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Food and Immunity

Updated: Oct 17, 2021

The role of nutrition as a factor in the protection of health is substantial and very important in maintaining a balanced lifestyle and a healthy life. Indeed, studies have shown that the way you eat affects the risks of the most common diseases, whether cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes.

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However, to establish more precise nutritional knowledge to prevent these diseases and improve people's health, we need to closely learn the relationship between food and Immunity and the immune system. And on this framework, we offer you this article in which not only we focus on analyzing the relationship between food and Immunity in general, but also a clear understanding of the role radish,sushi, and ramen soup play in boosting our immune system.

The relationship between food and the Immune system:

Indeed, the interrelationships between nutrition and immunity are two-way and complex. Like any organ or system, the immune system needs proteins, energy, and different types of vitamins to ensure its normal functions, based on cell division mechanisms and protein synthesis, and numerous enzymatic activities. For instance, these needs are clearly demonstrated by the susceptibility to infections observed during different types of malnutrition and deficiency, and which can result from alterations in so-called specific (B and T lymphocytes) or non-specific (phagocytic cells) immunity.

Conversely, activation of the immune system, which most often results from an infection, results in an inflammatory state and the production of mediators, cytokines, the effects of metabolism, and the metabolic system. For example, the hyper catabolism of acute and chronic infections, the cachexia of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), can cause a severe immune reaction.

This article will help you understand the different links between nutrition and immunity. However, the perception of these complex interrelationships already makes it possible to consider specific therapeutic approaches. What are the foods that boost our immune system to fight colds and infections?

What is the immune system?

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The immune system is a network of cells that organize themselves to defend our bodies against outside organisms, such as germs. This defense system is generally affected by directly eliminating the aggressor through specific cells (white blood cells) by devouring the intruder (phagocytosis) or producing various defense substances such as enzymes and cytokines or antimicrobial peptides. And different types of physical activities, as well as healthy and balanced diets in addition o following a healthy life pattern, can enhance a healthy life.

Yet the general design of our immune system is complex and mostly influenced by a certain balance of various factors, not just a diet, and particularly not by specific use of any nutrients. Yet, a diet that consists of various minerals and vitamins combined with some healthy lifestyle factors such as adequate sleep and exercise and low stress can boost the immune system and its functioning in different seasons, especially in Winter.

Composition of the immune System

The immune system exists in all living beings and is made up of two barriers that have a complementary role:

The first barrier;

innate immunity is made up of cells in our tissues, such as skin cells (keratinocytes) and immune cells such as white blood cells (polymorphs and macrophages). The role of this immunity is to eliminate, not specifically, but instantly, the aggressor by digesting it (phagocytosis) and causing an inflammatory reaction. The constituents of this inflammation (enzymes, free radicals, and cytokines) will help eliminate the intruder. Once digested, the foreign body debris will be used to specifically activate cells (lymphocytes) of the 2nd barrier of immunity.

The second barrier,

adaptive immunity, is specific and relies on T and B lymphocyte cells.

These lymphocytes, once educated, will specifically recognize the aggressor or its debris and then respond appropriately to suppress any intruder who may have survived the action of the 1st barrier of immunity. Each attacker will then be eliminated by the cytotoxic activity of the T lymphocytes and by the movement of the antibodies produced by the B lymphocytes.

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The immune system exists in all living beings and is made up of two barriers that have a complementary role:

During the first encounter with the aggressor, the lymphocyte response is quite slow compared to the innate immune response, which is more immediate. However, in the case of re-aggression, the lymphocyte response will be much faster because the lymphocytes have retained the memory of the aggressor, unlike innate immune cells, which do not have "immune memory."

How diet influences the immune system

Numerous studies have shown that there is a clear association between nutritional deficiencies and infectious and inflammatory processes. Indeed, there is evidence that a mother's state of malnutrition, whether by default or excess, can affect the child's immunity. This is especially true during the first years of life, although it has long-term metabolic consequences. Besides, nutrition during childhood and adolescence leads to the healthy functioning of the immune system in adulthood. Therefore, we need to understand that carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins play a fundamental role in the immune response and metabolism.


Carbohydrates (HC for carbohydrates) are important for the immune system and because there is a relationship between insulin and HC. This may explain the effect of HC on inflammation.

Some studies have shown that consuming simple and refined HCs reduces phagocyte levels while increasing inflammatory cytokines. However, fiber from complex (non-starch) HCs, found in fruits and vegetables, appears to reduce the inflammatory state.


The quality and amount of protein in the diet can affect the immune response. A protein deficiency can disrupt cell growth and repair and increase the risk of infection due to altered levels of antibody production.

The importance of protein in the diet is due to its ability to provide amino acids. Protein deficiencies influence immune-competent cells by impairing their ability to respond. Diets low in the amino acids tryptophan and phenylalanine have been shown to decrease antibody synthesis.


It should be noted the important role that fats play in immune function. Each type of fatty acid (FA), the main building block of fat, has different functions on people's immune systems.

