Eat yourself healthy: this is how you strengthen the immune system

By Anna Samoylenko

In order for our body to be prepared for difficult times, we have to give it what it needs. This is the only way to protect yourself and your children from illness, stress and other burdens. Jürg Hösli, nutritional diagnostician and founder of the Erpse Institute, knows how to strengthen your immune system with the right diet. From his day-to-day work, he knows all too well what effects diet can have on the body, and unfortunately all too often people sit with him in counseling who do not give their body what it needs.

That should change: That is why Hösli regularly shares his knowledge on the Erpse blog, on social media and during the lockdown in live lectures. He recently gave tips on how to strengthen your immune system and not only get through the winter healthily, but also through the corona crisis. We explain here how you and your children can eat healthily through the next few weeks. We have summarized the tips from the nutritionist for you.

How to eat healthily: this is the advice of the expert

Eat enough!

The body now needs all the important substances and enough calories. Many diets lead to malnutrition or malnutrition. Your body now needs energy in the form of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. This is the only way to ward off external dangers - for example viruses or bacteria - and deal with them in the event of illness.

Starting a diet now is total nonsense.

A balanced diet also means that you consume enough kilocalories. You will be amazed how much it really is. A child between the ages of 4 and 6 needs around 1500 calories a day. During puberty, girls quickly need more than 2200 calories and boys even more than 2500 calories. You too should be careful to eat enough. The average woman needs 1750 to 2500 calories per day, depending on the level of activity, while the man needs 2200 to 3000 calories.

Why you shouldn't just eat salad

You have to somehow "fill" these calories - with the right nutrients. You need proteins, fats and carbohydrates. This is the only way to ensure that your body functions optimally. Try to cover all of the nutrients with every meal.So you shouldn't only eat vegetables and salads.

Include omega-3 fats in your eating plan for your body to function optimally. "You can find these predominantly in linseed oil or in fatty fish," explains the nutritionist. Do not overdo it with the proteins, even if they are very important. Especially for the elderly.

Buy protein shakes for the elderly.

Older people in particular are consuming less and less meat, which can lead to a protein deficiency in them. To prevent this, Jürg Hösli recommends that older people, for example grandparents, buy protein shakes and thus ensure that their protein content is covered.

Carbohydrates are particularly important. These should make up about 40 percent of your food intake. If low-carb diets are continued, the carbohydrates have to be regenerated in the liver. If you eat too few carbohydrates, this means stress for the body: The cortisol level, i.e. the stress in the body, increases and this in turn leads to immunosuppression, which we want to avoid at all costs. Because that is exactly what makes us susceptible to disease. Jürg Hösli advises consuming long-chain carbohydrates such as oat flakes, potatoes or whole grain products in the intended amount every day.

The right meal at the right time

You should also make sure to give your body "food" in the morning. Because you and your family can only start the day optimally with a real breakfast. A healthy, balanced breakfast stimulates the metabolism and you will have fewer cravings throughout the day. At the same time, you ensure better oxygen transport in your body. This means that fewer symptoms occur in the skin, intestines and lungs.

It is better to avoid heavy meals in the evening. Because the intestines also need oxygen to digest food. He steals this from the rest of the organism. As a result, lactate is produced in the body, which in turn has to be broken down. This process causes the cortisol level to rise, causes stress and thus ensures restless sleep. Bad sleep then leads to even more stress for the body - and so you start a vicious circle. "Stress is immunosuppressive," says Hösli. Those who sleep too little become sluggish and more susceptible to illnesses. That is exactly what we want to avoid at the moment.

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Try to put as little strain on the intestines as possible.

You can also actively support your intestines: So-called probiotics and prebiotics help to stimulate and improve digestion. Put simply, eat more yogurt or cottage cheese! Maybe first thing in the morning for breakfast in combination with berries and fruits. They also support the bowel function. Dietary fiber, such as that provided by ancient spelled or buckwheat pops, is an absolute must here.

Why you should keep snacking

The good news: you don't have to go without snacks if you want to eat healthily. Snacks between meals are absolutely fine as long as they do not contain any processed sugar and are otherwise healthy. Natural nuts, fruit or berries can counteract cravings and prevent us from filling our stomachs with the main meals. Especially now, when everyday life is spent at home, walks to the refrigerator or to the snack drawer can hardly be avoided. Therefore, Jürg Hösli advises you to plan in between meals and to make a conscious decision in favor of the healthy options.

Can I now eat sugar or should it be completely forbidden?? In principle, the answer is: “There is no place for industrially produced sugar in a healthy diet. Products that contain added sugar should also be avoided.»

A small, sweet dessert, for example after lunch, is possible, as the blood sugar rise is much lower due to the previous main meal. If you do exercise, sugar is definitely a must before and during intense exercise. It would be grossly negligent not to supply it in a quickly digestible form.

Bread, alcohol and sweet drinks now do not belong on the dining table or should at least be minimized.

You should therefore remove quickly digestible sugar sources such as chocolate, soft drinks or candy from your regular nutrition plan, as these ironically lead to hypoglycaemia in the body after a while. If this occurs, the already known cortisol level rises again, which in turn leads to immunosuppression. The much worse evil about it is that after a while you reach for unhealthy snacks again and experience a sugar explosion that then rapidly drops off again. Then the vicious circle begins again. So take healthy alternatives.

Why You Shouldn't Drink Too Much

Too much water is just as unhealthy as dehydration. If you drink too much, you run the risk of simply washing away all the important minerals. In addition, water saturates us, so we eat less and thus consume fewer calories. The same applies to vegetables: vegetables are far too full and thus prevent a sufficient supply of calories.

It all comes down to the right amount. Basically drink 2-3 liters a day or 30 ml per 1 kg of body weight.

With this formula you can calculate the right amount of water that you need during the day. "Healthy teas such as mint or chamomile, which inhibit inflammation and support the immune system, are best suited," advises the nutrition expert.

Why you can make exceptions

Whether you call it Comfort Food, Soul Food or Cheat Day: You must also include exceptions in the nutrition plan, especially for smaller children or those with a sweet tooth. Every now and then, cookies, chocolate candies or a cup of cocoa are good for the soul. “Nutrition has to be fun,” says Jürg Hösli. Children in particular should not perceive healthy eating as a compulsion, but as an enrichment in life.

You want to know more about it?

Here you can watch the lecture in full length: To the video on Facebook.

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