When we’re sick, we often rely on medication to make us feel better, forgetting that our food can also be a great help and a source of healing nutrients. Dr Emilie Berthet Clairet of Holistic Nutrition HK shares her top tips for keeping your body fit and healthy to help fight infection.
Fresh fruits are the best source of Vitamin C
Lemons, oranges, guavas, blackcurrants, strawberries, kiwis, papayas and also persimmons are packed in vitamins especially vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for some immune cells to function and defend themselves. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps our body fight against infection and is the only vitamin that can help prevent illnesses. You can take it as a supplement, but fresh fruits are more natural and better absorbed with no risk of toxicity.
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Whole grains are rich in Vitamin B, zinc and fibres
Vitamins B6, B12 and zinc are essential to energy reactions in our body and help fight infections. Whole grains are one of the best sources of these nutrients. Whole grain is a grain that hasn’t been processed. Processed grain is white and loses its bran and nutritional qualities. When you can, add whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta and brown rice into your diet.
Nuts, seeds and avocados are rich in Vitamin E
Containing powerful antioxidants like omega 3 and vitamin E, nuts, seeds and avocado help our body to cope with the stress of an infection. Avocado is perfect in salads or even at breakfast on toast, while nuts are one of the best snacks you can have when you are hungry in the middle of the day.
Fermented foods are a source of probiotics
Our intestinal flora or gut is referred to as the second brain and is essential to our health, in particular for our immune system. Probiotics are good bacteria similar to the ones living in our gut. While we can take probiotics as a supplement, the probiotics coming from food such as kimchi, tempeh, kefir, yogurt and sauerkraut are more natural and a great help to repopulate our gut with a healthy stream of germs.
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Leafy greens and vegetables are rich in fibres
Green vegetables are packed with fibre, essential to strengthen your gut and immune system. Kale is considered the most nutritious food per calorie, meaning that it has the most nutrients and the least calories. Spinach and broccoli are also recommended for fighting against infections, preventing cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Sugar has a negative effect on our immune system. A high level of sugar in the blood, called hyperglycaemia, impairs many immune cells in their function and is the main reason why diabetes patients are more sensitive to infections. While battling an infection or to protect ourselves from catching it, it is essential to avoid sodas, dessert and sweets. Foods rich in vitamin B, C, zinc and magnesium are the best way to keep our immune cells strong and ready for the fight. Incorporating these foods in our diet can help us prevent infection and not getting sick