The immune system is composed of cells, proteins, tissues, and organs; it's responsible for defending us against germs and microorganisms every day. That's why it's up to us to contribute to keeping this system functioning well in order to stay healthy and prevent potential infections. How can we help the immune system?
It's true that there are certain foods that help strengthen our defenses. In this post, we'll tell you about some of them: nuts, avocado, and Iberian ham are a few examples.
Let's explain why!
What Does the Immune System Need?
First of all, it's important to understand that the most crucial aspect of helping our body function properly - in general - is to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. When we provide the body with the nutrients it needs through good nutrition, it responds to threats, making the immune system more efficient.
Furthermore, it's worth noting that 80% of our immune system develops in our intestines. This means that the quality of our intake largely determines the proper functioning of our immune system.
Maintaining a Balanced Diet
The foundation of a healthy diet should focus on consuming real and quality foods that provide us with macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats, as well as micronutrients like vitamins and minerals that we need to maintain good health. Additionally, regular physical activity or exercise is very important to improve the health of our body.
What are the Benefits of Physical Exercise?
- Helps regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels...
- Contributes to maintaining good bone density
- Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Aids in weight management
- Strengthens the immune system
- Enhances sleep quality
- Benefits mental health
All of these factors not only help prevent imbalances but also improve health, quality of life, and prevent the development of diseases.To maintain the proper functioning of the immune system and protect our body, we recommend planning balanced weekly menus. The focus should be on quality, fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables, as well as foods that contain healthy fats like nuts, extra virgin olive oil for dressings, fatty fish, etc.
Practices that Strengthen the Immune System
There are some practices that can help you establish a good dietary routine that contributes to the proper functioning of your body. One key aspect is hydration; consuming the recommended 2 liters of water daily by specialists is vital. Additionally, not only water itself provides hydration, but also broths, consommés, and natural juices can be revitalizing and hydrating.
Another aspect to consider is the importance of carbohydrates in our diet as they provide the necessary energy to face the day. However, it's important not to overindulge in refined grains. It's better to opt for whole options and not just stick to cereals; also include foods like legumes, potatoes, or sweet potatoes, which are also sources of carbohydrates and excellent energy sources.
A very interesting tip that you probably didn't know: if you cook these types of foods and let them cool, they turn into a probiotic food that's very beneficial for our gut health and provides a significant boost to the immune system. Did you know that?
So, if you prepare your packed meals the day before work, this principle always applies!
Consuming vegetables and fruits is also crucial in a healthy diet that supports our immune system. At a minimum, we should consume five servings of vegetables a day. You can combine fruits, vegetables, and greens in all their forms, both raw and cooked.
Protein is also an essential nutrient in our diet, whether of plant or animal origin; the key is to opt for high-quality protein.
The intake of healthy fats is also a critical element of a healthy and balanced diet. These are unsaturated fats found in foods like nuts, extra virgin olive oil, and Iberian ham. These types of fats have anti-inflammatory properties, which means they help reduce the inflammatory context that we often experience due to poor eating habits, consumption of ultra-processed foods, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, alcohol consumption, smoking, etc.
Finally, it's also important to avoid ultra-processed foods that contain high levels of simple sugars, which are harmful to our gut, and other additives that don't contribute any benefits to our body. To prevent this and support the proper functioning of the immune system, it's best to consume natural, fresh, and locally sourced products.
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Foods That Support the Immune System
After reading the previous points, you should now have an idea of which foods are ideal to include in a healthy diet that supports the immune system.
There are foods that have the ability to act as natural anti-inflammatories. These foods are usually rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber.
Adding foods with anti-inflammatory properties to our diet helps reduce our inflammatory context and improves nutrient absorption, leading to gut health improvement.
- These can be vegetables like chard, spinach, endive, broccoli, bell peppers, beets, or tomatoes. Fruits like avocado, kiwi, lemon, mandarin, or orange. Root vegetables like carrot, rich in vitamins A and D.
- Fatty fish, also known as oily fish like mackerel, tuna, salmon, and anchovies. This type of fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids (which are healthy fats with anti-inflammatory properties) and vitamin D.
- Spices like ginger and turmeric, ideal for seasoning food or making infusions.
- Nuts like walnuts or almonds.
Iberian Ham as an Anti-Inflammatory Food
As mentioned earlier, healthy fats found in foods like Iberian ham have anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, acorn-fed ham contains oleic acid, the same compound found in extra virgin olive oil. This type of unsaturated fat has positive effects on our body, reducing risk factors such as cholesterol and helping the immune system strengthen its defenses.
- Read more about this in: "The Role of Iberian Ham in Your Heart-Healthy Diet."
In conclusion, unsaturated fatty acids found in cured products like acorn-fed Iberian ham are some of the most "heart-healthy" fats out there. If you're interested in learning more about the pros and cons of the fat in ham, we recommend reading: "Is Iberian Ham Fat Unhealthy?"
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Visit our online store and learn about Iberian acorn-fed ham, whether it's 50% or 100% Iberian, and start incorporating it into your regular recipes because besides being delicious, it also offers numerous benefits for our health.