Odporność budujemy latem - CM LUXMED

Build resilience in summer

Immunity is nothing more than the body's defensive reactions to pathogens - microorganisms, viruses and bacteria. The guardian of immunity is our immune system, responsible for protecting us by identifying and eliminating pathogens. The immune system is one of the "most intelligent" systems of the human body. It has many abilities to assess external and internal stimuli for their danger. It remembers, learns and selects appropriate responses to threats to the body. It constitutes our natural defence force.

How do you use summer to build a strong immune system?

We put this question to our specialists. A dietician Marzena Szwed, M.Sc. gave us some tips on dietetics.

- Summer is a season we look forward to with longing. We think about holidays, planning trips and all sorts of pleasures. We want to forget about work and the difficulties of everyday life. When we take a deep breath on our longed-for holidays, we should also think about taking care of our organism - preparing it for autumn and winter.

Summer abounds in a variety of the freshest vegetables and fruits rich in fibre, which will cleanse our body like a broom especially after "holiday sins". Fresh fruit and vegetables are rich in vitamin and mineral complexes which are much better absorbed by the body than ready-made supplements. And water, because we cannot live without it and our organs will not work properly if there is not enough of it. Remember that water cannot be replaced by drinks!

Vitamins and minerals in summer

- Even in summer we must not forget about the sunshine vitamin.Let us provide ourselves with it in every possible way, that is, classically by sunbathing, of course in a safe manner, as well as by choosing specific foods. We recommend savouring sea fish by boiling, baking or stewing (frying destroys vitamin D). Eggs, whole milk and milk products, vegetable oils, liver and ripened cheese also contain small amounts of this vitamin.

Zinc is an essential mineral for a healthy immune system. It should be found in liver, seeds such as pumpkin or courgette (150 g are needed to cover the daily requirement), red meat, dark chocolate (200 g) and garlic.

The three meals should include complete protein, as it is a building material, also needed for regeneration and the production of immune bodies.

Vitamin C is also of great importance in the fight against pathogens. The body will be fully supplied with it if the daily intake of fruit and vegetables is between 500 and 700 g. Smokers have a particularly increased need for this vitamin. It would be best to quit this habit, which robs us of our immunity and carries many risks, but if this has not yet happened, then vitamin C supplementation should be considered.

Silage for immunity

When summer is over, there will be a shortage of fresh fruit and vegetables. Will home-made preserves, for example, also have nutritional value?

- If anyone has the ability and skills, I certainly encourage it. They will certainly be healthier than those from the supermarket. I recommend pickles - cucumbers, cabbage, red beet. They are natural probiotics which have a beneficial effect on the intestinal bacterial flora and thus have an immunising effect.

We can easily store garlic in our pantry, which has antiseptic and antiviral properties. Garlic butter can be made for children, added to oil-based sauces for fresh vegetable salads or in the form of garlic syrup.

I also encourage you to make homemade tinctures to have on hand in winter. One worth recommending is the tincture of rosemary, an herb used for centuries in the fight against colds and flu. Rosemary has antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Rosemary tincture should not be used for more than a week.

Get in shape in the summer

Summer gives us almost unlimited possibilities for physical activity - walking, running, swimming, cycling, skateboarding, etc. How movement affects the body's defensive reactions - explains physiotherapist Karolina Nowosad.

As research has shown, exercise causes our immune system to increase the number of macrophages and their activity. These cells are the body's first line of defence. They play an important role in absorbing antigens, damaged or abnormal cells and destroying them. In addition, it is recognised that the increase in temperature caused by muscle work favours the inhibition of bacterial growth. It is worth noting that the induced changes remain in the body only a few hours after the end of physical activity. Therefore, it is important to exercise regularly to extend this time.

And how does intense training affect immunity?

- It is important to remember that only regular and moderate exercise stimulates the immune mechanisms. If we train too intensively, we disturb the biological balance. Long-term, strenuous exercise treats the body with a powerful dose of stress, increases the level of cortisol and adrenaline. They reduce the activity of white blood cells. This condition is referred to as an "open window for infections". The decrease in immunity lasts up to 72h. It is therefore important to train regularly, at a moderate intensity and in accordance with your abilities.

So what is the recipe for strengthening immunity?

- In nature, success is guaranteed by balance. A combination of training, a balanced diet and adequate regeneration is all we need to enjoy natural immunity. Sports that are aerobic at a moderate intensity are ideal. Classical physical activities, such as cycling, swimming, fast walking, Nordic walking, fitness, are great because they have the character of aerobic effort and their intensity is moderate. Workouts repeated 3 times a week with a heart rate of 110 to 140 beats per minute will reduce stress, improve your mood, have a positive effect on your appearance and, most importantly, make it easier to maintain a strong immune system even in autumn and early spring.

Thank you for talking to us.