Your gut is constantly working to try and keep your body in a state of homeostasis. Your digestive tract is responsible for numerous jobs like digesting food, energy production, hormone balance, mental health, and maintaining a healthy immune system.
You may be surprised to hear that about 70% of your immune system is located in the gut. This means that keeping your gut in peak condition is key to supporting a strong and robust immune system. Your immune system is highly dependent on your gut health. If you want to fight off illness and foreign invaders effectively, your gut needs to be in tip-top shape.
6 Ways To Boost Your Gut Health and Immune System
- Eat Fermented Foods
- Get Prebiotic Fiber
- Take a Probiotic Supplement
- Manage Stress
- Exercise Regularly
- Get Plenty Of Sleep
To understand the relationship between our gut and our immune system, let's first explore what gut health is and why it is so important.
What is Gut Health?
For the last decade, extensive research has been done on how the gut affects your health. Gut health isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a complex system that can have a massive impact on your entire body.
Gut health describes the fine balance between “good” and “bad” bacteria in the digestive tract and the roles they perform in the body. Your gut microbiome is made up of trillions of microorganisms that live in your intestines. Things like bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms make up the microbes in your intestines. It’s thought that the average person has between 300 to 500 species of bacteria in the gut. While some organisms are harmful, the majority of bacteria is beneficial to the gut and your overall health.
Why is gut health so important?
For millions of years, humans have evolved to live with microbes. These microbes have an incredible role to play in human health. Without these microbes in our gut microbiome, humans probably wouldn’t have survived.
At the very beginning of your human experience, you’re exposed to microbes in your mother’s birth canal. As you get older and experience different life events, your gut microbiome becomes more diverse. High microbiome diversity is linked to better health. It’s good to have many different types of bacteria living in your gut.
As you continue to grow, your gut starts to play a key role in some of your most basic human functions. Your gut microbiome helps digest breast milk, fiber, vitamins & minerals. It also helps to control how your immune system works and responds to infection.
Related: 7 Benefits Of A High Fiber Diet
How Gut Health Influences Your Immune System
The latest science continues to show the beneficial relationship between the gut microbiome, what you eat, and the immune system. By supporting your gut health, you can help to strengthen your immune system
The body is full of microorganisms that help you to maintain homeostasis. Homeostasis is the term used to describe any self-regulating process that brings your biological systems to a level that is suitable for optimal survival. For example, humans have an internal body temperature that keeps everything in proper working order. When you shiver in the cold or sweat in the heat, it’s your body trying to maintain homeostasis by getting your body back to its base temperature.
The bacteria in the gut influences the balance of the immune system. So, when you have an unbalanced gut flora, harmful pathogens have the opportunity to disrupt the immune system. Considering your gut wall makes up a large part of your immune system, it’s not surprising that to fix your health, you should start with your gut. Many seemingly unrelated diseases like IBS, acne, mood disorders, autism, and dementia can actually be caused by your gut.
The field of research into the gut and the immune system is expanding every day. You can and do change your gut ecosystem regularly by eating different foods. This means you can influence your immune system by supporting a diverse and healthy gut through the foods you eat. Take the time to boost your gut health and immune system with the right foods.
How to Boost Your Gut Health and Immune System
Looking after the health of your gut is key to a robust immune system. Maintaining the right balance of good microorganisms is essential to your physical and mental health. Many elements of modern society can wreak havoc on the gut microbiome. Things like stress, little sleep, antibiotics, and high-sugar and processed foods all negatively affect the gut. Signs of an unhealthy gut include sleep disturbances, unintentional weight changes, food intolerances, and autoimmune conditions.
Here Are The Best Ways To Strengthen Your Gut To Support A Strong Immune System.
1. Eat Fermented Foods
Fermented foods go through a process where sugars are broken down by yeast and bacteria. This helps to preserve the food and offers beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, for the gut when consumed. Probiotics are associated with lots of benefits like boosting immunity, improved digestion, and even weight loss.
Related: 3 Fermented Foods for a Healthy Gut
Try adding fermented foods to your diet like:
2. Get Prebiotic Fiber
Probiotics feed on non-digestible carbohydrates called prebiotics. Prebiotics help the good bacteria to multiply in your gut. Research shows that prebiotics may help probiotics to become more resilient to environmental changes in the gut. To improve your gut health, it’s a good idea to include prebiotic-rich fiber in your diet to feed beneficial bacteria and support your immune system.
Here are some prebiotic-rich foods to try:
- Dandelion Greens
- Whole grains
3. Take A Probiotic Supplement
To boost your beneficial bacteria, some people choose to take a probiotic supplement. Although probiotics can be consumed through fermented foods, they also come in supplement form. If you want to increase your probiotic intake easily, then a supplement is a great option.
Sunwarrior’s probiotics contain soil-based organisms to help your digestive system flourish. Unlike other probiotic supplements, the microorganisms in Sunwarrior probiotics are naturally resistant to the harsh environment in the digestive system. A good probiotic supplement will include prebiotics to help feed the good bacteria and give your gut microbiome the best opportunity to thrive.
4. Manage Stress
Your gut health is massively influenced by what you eat, however, there are other factors that come into play. Like many parts of the body, stress can have a big impact on your gut health. Stress management is an important part of maintaining a healthy gut. Different stressors can affect the gut from environmental to psychological and sleep disruption.
To keep your stress levels down, try to incorporate things like meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises into your routine. Following a healthy diet, sleeping, and regular exercise all help with reducing stress and feeling calm.
5. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise is great for stress and maintaining a healthy weight. Research shows that exercise boosts the gut microbiome. It helps to reduce inflammation and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Exercise is a great way to guard against obesity. It’s thought that changes to the gut caused by exercise may improve metabolic function which helps to maintain a healthy weight. Studies show that even a modest exercise regime can give benefits to the gut. The next time you think about taking the elevator, go for the stairs instead. Small changes add up to big results.
6. Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting enough consistent, quality sleep is the foundation of good health. Quality sleep can help to improve your mood, cognitive skills, and gut health. Even a tiny amount of sleep loss can interrupt your gut microbiome. When you sleep poorly, your gut begins to suffer, which can impact a lot of functions in the body, including your immune system.
For example, people who suffer from insomnia and restless sleep tend to struggle with depression. Depression has been linked to poor gut health. Your gut is a complex system that affects multiple areas of your health. From your immune system to your mental health, it’s clear that the gut has a big role to play.
Related: Gut Health Bundle
At a time where strengthening the immune system is at the top of everyone’s mind, it’s important to understand how integral your gut health is to your overall health. The good news is that what you eat and your lifestyle can improve and boost your gut to help strengthen your immune system and feel your best. Whether it’s taking a probiotic supplement or integrating more fermented foods into your diet, start by making small changes. The bottom line is that what makes you feel good like getting enough sleep, taking regular exercise, and eating right will support a healthy gut and immune system.
Biologic immunity is the body’s ability to defend itself from nasty bugs and despicable diseases. Simply put, it’s the body’s personal Department of Defense.
Want to Learn More? Read our Essential Guide To Gut Health here:
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