections. It supports the activity of the immune system. According to recent studies, echinacea products prevent the damage caused by inflammation in the throat and lungs by killing viruses such as colds and herpes virus and controlling the number of inflammatory agents caused by viruses.
Ginseng: Increases body resistance in situations such as fatigue and exhaustion. It regulates and supports the immune system. Blood thinners, regulating blood pressure and blood sugar, balancing the nervous system have been scientifically demonstrated. When used after meals in people who do not have diabetes, it prevents the increase of blood sugar. Ginseng is a valuable and effective herb. For this reason, there are many low-quality or counterfeit products on the market. To be effective, reliable sourced products must be purchased.
Oolong and rooibos tea: When the tea is brewed properly and consumed in the appropriate amount, it has an antioxidant effect, and the phenolic components in it have a protective effect against chronic diseases. Oolong tea has a much more antioxidant effect because it is a combination of black tea and green tea. Rooibus tea is also high in antioxidants and can be used safely for children. Oolong tea contains caffeine, but rooibos tea does not contain caffeine.
White tea: The tea leaves collected for white tea are less oxidized during processing, so they contain more antioxidants than green tea. The benefits of green tea and white tea are roughly the same, but the antioxidant capacity of white tea is higher. The catechin found in white tea prevents free radicals in the body and protects against cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic inflammation, and cancer. That’s why; You can contribute to your immune system by consuming 1-2 cups of white tea a day.