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Foods for Infections

Throughout life, the body is in a constant struggle against pathogenic microorganisms and foreign substances that attack it, which are called antigens. The combination of tissues and cells responsible for defending the body from these antigens is referred to as imune system. There are foods particularly beneficial in cases of infection because they:

- Improve the function of the immune system. The healthy functioning of this complex defense system against infectious agents and foreign substances requires specific nutrients:

  • Proteins,
  • Antioxidant vitamins (A, C, and E),
  • Trace elements such as iron, selenium, zinc, and copper.

- Contain antibiotic substances: These foods help the immune system combat infectious agents.

- Promote the depuration (purification) of the body: They are foods that increase the elimination of waste products through the kidneys, the liver, and the skin. The best foods for promoting this cleansing in cases of infection are listed in “Fever”.


Fever is generally an indication that the body is combating some infection. Although the foods recommended here do not reduce fever, nor do they directly fight infection, they play an important role in healing. In case of fever,the diet must be:

  • Easily digested and nutritious.
  • Abundant in liquids to replace the water lost through high temperature and avoid dehydration.
  • Rich in vitamins that strengthen such as provitamin A (beta-carotene), and vitamin C.
  • Rich in alkalizing mineral salts that neutralize excess free radicals and acidic waste products formed as a result of the infection.

Fruits and vegetables meet these requirements very well and should form the basis of the diet, particularly during the acute phase.

Juices provide the water, vitamins, mineral salts, and antioxidant phytochemicals necessary in case of fever. They also promote the elimination of waste material from the bloodstream, whose production increases in case of fever.


This is a weakening of the immune system, commonly referred to as lowered resistance.

Functions of the immune system

Fundamentally there are two, which are vital to the survival of any living organism:

• Identification of all types of microorganisms and foreign substances that are potentially dangerous.

• Destruction of these microorganisms, substances, or foreign cells.

Contributors to a weakened immune system:

These vary widely, and in some cases are unknown. These are some of the most common:

- Under or malnourishment. Lack of any essential nutrient, particularly the vitamins and trace elements noted here, can reduce the body’s immune response.

- Stress, either physical or psychological.

- Chemotherapy (anti-cancer medication).

- Infectious diseases.

- AIDS: Immune system deficiency caused by a viral attack on the body’s defense mechanisms.

The foods described in this table contribute in special ways to the proper function of this complex defense system.


The natural antibiotics found in some foods and plants are less potent than pharmaceutical antibiotics. However, they have the advantage of not producing resistant germs and not altering the body’s normal bacterial flora. In case of infection, it is important to bear in mind, as well, those foods that are recommended and discouraged for weakened immune system and fever.


Colds and flu are caused by related viral infections. A cold may be the beginning or first manifestation of the flu.

Cold symptoms include increased mucus production and inflammation of the upper respiratory system (nose and throat). Flu produces more generalized symptoms that include headache and musculoskeletal pain.

The diet should be similar in either case, both to prevent infection and to promote a cure. No food cures colds or flu, nor does any antibiotic or other medication. The body’s own defenses must combat viral infections. Because of this, a proper diet is essential to strengthen the immune system.

Sugars reduce the immune response to infections. Excessive consumption of candies, chocolate, pastries, and other refined products made with white sugar fosters the development of colds and flu.

 PAMPLONA ROGER, J. D. Healthy Foods. Madrid: Editorial Safeliz, 2018, pp. 337 - 340

Foods for Infections ADVENT7

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