Gut health: the key to a strong immune system
Why your gut health is critical to your overall health, especially your immune system
Today now more than ever its essential to stay as healthy as possible. The immune system is our body’s defense against illness and disease. Approximately 70% of our immune system lives in the gut, which makes it important to maintain the proper balance of this delicate “ecosystem”.
The word “gut” refers to your stomach and intestines. The health of your gut is measured by the amount and types of bacteria that reside in your gastrointestinal tract which impacts your overall wellness.
Signs of poor gut health may include digestive symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and indigestion. However, other symptoms that are not necessarily associated with digestion may include:
- Headaches, fatigue, joint pain
- Mood and stress
- Bad breath
An imbalance of bacteria and/or the overgrowth of fungi may contribute to an unhealthy gut. Diet is the main cause of these imbalances. Generally, many of us do not get the recommended amount of fiber in our diets, and processed foods that do not contain the nutrition our bodies need also contribute to poor gut health.
Enzymes, plus probiotic and prebiotic supplements can help repair gut health. Adding more whole foods to your diet, which include vegetables, beans and whole grains are also good for your gut.
HERE ARE SOME FOODS THAT CAN HELP:
- Yogurt — When choosing a yogurt, it is important to look for ones that say “live active cultures.” This is the healthy bacteria that helps prevent intestinal infections.
- Kombucha Tea — This is a fermented tea that can have a tangy and vinegar-like taste to it. It becomes naturally carbonated as it ferments and is full of live, active cultures.
- Sauerkraut — This fermented cabbage has been around for centuries. The fermenting stage makes sure that it is full of live, active cultures that are beneficial to the gut. Other fermented foods like Kimchi and pickles are beneficial too.
- Mangos — A study by Oklahoma State University has shown that incorporating a mango a day into your diet can improve your gut health.
- Coconut Oil — Coconut oil contains fatty acids that kill harmful yeast and bacteria while restoring your stomach’s acidity levels.
- Salmon — Wild salmon contains an abundancy of omega-3 fatty acids, which is an anti-inflammatory that can help heal gut inflammation. For maximum benefits, opt for wild-caught instead of farm-raised.
- Garlic — Garlic is a prebiotic, meaning that it feeds and fuels the existing good bacteria already present in your gut.
- Bone Broth — This is a stock made from the bones and marrow of a chicken or cow and then slowly cooked for 24-to-72 hours. The slow cooking process causes the minerals and amino acids to populate the broth making it a nutrient-rich food.
Remember, your gut health is crucial to your overall health. By making a few simple food and lifestyle changes, you can experience noticeable results in a short time. For long-term gut health, maintain a whole foods diet while eliminating processed foods, beverages, soda, excessive spices and refined sugars, including high fructose corn syrup.