There is always a lot of talk about ways to stay healthy. As a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, there has even been discussion about how to boost your immune system. What’s often left out of the conversation is the critical connection between a healthy gut and a healthy immune system. In this article, I will share a proven step-by-step approach to gut health that will also supercharge your immune system.
Gut Health And The Immune System
Yes, a healthy gut lining and a proper balance of beneficial bacteria are instrumental in keeping us safe from outside invaders. Here is how your gut and immune system are linked. First, there is a mucus membrane and a thin layer of mucus lining your gut (both small and large intestines). This lining acts as a barrier; keeping dangerous germs from freely entering your bloodstream.
When this mucus layer is healthy it is the home of large numbers of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) that work to help the body extract nutrients from food. This is a great relationship. The bacteria get a comfortable home and in return, they help us stay nourished. The arrangement is also great for the white blood cells that are assigned to guard your gut wall. With a strong lining in place, white blood cells don’t have to worry about being overwhelmed by unfriendly germs entering the body.
Unfortunately, sometimes things good wrong and this harmonious arrangement is ruined. For example, too much-processed food, not enough fiber, or too many rounds of antibiotics can lead to the destruction of our friendly bacteria. When this happens our mucus lining deteriorates and the immune system loses its first line of defense.
When germs and other microscopic particles start to seep through the wall of the intestines, we can experience something called “leaky gut syndrome”. A leaky gut can overburden the immune system and increase inflammation throughout the entire body. At this point, our hormonal system, energy production system, and immune systems become compromised. This often leads to chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
How To Enhance Gut Health To Boost Immunity
Now that we see one way that our gut and the immune system works together to keep us safe and health, let’s look at ways to promote both gut health and stronger immunity. Below are a few basic tips for improving overall gut health and supercharging your immune system.
Prebiotics are fiber-rich food that enhances the growth of friendly (probiotic) bacteria in your gut. Some good examples of prebiotic-rich food include; asparagus, apples, bananas, flaxseeds, and artichokes.
Eat Fermented Foods
Most fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha are good sources of probiotic bacteria that can help limit the population of disease-causing (unfriendly) bacteria in the gut.
Don’t Over Do It With Processed Foods
Eating too many foods full of sugar, artificial sweeteners, and harmful preservatives may cause gut dysbiosis, which is an imbalance of gut microbes mentioned above (too many unfriendly bacteria).
Multiple studies have pointed out that the Standard American Diet (SAD), is high in processed sugar and bads fats that negatively impact the gut. One of the most common ways to damage your gut is to eat a diet full of highly-processed foods.
Avoid Excessive Antibiotic Use
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), doctors in the United States prescribe around 30% of antibiotics unnecessarily.
Antibiotics are damaging to the gut bacteria and the immune system. Research shows us that even 6 months after antibiotic use, the gut still lacks several species of beneficial bacteria.
Before starting antibiotic confirm with your doctor that they are the best alternative. Most importantly, you should follow the prescription instructions carefully.
A supercharged immune system is a function of a healthy gut system. The immune systems depend largely on support from a healthy gut. Probiotics in the gut lining play a vital role in curbing the presence of disease-causing microorganisms in the body.
Some simple-to-adopt ways to enhance gut health and also boost immunity include eating fermented foods, fiber-rich vegetables, and limiting highly refined foods such as sugar, flour, and dairy.
What Do You Think?
Have you ever experienced gut problems?