9 tips from an intestinal flora expert: strengthen your immune system

Immune system

What can you do yourself to prevent or endure a virus infection as best as possible? The answer is: a lot! We can make our immune system stronger. Read in this blog by intestinal flora expert Paulien Franken what the do’s and don’ts are.

Be kind to yourself, and to your intestinal flora

Everyone has an immune system: the immune system. We can do a lot ourselves to make our immune system more powerful. Over the years I have followed various courses in the field of Western and Eastern medicine and nutrition. For example, I learned how we can boost our immune system, so that it is easier to deal with the burden of a virus, for example. Here you will find 9 practical tips.

9 practical tips to strengthen your immune system

1. Be careful with supplements

It is theoretically true that you can use extra vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc very well when fighting a virus. But your body is not theory – you are practice! You are part of nature. And your body does not always benefit from (artificial) powders or pills. They do not grow on a tree or in the ground and are therefore by definition not easily absorbed by your body. In fact, they can put an extra burden on your body. Then you will only weaken yourself.

If you are stubborn and want to take something extra, listen very carefully to your body. If you have the feeling that it ‘doesn’t go well’ or you don’t feel well when you take those supplements: leave it!

2. Choose food with vitamin C

If I ask you to name products that are rich in vitamin C, you probably know two or three. But there are more! Eat them as often as possible: citrus fruits, rose hips, acerola berries, alfalfa (sprouts), cantaloupe melon, broccoli, tomato, and green pepper.

3. Vitamin D for Dark Days

A recent meta-  study shows that vitamin D protects against acute respiratory infections. This research consisted of an analysis of 25 scientific studies with more than 11,000 participants!

In times when we are indoors a lot, or when the sun is not shining, you can quickly build up a vitamin D deficiency. Then put this on the table: wild salmon, sardines, canned/pot anchovies, herring, egg yolk, organ meats, fish liver (oil) and cod liver. This liver in a can is for sale in the supermarket. You can mash it with a little mayo, pepper and salt or, for example, put it in thin slices in a salad. Good to know for vegans: wild mushrooms contain vitamin D.

Of course you can also go outside, without protection factor, so that your body can produce vitamin D itself.

 4. Zinc is also part of it

Perhaps you can think of one food that is rich in zinc. That’s not so strange, there aren’t that many. But enough to get enough zinc: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, seafood (crustaceans and shellfish, with oysters, organ meats, mushrooms, brewer’s yeast, herring, egg and wheat germ.

5. Food Packed with Bacteria

Probiotic foods contain many healthy bacteria that support your gut flora and immunity. Fermented foods like kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut are packed with probiotic bacteria. Fermentation is a way of preserving food for longer. This age-old method has been kind of forgotten because today we have dried, frozen and canned foods. And food that contains many additives to extend the shelf life.

The great advantage of fermentation is that many healthy bacteria are created. So it is definitely recommended to eat fermented food. Make sure that you do not buy sterilized or pasteurized food, because heating kills the bacteria. So don’t cook sauerkraut!

6. Fresh and pure

Eat fresh food, as pure as possible. As mother nature intended. Anything that has been ‘trumped up’ by the industry is best left alone. why? You are also nature. The flora that lives in your gut is nature. They do not recognize the ‘junk’ that you ingest, often unnoticed.

Be kind to yourself. And for your intestinal flora. Did you know that your flora is an important part of your immune system? By not taking good care of your flora, you directly undermine your immune system. And really, it’s not too late to change your diet. It never is!

7. Forget Fast Food

Skip fast food. That may sound difficult, but it does wonders for your immune system. So no bowl of chips during an evening of Netflix, but unroasted nuts and cod liver on toast. Or sweet potato fries from the oven. Or okay, fried in a little coconut oil Make the fries with a little real sea salt, smoked paprika and oregano. And eat them with a good dollop of (organic) mayonnaise, preferably homemade. Because the raw egg yolk in home-made mayonnaise is the bomb for your intestinal wall.

8. No dairy….

Another piece of advice that you may have to swallow: don’t eat dairy. Dairy is mucus-forming and is not recommended with a virus that works on the respiratory tract. The less slime, the better! Moreover, dairy is difficult for everyone to digest, including people without allergies or hypersensitivity. If something is difficult to digest, it requires energy. This is not beneficial for the environment in your gut and therefore not for your flora and therefore not for your immune system…

9. Chamomile Tea Soothes

Drink chamomile tea. Chamomile calms, which is very nice in times of anxiety and stress. Did you know that stress kills good gut bacteria? Moreover, chamomile has a soothing effect on your mucous membranes, which are located everywhere in your body: in your respiratory tract and also in your intestines. Those intestines form the house of your intestinal flora, so it is better to take good care of that too.



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