More than 70% of our immune system resides in our gastrointestinal system, aka the gut. Nutrition, fitness, sleep, stress, and the environment all have a direct effect on our gut health. If there is any dysfunction in the gut, it can weaken our immune system.
With the current pandemic and cold and flu season, there are many ways we can keep our gut strong and healthy.
The most important way to keep your gut healthy is following a well-balanced, nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory nutrition plan.
I’m just going to keep it plain and simple.
Gluten, grains, dairy, and processed sugars are the top inflammatory foods that can cause gut dysfunction. Try taking these foods out of your diet for 10-14 days, and see how you feel. Monitor energy, focus, sleep, and your digestion. And don’t worry, there are many healthy foods to fill up your plate. You can choose from many varieties of organic fruits and vegetables to eat alongside grass fed meats, organically raised poultry, and wild caught seafood. Nuts, and a variety of seeds can also be eaten. As for sweeteners, local honey, pure maple syrup, Stevia, monk fruit, and coconut sugar can all be used in moderation.
Along with eating a whole foods based diet, try adding in some gut healing foods that are both delicious and easy to prepare. Bone broth, ginger, sauerkraut, kefir, turmeric, kombucha, pineapple, garlic, and apple cider vinegar are powerful foods that can keep our gut strong and healthy.
Vitamin A, D, E, C, K, zinc, glutamine, magnesium, selenium, B-vitamins, and fatty acids are all key nutrients needed for normal gut function. A whole foods based diet should be able to provide all of these nutrients. Supplementation can be used to help fill in any gaps in nutrition.
Staying active and keep the body moving is important to maintain our gut and overall health. Studies show that physical activity can promote healthy gut flora. Aim for at least 8,000-10,000 steps per day.
When we are asleep, our body is repairing and recovering. With sleep deprivation, there are appetite controlling hormones that can become imbalanced and lead to overeating and gut dysfunction. For restorative sleep, try to be asleep between the hours of 10pm and 2am, and aim for at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
Stress, especially long term, can have negative effects on the gut. There is always constant communication between the gut and the brain. Stress can cause leaky gut, IBS, GERD, ulcers, and many other negative conditions, which can weaken our immune system. Yoga, meditation, exercise, and journaling are all ways we can manage stress. Check out more helpful tips on our blog on managing stress.
At The Wellness Centre, we have many tools to make sure your gut and immune system are strong and healthy. If you feel like your gut health is not optimal, you may be lacking vital nutrients. We recommend both Micronutrient testing and a comprehensive GI test. Schedule an appointment with us today, and we can help you optimize your overall health.
Stay safe and healthy!
The Wellness Centre Team