Gut health for immunity:
The importance of gut health has been rapidly evolving globally. The more we learn, the more we understand that our digestive system’s health connects to everything in our bodies, from our brain health to the immune system, chronic disease, weight, mood, and more. The gut comprises 80% of the immune system and is its largest organ. Everything you consume passes through your gut – pathogens, toxins, microbes; so, it is no surprise that the digestive tract is the most significant link to the rest of the body.
An inefficient or inadequate gut microbiome leads to health issues including food sensitivities, inflammation, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, depression, and more. It is essential to nourish your microbiome with a diverse set of micronutrients. Additionally, what most people don’t realize is that the gut and health are in constant communication. What is happening on the inside is reflected on the outside.
The gut is like a second brain:
The gut microbiome is your unique blueprint with its own nervous system. This microbiome is also called the “second brain.” The primary reason for this is that the gut-brain axis connects to the vagus nerve which interfaces with the heart, lungs, and digestive tract’s parasympathetic control. A recent study showed that 90% of serotonin, the mood stabilizer, is stored in the gut. Serotonin’s action plays a massive role in vital functions such as sleep, pain sensitivity, and appetite.
When gut health is appropriately activated and optimized, you have a better chance of taking cues from what your gut is telling you. With improved digestion and the gut’s heightened function, you can pay better attention to that “gut feeling.” Supporting optimal gut function is a great way to strengthen your intuition and build self-trust.
How your gut protects the body:
The gut is comparable to a thriving ecosystem. The immune system is a vital system that protects you from foreign and detrimental invaders. When the immune system does not work optimally, it will not go unnoticed. You might feel run down, and your deficiencies become too weak to fight. Viruses and bacteria see these weaknesses as opportunities to take over the body. When your gut is sufficiently nourished, it is properly fueled for a better defense system and has a solid ability to protect against autoimmune disease, digestive issues, and skin irritants. In time, with proper practice, the immune system forms a relationship with the gut microbiome to strengthen and develop both the gut and the immune system as a whole. They support one another to create a happy, healthy mind and body.
What to limit or avoid to protect your gut microbiome:
Vitamin deficiencies, digestive issues, skin issues, autoimmune diseases, chronic stress, and mental illness could be a sign your gut is already imbalanced with an overgrowth of harmful bacteria.
Here are a few ways to reverse the symptoms:
- Limit sugars, artificial sweeteners, and high processed fats: these will disrupt the gut microbiome and accelerate the aging process
- Avoid processed foods and limit meat: highly processed meats can increase the risk of colon cancer
- Reduce emulsifiers: soy, canola oil, and guar gum can increase inflammation and disrupt the gut microbiome
- Limit antibiotics and NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin: these can damage the gut lining and eradicate good gut bacteria
- Limit situations that lead to chronic stress: too much of this can compromise digestion and lead to unhealthy coping habits
How to balance your gut microbiome:
- Eat the rainbow: a variety of whole foods such as grains, nuts, veggies, beans, and fresh fruits equals more diversity, which equals a diverse gut microbiome
- Include fermented foods with beneficial bacteria such as sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kombucha, and miso
- Incorporate prebiotics: garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, dandelion greens, and apples act as the “fertilizers” for the gut “soil”
- Focus on probiotics: look for ones with 23-30 billion CFUs (colony forming units)
- Prioritize mental and emotional well-being: consistent active movement will support healthy digestion and a stable gut microbiome
Maintaining good gut health is key to improving and stabilizing overall health and immune function. By making simple and appropriate lifestyle and dietary changes to your biodiversity, you can alter the gut’s diversity and microbes. Better gut health will lead to a more robust and efficient immune system.
Information provided by Arootah is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should consult your physician or other licensed health care professional before starting any diet, exercise plan or regimen, or any other fitness or wellness program. This is particularly true if you or your family have a history of high blood pressure or heart disease, or if you have ever experienced discomfort while exercising. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information made available through our Programs and Services.