We know that anyone with high defenses is a healthier person, but why: What are defenses? The immune system is in charge of protecting the body from any virus, bacteria, or harmful factor that wants to damage it, and for this, it has the defenses: white blood cells and antibodies that are not only capable of recognizing antigens and destroying them, but also have the power to detect them if they tried to make us sick again. Therefore, the defenses are those blood cells that make our body stay healthy. For this reason, it is so important to keep them at the appropriate levels. a
However, when a virus or bacterium takes advantage of the fact that we are discouraged or have not fed well enough and manages to compromise our health, our defenses go down. Our immune system cannot work as effectively to fight the disease, and that is when we need the help of medicines. During and after any condition that compromises our defenses, it is necessary to help our body recover, and a very effective way to achieve this is through diet. For this reason, in this FastlyHealarticle, you will be able to find out which foods increase defense.
Why do I have low defenses?
The bone marrow produces the different blood cells that make up the blood and that travel through the body to carry out certain functions. Among these cells are white blood cells responsible for recognizing and destroying any antigen that wants to affect the body (bacteria or viruses). The concentration of white blood cells is expected when the values of these cells in the blood range between 4,000 and 10,000 leukocytes; an amount lower than these levels represents a decrease in defenses, and a much higher amount can be a sign of infection.
The leading causes why a person has low defenses are:
- Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.
- Flu or phlegm.
- Diseases such as malaria and measles.
- Some types of anemia.
- Liver disease.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency.
- HIV medications.
When defenses are low, it is essential to know the cause and take actions to optimize the functioning of the immune system. At this point, food plays a significant role since, through food, we obtain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that stimulate the production of white blood cells and thus allow us to increase our defenses.
Foods rich in vitamin C
Vitamin C is famous for its antioxidant action that helps prevent and heal colds and flu while strengthening the immune system. In addition, its antioxidant activity allows reversing the damage caused by free radicals in the body’s cells, helping to prevent some types of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin C helps lower cholesterol levels by preventing the arteries from narrowing due to excessive plaque accumulation. Its antihistamine power helps the body fight viruses and bacteria.
Many foods rich in vitamin C contain ascorbic acid that the body does not produce. Among the best we can mention:
- Guava: 280 mg per 100 grams.
- Black currant: 200 mg per 100 grams
- Red paprika: 190 mg per 100 grams.
- The chili: 144 mg per 100 grams.
- Parsley: 120 mg per 100 grams.
An excellent alternative to offering your body a vitamin C shake is to prepare juices with foods rich in this nutrient. Here at FastlyHeal, we recommend this natural juice that is very easy to prepare:
Guava juice, strawberries, and parsley
- 1 cup of parsley
- 1 cup strawberries
- One guava in pieces and without seeds
- One glass of water
Preparation: add all the ingredients to the blender and process until you get a homogeneous mixture. Avoid sugar to sweeten, as it depresses the immune system and lowers defenses. Instead, I prefer saccharin or a natural sweetener like stevia.
Vitamin A is one of the most effective nutrients to strengthen the function of the immune system since, when consumed, it activates in the body the action of the defenses to repair tissues damaged by infection and stimulates the response of antibodies, such as lymphocytes, to defend the body from any severe disease. In addition, vitamin A is of great help in fighting respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, angina pectoris, upper respiratory infections, and bronchitis.
It also offers the body antibacterial properties that allow skin infections and injuries to heal quickly, as well as helping any wound heal faster. The lack of this vitamin causes fatigue and weakness precisely because it affects the body’s immune function. To consume it, you should prefer all red foods, which owe their color precisely to their high content of carotenes: tomato, red fruits, red pepper, strawberries, beets, currants, cherries, carrots, among others.
Green leafy vegetables
We have heard a lot that increasing your consumption of vegetables is good for your health, but why? Vegetables, specifically those with green leaves, are the ones that offer the most amount of vitamin B, antioxidants, and energy to the body.
As we mentioned earlier, antioxidant foods reverse the cellular damage that free radicals may have caused in the body, allowing us to fight age and helping the body be more potent against any disease that may attack it. And it is that these foods also offer calcium, phosphorus, iron, and fiber, which are synonymous with energy, so that the human body works properly and does not get depressed before any antigen that tries to hurt it. Preventing the flu, infections, generating vitality, feeling healthier, and having more energy, are some of the benefits we can notice by incorporating green leafy vegetables into our diet. Which ones are the best? Get to know them below:
Garlic and ginger
There are many benefits of garlic and ginger for health, but without a doubt, their antibiotic power always stands out to help the body overcome any infection. In addition, the consumption of garlic stimulates blood circulation, which makes it possible to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and thrombosis. For its part, ginger and its expectorant properties help heal respiratory diseases such as bronchitis or pneumonia more efficiently, helping to expel the accumulation of soda and phlegm that can concentrate in the bronchi and lungs.
Garlic is also one of the best natural remedies to combat anemia, as it stimulates the production of blood cells and helps digest iron better. Ginger also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, being of great help to calm ailments. Still, without a doubt, its best contribution to the immune system is its ability to increase the production of white blood cells. Increasing the intake of garlic and ginger using both foods to flavor your meals is an excellent option to advance your defenses.
Other tips to increase defenses
- Hydration is essential to keep mucous membranes hydrated and protect against infection. Two liters of water a day is the recommended amount that we should consume.
- Mushrooms are rich in selenium, a substance that helps fight infection.
- The omega – 3 helps to strengthen the immune system. You can find it in salmon, sardines, trout, or tuna.
- The zinc helps maintain stable levels of white blood. Liver, chickpeas, dark chocolate, almonds, and sunflower seeds contain it.
- Probiotics can strengthen the immune system because the body purges toxins by stimulating intestinal transit. Yogurt and kefir are the best options.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Foods that increase defenses, we recommend that you enter our Food category.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.