Posted on Dec 13, 2022, 2 p.m.
You probably know by now that a healthy gut is essential for healthy digestion. But research shows many other reasons to improve your gut health. Namely, it can improve your mental health and mood, increase energy levels, balance weight, and many more. Moreover, recent studies have shown a direct link between gut health and the immune system. So, let’s take a closer look at how gut health benefits the entire immune system.
To determine how gut health benefits the entire immune system, you need to understand the link
The gut is the part of the body that helps us digest food and absorb all its nutrients. However, the food we ingest exposes our gut to many bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. That’s why the gut is home to many immune cells that protect our bodies from these external stimuli. Specifically, studies show that approximately 70% of our body’s immune cells live in our gut. Therefore, without a healthy gut, your body won’t be able to produce an adequate immune response.
Learn how to protect your gut health and immune system
Now that you understand how gut health benefits the entire immune system let’s see how you can protect it. That will benefit not only your immune system but your overall health as well.
As previously mentioned, food carries a lot of external stimuli, including dangerous pathogens like viruses and parasites. And given that everything you ingest reaches your gut, you should pay attention to your diet. Of course, our bodies are different. That’s why some people can’t tolerate certain types of food. Therefore, you should tread lightly. If something makes you feel unwell, stop consuming it.
Eat plenty of antioxidant-rich foods
Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals in your body that damage cells. The most common antioxidants are vitamins A, C, and E. These vitamins support gut health and are good immune system boosters. Here are some of the best antioxidant-rich foods that you should include in your diet:
- Fruits such as citrus fruits, berries, pears, cherries, etc.
- All types of fresh vegetables, such as cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, carrots, etc.
- Herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, thyme, basil, etc.
Include fermented foods
Fermented foods represent a great way to increase the number of good bacteria in your gut. The yeasts and bacteria found in these foods are also beneficial for reducing inflammation. In this case, some top choices are yogurt, kefir, Kombucha, and miso. But despite the benefits of fermented foods, you should include them in your diet gradually. Otherwise, your body will likely not tolerate them.
Eat omega-3 fats regularly
Omega-3 fats are very beneficial for gut bacteria. Specifically, they promote the growth of good bacteria and discourage the growth of bad bacteria. As a result, they reduce inflammation in your gut. And that’s not all. They can also relieve pain in people who have arthritis and prevent heart disease. You’ll find omega-3 fats in fish and seafood, seeds, nuts, and plant oils.
Eat more fiber
Fiber feeds the good bacteria in your gut. As a result, the bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). SCFAs help reduce inflammation and gut permeability and improve bowel movement. Some of the most beneficial fiber-rich foods for your gut are vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts.
Pay attention to what you drink as well
Staying hydrated is essential for your gut health. That’s why it’s important to drink plenty of water. However, other fluids are also beneficial. For instance, the soluble fiber and phenolic compounds feed gut bacteria. And surprisingly, even red wine compounds aid gut health by promoting the growth of good bacteria. Nevertheless, you should consume both coffee and red wine in moderation. Otherwise, you’ll do more harm than good to your gut.
Diet and exercise go hand in hand. On the one hand, staying active improves your overall health and immune system. On the other hand, studies show that moderate exercise helps reduce inflammation and gut permeability. Therefore, you should squeeze in a bit of exercise daily. It doesn’t have to be very intense. You can simply walk home from work and take the stairs whenever possible. Thirty minutes a day of moderate exercise will do wonders for your health.
Get enough sleep
You’re probably aware that getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for your physical and mental health. But you probably don’t know that sleep can lead to beneficial changes in the gut microbiome. Nevertheless, you need quality sleep to achieve these. So, ensure you exercise regularly, eat healthily, and avoid screens for one hour before bed. All of these things promote quality sleep.
Research shows that stress can change the composition of gut bacteria and increase gut permeability. It can also directly weaken your immunity system. Not to mention all the other physical and mental health issues it can cause. Therefore, reducing your stress levels should be a top priority. Of course, this is not always easy. Many people have stressful jobs, financial troubles, and hectic schedules. Nevertheless, you should find some ways to unwind. Exercise can be a great stress reliever, but you can also read a book, watch a movie, or find a new hobby.
As you’ve seen, there’s a direct link between your gut health and your immune system. And now that you understand how gut health benefits the entire immune system, you should focus on protecting it. After all, a good immune system will help you prevent and fight off diseases. The recommendations in this article don’t represent something new. They simply describe a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, if you choose to apply them, this will be beneficial for your overall health, not just your gut health.
Author’s bio: Diane F. Trujillo has been a content writer for Professional Movers Canada for three years. While she is passionate about helping people adjust after relocation, she also wants to help them live long and happy lives. In her downtime, she enjoys going hiking with her two sons.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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