For example, obesogenic diets - with an excess of saturated fat - have been linked to alterations in the inflammatory response. This leads to an increase in infections whether or not obesity is present.

On the other hand, omega-3 fatty acids reduce the primary inflammatory mediators and improve gut macrobiotics. The lower presence of inflammation mediators leads to a lower incidence of inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is mainly found in fresh fruits, especially kiwi, citrus fruits, red fruits. Everyone knows the role of Vitamin C in the defense against infections. This is a widely publicized property with obvious business impact.

It stimulates immune reactions by increasing the production of antibodies. This can indeed accelerate the maturation of immune cells, which then become effective against bacteria and viruses.

Athletes too often tend to increase their intake, resort to using supplements, while the specific physiological needs of the athlete are of the order of 300 to 500 mg/day, with an upper limit not to be exceeded of 600 mg/day.


The sources of Zinc are mainly represented by meats (liver), fish and seafood (oyster), whole grains (wholemeal bread) and will be stored in the body in bones and muscles. Zinc is also present in certain fruits and vegetables (orange, spinach, cabbage, beetroot, carrot) but much less readily available. Zinc participates in the functioning of the immune system. By this mechanism, it is thus strongly involved in cell growth processes, including the maturation of anti-infective blood cells.

Zinc deficiency gives only rare clinical signs, including immune deficiency, skin damage, and hair loss. These deficiencies can be observed in low-calorie diets with insufficient meat consumption or in vegetarian diets where the consumption of cereals does not always compensate for the insufficiency of animal products. Deficiencies have also been described in the long term; due to the sweat losses that increase sharply unless compensated.


Carrots are the leading source of beta-carotene foods, but they are really all fruits and vegetables with pigments other than green, namely yellow or red. This is the case with watermelon, tomato, grapefruit, pepper, pumpkin...

A member of the carotenoid family, beta-carotene is transformed into vitamin A. It has antioxidant action against free radicals but also an immune-stimulatory effort.


Classically described as the "anti-fatigue" or "anti-stress" trace element, we should mention that it also participates in the production of antibodies. We can find chocolate in seafood, chocolate, rice and whole meal bread, and certain mineral waters.

The Role of Radish, Sushi, and Ramen Soup in Boosting the Immune System:


Radishes are practically zero calories, no fat, and almost no carbohydrates. But they are an excellent source of vitamin C and nutrients. Indeed, Vitamin c, combined with zinc and with phosphorus, can greatly help you fight against the condition of dry skin, rashes, and acne. Vitamin C also plays an important role in stimulating the immune system, helps regulate metabolism, and helps convert fat into energy. Radish contains various antioxidants that are useful in preventing cancer.

Radishes are made of isothiocyanates, anthocyanins, kaempferol, peroxides. These components are characterized by their high existence in black radish than in different types of radish. They inhibit and slow down the development of cancer cells. They have a preventive action against certain cancers (lung, ovarian, colon, and kidney cancer). But to benefit from their strengths, it must be consumed several times a week.

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The first ingredient of Sushi is rice, which is low in calories and is rich in vitamin B1 and phosphorus, which can convert carbohydrates into energy and increase physical performance. Rice quickly brings the body to a feeling of fullness, ideal for cutting hunger while keeping your figure. And it's a perfect compromise for people with allergies to gluten.

As rich in protein as meat, fish provides many essential nutrients to the human body, such as potassium, selenium, phosphorus, iron, zinc. It also contains lipids of up to 20% for fish. Indeed, Sushi is usually made of tuna, salmon, and mackerel, which can greatly boost the function of the immune system. And rest assured, its good fats like unsaturated fatty acids and omega 3s can also promote good cardiovascular health.

Sushi is also made of nori seaweed used mainly in maki and California rolls which we tend to forget but also brings undeniable benefits! As the nutritional value of fish, seaweed is also a source of vitamin A, antioxidants, and vitamin C which protects against infections.


Ramen can be thought of as the equivalent of the Japanese version of pizza. Indeed, ramen is one of the most popular and common foods in the world. This is partly because the “ready-to-eat” version was released, in jars containing all the ingredients and in which you only need to pour hot water to have a hot dish, and very inexpensive.

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In addition to being an instant food, it's no secret that Ramen is characterized by different sorts of benefits, the most important of which is that Ramen can play a great role in improving your immune system. And in addition to being also economical for the pocket, Ramen is healthy food. It should also be mentioned that the basis of Ramen is pork broth, which is rich in protein which provides nutrients, a great source of minerals that also improves the immune system and the central nervous system. Ramen is also one of the easiest meats to digest, which allows you to add several ingredients to the recipe, as long as it is not high in fat and you have previously removed the excess just in case. In a daily intake, the caloric value of Ramen is usually 436 calories. Still, with this healthy option, the calorie intake is reduced to 370 calories which, when boiled and combined with delicious green tea, will help you define the body you are looking for.

So, we can say that Ramen is one of the dishes where chefs' creativity has been most stimulated in terms of culinary innovation. If you do not have the proper ingredients in your home, you would be interested in this collection of items and food recipes that you can find on this website:

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