It is well known that what we eat has important and profound effects on our health, from the density of our bones to the performance of our brain. One of the fundamental principles is to provide our immune system with the ability to defend itself against bacterial, fungal and viral attacks. You can follow a "healthy" diet, have a good figure, strong teeth and, at the same time, defenses that defend nothing. Indian physician and researcher Ranjit Chandra of Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, published a study describing the relationship between food and our defenses: "Nutrition is a fundamental factor in the immune response, and malnutrition is one of the most common causes of immunodeficiency in the world. "The three nutrients that play a major role in maintaining a good immune system are selenium, zinc and vitamin B6 (although they are not the only ones, for example iron is also involved, but to a lesser extent).
Selenium in nuts, mushrooms and codWhy are Spanish farmers a bull? Higher genes? Maybe. Another option may refer to this habit of eating garlic as someone who eats pipes, raw and everything. This food is a good source of selenium, a chemical element of the nonmetals group. In a study published in "The Journal of Nutrition" by researcher John R. Arthur and his team, the Rowett Reseach Institute, explains that "selenium has great potential to influence our immune system. But in the scientific world, getting answers inevitably leads to new questions. John Arthur explains that "only when all the functions of selenoproteins are described will we be able to fully understand their role in maintaining optimal immune function. There are many foods (that we love) that are good sources of selenium. Here are some examples from data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):
- Garlic It contains 14.2 micrograms per 100 g. One third of the recommended daily amount.
- Brazil nuts. These are selenium queens by far. 100 grams contain 1,917 micrograms (or almost the same, 2 milligrams), which is equivalent to 3,485.4% of the recommended daily amount.
- Atlantic cod, dry and salty. It contains 147 micrograms of this nutrient, which far covers our daily needs.
- Shiitake mushrooms. These Asian mushrooms, typical of Japanese cuisine, contain 46 micrograms (per 100 g), which practically covers the daily needs of our body.
All are important, but B6 is fundamentalAll nuts are appreciated for their nutritional values, more now that fats have lost that reputation for "bad" they had. Pistachios are distinguished among all nuts, not only for their taste (and price), but also for their high vitamin B6 content. One of its functions is to play an important role in the creation of antibodies. For this reason, as explained in his book "Let's buy lies" José Manuel López Nicolás, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) believes that you can advertise a product containing at least 15% vitamin B6 per day. with slogans like "help your defenses" or "help the immune system". Peppers are one of the kings of this vitamin, specifically a characteristic of Mexico, Chile pasilla (named for its dry, raisin-like appearance), but it is not the only one. 100 grams of these foods will provide us with all the vitamin B6 we need:
- Salvia This spice is rich in this nutrient, since it contains 2.69 mg.
- Spearmint Typical of some gastronomies... and mojito. It contains 2.58 mg, more than enough for our daily lives.
- Piquillo pepper It contains 2.54 mg.
- Pistachios Those already mentioned contain 1.70 mg, which exceeds 1.4 mg of the recommended daily amount.
A scarce and fundamental metal for usAlthough with cheaper types starting to arrive from distant shores, oysters have traditionally been exclusive to the larger portfolios. Turns out their flavor and texture aren't the only thing special. It is one of the largest known food sources of zinc. Researcher Pamela J. Faker and her team at Michigan State University in the United States published a study in 2000 looking at the relationship between zinc deficiencies and immune system activity and how it affected the human body to restore normal levels of this micronutrient. "The results of more than three decades of work indicate that zinc deficiency causes a rapid decrease in the response of antibodies and immune system cells," says his research.
This makes it clear that a deficiency of this metal can cause us more than one headache. So much so that, in this study, the researcher says that "a lack of zinc in the diet can lead to an increase in the prevalence of opportunistic infections and mortality rates". To avoid these harmful consequences, we can resort to the following foods (per 100 g):
- Raw oysters: contain 39.30 mg of zinc, almost 4 times more than the recommended daily amount.
- Veal: it is very rich in this nutrient, containing the ribs, for example, 11.49 milligrams.
- Pumpkin seeds. They contain 10.30 mg or, in other words, the total daily requirement.
- Sesame flour. They cover our needs with 10.70 mg.
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A balanced diet must include everything, not only the 'healthy' foods that cause visible effects in the mirror, but also those that really help us in times of need.