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Questions and Answers about Nutrition and Immune Defense, also in Relation to the Coronavirus Pandemic

How does what we eat and drink affect our immune system? Can certain vitamins or minerals strengthen our immune system? What needs to be considered in the current pandemic? Dr. Krasimira Aleksandrova, a nutritionist and epidemiologist from the DZD partner German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE), provides scientifically substantiated answers to these questions.

Source: Lupo/pixelio.de

 

A varied and balanced diet combined with outdoor exercise can support a healthy immune system, said Dr. Krasimira Aleksandrova. A healthy diet should therefore be followed, based on fresh fruit and vegetables, fermented foods (e.g. yoghurt), nuts, seeds and whole grains. Plant foods contain valuable micronutrients as well as other important compounds such as polyphenols, which are associated with lower inflammation levels. In addition to a healthy diet, physical activity, stress reduction and sufficient sleep also support immune function.

For elderly people, the International Society for Immunonutrition also recommends an increased intake of zinc, vitamins E, C and D. However, dietary supplements should only be taken after consulting a doctor. The relationships between nutrition, immunity and aging are, however, very complex and still insufficiently researched. DIfE is working to gain deeper insights into this important research area. The goal is to understand how diet affects innate and acquired immunity, especially at an advanced age. The research results should form the basis for new nutritional strategies that can reduce the risk and severity of diseases.

You can find the detailed interview (in German) here.