As we are now getting back to our lives, and more and more people are returning to work and school, our immune systems are going to be challenged with opportunistic viruses and bacteria. It is more important now than ever to focus on steps to keeping our body healthy, and that starts with looking after your immune system – your first line of defence against foreign invaders like viruses or bacteria.
Around 70% of your immune system lies in your gut, so it is very important to keep your gut health optimal and that starts with eating foods that will help promote our good gut bacteria to grow.
We all know that processed foods are not good for us as they cause metabolic issues, but the most important reason why junk food is not good for you is that it is literally junk going into your stomach. Your bacteria in your gut do not need junk. Your gut needs real food rich in vitamins and minerals. That is why a diet rich in vegetables and fruit, and fibre are so important for the gut, as they are beneficial in feeding the good bacteria.
Below are some of my suggestions to improve your immune system:
Eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha are great natural probiotics that contain living microorganisms that help to nourish the good bacteria in your gut.
Prebiotics on the other hand are food for the friendly bacteria to help them grow. Dietary fibre such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are some examples of prebiotics.
Some sources of prebiotics include asparagus, onion, garlic, bananas, oats, apple and cruciferous vegetables which are great prebiotics such as cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts.
Resistant starches such as lentils, peas, beans, cooked and cooled potatoes are some other sources of prebiotics.
There are foods that can negatively influence your microbiome. Examples include:
- Saturated and trans fats
- Processed foods
- Additives and emulsifiers
- Artificial sweeteners
The human gut contains over 100 trillion microorganisms. One of its functions is to protect against pathogens. Since 70-80% of your immune cells are in the gut, it’s very important to keep your gut healthy. Probiotics can play a role in rebalancing gut flora, without disturbing the gut’s natural balance. A probiotic that has helped aid my recovery is Progurt Probiotic sachets. Progurt has over 1 trillion CFU beneficial bacteria per sachet and moreover each sachet contains multiple human isolates, which are identical to that found in a healthy gut from birth. I find it much more powerful than other probiotics you find on the shelves! You can purchase Progurt sachets on my shop here
There are also vitamins that are very important for the immune system and your wellbeing. One of the most important is Vitamin C. Foods containing Vitamin C include:
- Citrus foods; oranges, limes and lemons
When I’m sick with a cold or flu, my go to is Liposomal Vitamin C. Liposomal Vitamin C passes through the intestinal wall and maximises the bioavailability and delivery of Vitamin C to the bloodstream and inside each cell in the body. Liposomal Vitamin C is unlike the common powders you find at chemists and health food shops which are later excreted through your urine. You can find a high-quality liposomal Vitamin C at a discounted price at my shop here
Vitamin D, which is a bit harder to source from food, is very important as a vitamin to keep your immune system optimal. Vitamin D unlike vitamin C is fat soluble, so it can store in your body for a longer time. Even a small exposure to the sun can offer positive benefits, so going outside and taking advantage of the sun in smaller incriminates Is very important for your Vitamin D levels.
When I was sick in 2009 from a horrible virus and I ended up getting CFS, doctors never mentioned Vitamin D levels. It wasn’t until I saw an alternative practitioner who had my Vitamin D levels checked to find it was terribly low at 17 nmol/L, with optimal levels to be at 50-75 nmol/L or higher. For my complete health journey, please visit my blog post here
Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish like sardines, salmon and fish, and egg yolks. For vegetarians or vegans, the best source of Vitamin D is in mushrooms, but more than anything, sunshine is the most effective way to get that vital Vitamin D your body needs.
Zinc is another powerful mineral that I am passionate about when it comes to the immune system. Zinc is responsible for the activity of more than 300 enzymes in the body that rely on digestion, a healthy nervous system and metabolism. Your body needs zinc to fight off infections.
Food sources of zinc are in shellfish (especially oysters), poultry, fish and eggs. Plant based sources of zinc include legumes, nuts, seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), mushrooms, kale and asparagus.
Elderberries are rich in Vitamin C, Quercetin and Vitamin A with multiple bioflavonoids (plant-based antioxidants). Elderberry is a natural remedy with antiviral properties. Studies have shown that compounds from elderberries can directly inhibit many common viruses and replication in human cells, and can help strengthen a person’s immune response. I love taking my elderberry syrup everyday as my immune support.
You can get an all-natural, locally produced Elderberry Syrup at 10% off using our GUT10 promotion code.
There is a lot of research on the importance of sleep and the immune system, especially due to a hormone that aids in sleep called melatonin. So, making sure you get good quality, undisturbed sleep is very important for your wellbeing.
Finally, avoid stress and keep calm as much as possible! When we are stressed and in a state of fear, the immune system’s ability to fight off infections is reduced. Stress and fear cause a hormone in your body called cortisol to increase. As cortisol increases, it can suppress your immune system and its effectiveness at fighting off any viruses or bacteria.
Supporting your immune system through small changes can go a long way to improve your overall health and therefore wellbeing. What positive changes will you make today?
Lots of love and good health,
Gut Nutrition and Wellness 💖