Yogurt is a fermented dairy product rich in probiotics such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. These microorganisms are naturally present in the body’s gut flora - an essential element of the immune system. By eating yogurt, we’re therefore helping to fortify our intestinal microbiota and improve our defences against germs (1).
Other sources: all fermented foods, such as kimchi (Korean cabbage), sauerkraut and kefir, contain probiotics, and there’s also the option of taking probiotic complexes to help prevent infection, such as Probio Forte and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG.
But before probiotics, come … prebiotics. These probiotic precursors are also essential for maintaining healthy gut flora and thus strong immunity. Garlic is rich in prebiotics, and is also recognised for its antimicrobial effects. This superfood is even more effective in the form of aged black garlic (2). To get the most out of black garlic’s benefits, it’s best to take a highly-concentrated supplement such as ABG10+®.
Other sources: onions, artichokes, asparagus and chicory all contain prebiotics, as well as being rich in dietary fibre.
Vitamin C is one of the star nutrients of winter: a powerful antioxidant, it supports the immune system in several ways. In particular, it boosts the body’s tissue barriers and defence cells. (3) All citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, with oranges richest of all.
Other sources: guava, peppers, kiwi fruit and cabbage all contain vitamin C. Alongside a diet high in fruit and vegetables, you could also opt for the convenience of a regular course of vitamin C (for example Asc2P).
Salmon, mackerel, trout … As well as being rich in omega-3, oily fish such as these are excellent sources of vitamin D . This vitamin is known for its ability to activate immune cell production. Studies have shown vitamin D deficiency can make the body more vulnerable to microbial attack (4).
Other sources : cod liver oil, milk and egg yolk also contain vitamin D. It’s also worth considering taking concentrated vitamin D3 in capsule form, as it’s particularly well-absorbed by the body (such as Vitamin D3 1000 IU).
Zinc is a trace element essential for numerous physiological functions, including immune response. Inflammation is one of the defensive mechanisms used by the body to combat attacks but it’s known that a lack of zinc disrupts inflammatory messengers(5). Shellfish, especially oysters, contain a significant amount of zinc.
Other sources: zinc is also found in meat (beef, veal, lamb), and in sesame seeds. It’s worth noting that zinc is more digestible and bioavailable in its orotate form (so a good supplement choice would be Zinc Orotate).
This beehive substance has been used for centuries for its ability to stimulate the immune system. Numerous scientific studies have confirmed its reputation to be justified. Propolis is, in fact, a powerful natural disinfectant, rich in flavonoids, which offers valuable antiviral activity (6). Green propolis is available in supplement form (Green Propolis).
Other options: all apitherapy (honey bee) products are good for your immunity. Honey, royal jelly (Organic Royal jelly 4 %) and even pollen can provide excellent daily support.
Shiitake mushrooms are not only delicious: once they’ve been fermented, they contain a considerable amount of AHCC - Active Hexose Correlated Compound. This compound stimulates the activity of natural killer cell lymphocytes, white blood cells that become hyperactive when faced with infection (7). This compound is available in the form of a pure extract (for example the supplement AHCC) for optimal effects.
These recommendations should in no way be seen as a substitute for medical advice if you are unwell. If in doubt, seek guidance from a doctor, via a remote consultation if necessary. Eating the right diet and taking appropriate supplements can, however, significantly help to boost your immunity, naturally and effectively.
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