Did you know that as much as 70% of our immune system is in the gut? For those who want to stay healthy, it is therefore extremely important to keep the stomach and intestinal flora in good condition.
What is the immune system?
The immune system plays a very important role in our body and our well-being. The immune system consists of a network of cells, tissue, and organs that work together to protect the body against viruses, bacteria, and diseases. The protective cells are called white blood cells – they work by attacking the foreign organisms that cause disease. If you have a bad immune system you have a lower level of white blood cells, then your body will not be able to resist the organisms that have entered your body in an attempt to make you sick.
However, about 70 percent of our immune system is in the digestive tract, and healthy gut flora is therefore important for a strong immune system. The intestinal flora consists of millions of bacteria and microorganisms that live in our intestines. These bacteria play an important role in the immune system as they, among other things, strengthen the intestinal barrier and thus prevent harmful bacteria from entering our bloodstream.
The bacteria also help the immune system by increasing the number of antibodies, assisting in protein synthesis, and by producing molecules that kill the unfriendly bacteria.
Why have some worse immune systems than others?
Everyone has different bacterial flora in the gut and thus also different strong immune systems. The basis of the immune system is already laid at birth when the child inherits some of the mother’s bacteria. Subsequently, the intestinal flora develops up to about four years of age.
We mainly get the bacteria through the food we eat, but also through our surroundings. The intestinal flora is part of the adaptive, non-innate immune system that is the part of the immune system that we can affect ourselves. We can build the adaptive immune system during our lifetime by challenging, training, and adapting the body to a life where the body will be exposed to bacteria and viruses.
Thus, trying to avoid viruses and bacteria completely is no solution as the body is not given the right conditions to strengthen the immune system. However, we can and should ensure that we take care of our immune system properly to keep it strong and to defend our body against attack.
Why it is important to take care of the immune system
Every day, the immune system works hard to protect and support us, but in order for it to do its job, we have to take care of it. Unhealthy diets, stress, and too little sleep are examples of things that can adversely affect the immune system. But just as the immune system can be weakened, so can it be overstimulated and the important thing is to find a balance.
How to strengthen your immune system
Strengthen your gut flora – A healthy gut flora is a key to a strong immune system. Top up with good bacteria and prebiotic fibers, either through the food (fermented as well as raw vegetables and fruits) or via supplements.
Exercise lawfully – Exercise has been shown to increase the amount of certain good bacteria that are especially important for the immune system. For optimal health, we should move so that the heart rate rises and we get a little sweaty at least 30 minutes five days a week.
Stress less – Easier said than done, but no less important for that! Good gut bacteria dislike stress and long-term stress can, therefore, create an imbalance in the gut flora. Something as simple as laughing or taking a few deep breaths can quickly lower stress levels and raise your mood.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables – An increased intake of fruits and vegetables has been shown to contribute a lot of positive effects, among other things, it can strengthen the immune system. In addition, raw vegetables and fruits contain prebiotics – the favorite bacteria’s favorite foods.
Prioritize sleep – Lack of sleep can have a number of negative effects. Studies show that people who sleep less than 6 hours a night are four times more likely to have a weakened immune system. List out how much sleep you need to feel good and be sure to get it every night, whether it’s 7, 8, or 9 hours.
You can test these tips to strengthen your immune system for prevention – if you feel you already have a weakened immune system, we recommend that you seek medical attention.
Strengthen your immune system with Mackerel
Mackerel is packed with vitamin D that activates the body’s very important T cells, which can best be described as the immune system’s killer cells, which are getting ready to knock out your winter flu. In addition, the mackerel also offers plenty of omega-3 fat, which also strengthens the immune system by affecting the body’s production of the hormone prostaglandins.
Here’s how you can eat it: Grill it and serve it for dinner. Eat it smoked with a good salad, or why not a slice of rye bread with mackerel in tomato sauce for breakfast.
Recommended amount: 200 grams of fatty fish a week, for example, one dinner and three times lunch.
Alternative: All forms of fatty fish, such as herring, salmon, trout, eel, and halibut, contain the important vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Feel free to vary between different variants.
Strengthen your immune system with greens
Why: The dark green, curly leaves are arched of C vitamins, which help to protect the body from viruses and bacteria.
How to eat it: The simplest solution is to put the kale leaves in the blender in your smoothie. Or eat it finely chopped in salads, for example, with oranges in dice and pomegranate, or with berries, nuts, bacon, and garlic, which also fits well with the bitter kale. The kale is also good in soups and pies, or why not a homemade kale pesto? 50 g of kale gives you the daily, recommended amount of vitamin C, but you are welcome to eat more.
Other in the cabbage family also have a high content of vitamin C and dietary fiber, not to mention the red pepper and rosehip that is at the top.
Strengthen your immune system with blueberries
The small, blueberries are packed with anthocyanins, an active antioxidant, that performs small miracles for your immune system. Most of the healthy substances are in the shell, and when berries have a large surface area in relation to the content, they are very distinct in terms of health. Blueberries also contain lots of Vitamin C and E, which also strengthens your immune system.
Here’s how you can eat them: Eat them as sweets, put them on a frying pan, oatmeal porridge, pancakes, or in your smoothies and salads. Tou cannot eat too much blueberry. Between 100 and 250 grams of blueberries or about 2 dl, a day seems to be able to produce a measurable health effect.
Strengthen your immune system with rapeseed oil
Rapeseed oil gives you Vitamin E, a very effective antioxidant, that stimulates your immune system, for example by protecting your body against free radicals from smoking and air pollution. Use rapeseed oil in vinegar dressings, marinades, in pastries, and for frying.
Recommended amount: 2-3 teaspoon oil for the main meal. Other plant oils, almonds, hazelnuts, egg yolks, and blackberries are all good sources of vitamin E.
Strengthen your immune system with dark chocolate
Why: The high cocoa content of chocolate gives you large amounts of phenols, which among other things cause the immune system to do its best in the fight against viruses. Eat it as it is, drink a cup of homemade chocolate made on dark cocoa powder, or dip fruit such as strawberries and pineapple into melted, dark chocolate. Stick to 20-30 grams of dark chocolate, at least 70 percent cocoa content, daily.
An alternative is to drink a glass of red wine, which contains the same amount of phenols as 41 g of chocolate.
Strengthen your immune system with brazil nuts
Brazil nuts have a high content of selenium, which many of us get too little of. The mineral accelerates the production of white blood cells, which defend the body against attacks from, for example, viruses and bacteria. Easily eat them as snacks, or chopped on your A-file or on your salads. Stick to 30-50 grams of nuts a day. You will find lots of selenium in intestinal food, shrimp and tuna, and generally in fish, eggs, and seafood.
Strengthen your immune system with white beans
Dietary fiber is an important factor when it comes to eating to an optimal immune system. Fibers are nutrition for healthy gut bacteria. It provides a strong gut flora, which is an important prerequisite for keeping your immune system in top shape. Dried beans have a high fiber content, and the whites are the highest. You can eat them in salads, soups, and casseroles. The recommended daily amount of dietary fiber is 25-35 grams. 100 grams of white beans give you 18.6 grams.
All legumes have a high fiber content as well as whole grain products, green peas, and most types of cabbage and coarse vegetables.