Are you immunized against winter illnesses?

As soon as the cold weather arrives, our bodies demand an increase in nutritional elements. But which ones?

Its role is to devour bacteria and viruses. It's found in meat (liver, in particular), fish (salmon, sea trout and other fatty fishes), seafood, enriched grains and nuts. When it comes to vegetables, look towards asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans, peas and spinach… in other words, turn green! 

We know that vitamin C plays a central role in maintaining a strong immune system, which is why citrus fruits (oranges, clementines, lemons, grapefruit, etc.) and citrus juice are indispensable at any time of the year, but especially in winter. Among minerals, think magnesium (green vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole-grain bread) and selenium (particularly Brazil nuts and walnuts).

Another key mineral is zinc. Oysters are the food with the highest zinc content, but it's also found in red meat, seafood, ginger, all nuts, whole-grain cereals, garlic and onion. The sulfur present in garlic, onion and mustard also gives these products immune-boosting properties.

70% of our natural defenses are found in the digestive tract
The digestive system is made up of a series of organs including the liver, stomach and intestines, each of which plays a specific role in the body's functioning, mainly involving digestion. But did you know that the digestive tract is also the organ where the bulk of the body's immune system is found? In fact, the natural defences in the gastrointestinal tract are constantly protecting the body against the daily onslaught of pathogenic bacteria, pollution and stress, among others.

The intestine's three lines of defence are:

1) Intestinal flora
Upon entering the digestive tract, foreign agents are met by a host of intestinal flora comprised of 1014 bacteria. The healthier the flora-the higher the count of good bacteria--, the more equipped they are to prevent pathogens from invading the blood stream.

2) Intestinal mucosa
The intestinal mucosa is a membrane that controls the passage of substances from the intestines to the circulatory and lymphatic systems. It is highly selective in this process. As permeable as it needs to be to nutrients like carbohydrates and proteins, it has to be equally impermeable to harmful bacteria.

3) Intestinal immune system (GALT: Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue)
It is recognized that 70% of the body's immune system is found in the intestines in the form of specialized cells that play a crucial role in defending against various harmful foreign bodies.

Probiotics for Immunity
To qualify as probiotic, the bacteria must remain active for the entire duration of digestion, and must be consumed in large enough quantities to produce health benefits. Several types of probiotic bacteria exist, each having a different function in their interaction with intestinal flora. The important thing to remember is that the exact function of a probiotic bacteria depends on its strain.

L. casei DefensisTM, a probiotic strain exclusive to Danone, is the first on the international market to have had its benefits on the immune system backed up by scientific findings1 in no less than 37 scientific studies including 16 clinical trials. This strain acts at three levels:

  • It helps balance the intestinal flora.
  • It reinforces the effectiveness of the intestinal mucosa.
  • It helps optimize the body's natural defence system.

Thus, it supports the intestines on all three lines of defence, which points to L. casei DefensisTM's undeniable effectiveness. Many factors, such as stress, lack of sleep or exercise, the struggle to eat healthfully, environmental conditions and even the daily onslaught of germs and pollution weaken our natural defences, making us vulnerable to infections. No less than 37 scientific studies, including 16 clinical trials, have established the effectiveness of DanActive in reinforcing the body's natural defences. Further evidence shows that DanActive can boost the immune system, helping to reduce the severity of cold symptoms, other winter illnesses, and digestive problems related to antibiotic treatments. Available in 94 mL bottles in four delicious flavours - blueberry, cranberry-raspberry, strawberry and vanilla - Marketed in Europe under the Actimel label, and in North America under the DanActive label, Danone's probiotic drink is a tasty good morning start!

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