Immunity: 5 tips from a nutritionist to strengthen it this winter

This winter 2023, the Covid indicators are green and life has resumed a more “normal” course. But while we wear masks less, meet more in confined spaces and generally relax barrier gestures (hand washing, ventilation, etc.), viruses circulate more and there is a return of winter diseases : this fall, the bronchiolitis was particularly strong, the colds return, the gastro too, as well as the flu.

Outraged booster dose against Covid, flu vaccination and the barrier gesturesramparts against viruses and bacteria, More and more of us are asking ourselves how to lend a hand to our immune system in its eternal fight against external aggressions.

Our natural defences, constantly put to use, must be constantly nourished. And the best way to do that is to control all aspects of your diet. “The idea is not to eat extra things or take food supplementsbut to miss nothing“, explains the expert interviewed by Top Santé. Fine, but how does it work, exactly?

1-Avoid deficiencies, which are more common than you think

To start, a little drama: if our body is able to store fat, it cannot however keep micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals: “The counters are reset to zero every day and deficiencies therefore appear very quickly”, explains Juliette Bentz-Farman. It is therefore necessary to take care to follow the recommendations that everyone knows, in particular that of 5 fruits and vegetables per day. But we will come back to that.

2-Hydrate yourself!

Imagine a desert of rock whose surface is scarred by thousands of cracks. This desert is your skin when it is not not hydrated enough. And very logically, anything that is not welcome in your body – like a virus, for example – can infiltrate through these interstices. “But it is also true for the mucous membranes which, like the skin, are real ramparts against aggression”, explains the nutritionist.

The solution ? Drink, of course. But mostly water. Sodas, tea and other diuretic herbal teas are not your friends: “To do the job well, try to drink a good liter of water a day. But not all at oncebecause the water leaves very quickly.” In short, keep in mind the principle of drip irrigation, and drink small amounts regularly.

3-Beware of stressful situations and lack of sleep

And we are not really talking here about professional stress: “One lack of sleepan injury, a chronic illness, alcohol, cigarettes or being overweight are sources of stress for your organization, details Juliette Bentz-Farman. “And in the face of danger, the body protects itself. Everything that is not vital, like the immune system, stops working or works less well.” Hence the importance of avoiding these attacks when possible. And let’s not lie, in the case of cigarettes, for example, it is.

4-Foods to favor

“The vitamin Cwhich is found in many fruits and vegetables, such as orange, The kiwi or parsley, is a very useful antioxidant in terms of immunity”, explains the nutritionist, before also mentioning the similar benefits of vitamin A, “which we will rather find in animal products such as dairy products or egg yolks.” The egg yolks which, moreover, also contain vitamin D. The very one which, according to the Academy of Medicine, would allow in particular to combat the body’s reaction to Covid-19.

On the mineral side, Juliette Bentz-Farman advises you to prefer zinc, “because we noticed that people were missing a lot of it.” You will find it in particular in beef or shellfish, but also in garlic, for example, even if “I do not recommend it” says the expert, “because you should eat a clove of garlic a day, and nobody does that (laughs).”

5-Protect your intestinal flora

Finally, don’t forget the unmissable pro and prebiotics – like yogurts or sauerkraut – which protect your intestinal flora. “This is where immunity is made!, explains Juliette Bentz-Farman, in the field of bacteria that lines the intestine. If the flora is in bad shape, your immunity weakens.” And you with it. So you know what you have to do to get through the coming seasons serenely!

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