With the new year fastly approaching, we are all wary of what 2021 has in store for us. As the pandemic continues to roll through our world, it is important now more than ever to make sure we are taking the right steps to enhance our immune system. Making sure to optimize our immunity and boost our gut health are essential in ensuring we can still look forward to 2021 and all the promising growth that is going to come along with it.
If you want to support your immune system, go with your gut! Your gut microbiome calls all the shots when it comes to most things within your body, and your immune response is no exception. In fact, 70% of our immune system resides within our gut. Making sure we have a strong communication between our gut and our immune system is vital!
Your gut is made up of a colony of bacteria, and other microorganisms that live within your digestive tract. They help to break down the food you provide as nourishment, as well as sending signals to your immune system when it’s time to get in defense mode. The population and diversity of your microbiome is quite impressive, and although you want to make sure your “good” gut bacteria are flourishing; it’s all about keeping a healthy balance. Having a diverse and thriving microbiome is a necessity. So how do we ensure we are providing these little guys with the right nourishment to produce a healthy environment? With the food we place on our plates of course!
Eating a diet that is rich in fiber and a diverse variety of plant foods is optimal for gut health! Increasing your consumption of low-glycemic fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and naturally fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, or kimchi can all help in the growth of those good gut bacteria that we all need. Soups and broths are also a very important staple in the diet of one looking to increase their gut health. Not only are they comforting during these chilly fall months, but they also offer a plethora of health benefits to our gut and immune system!
When you were younger and not feeling your best, do you remember your mom or grandmother slowly simmering bones and veggies in a stock pot on your stove? Why was it that as soon as you took your first few sips, you seemed to instantly feel better? Is this because of the love and comfort it was made with or the science behind the abundance of nutrients that resided within it? Maybe it’s a little bit of both!
Bone broth is an amazing staple that should be incorporated into your diet to help aid in boosting your immune system, whether you are sick or not! This delicious, slowly stewed soup is jam packed full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that help to rebuild any damage you may have done to your intestinal tract, allowing your body to naturally help tackle any nutrient deficiencies you may have and strengthen your immune system.
Another food that should be incorporated into your diet for maximum immune health support is mushrooms. Historically called the “food of gods”, these medicinal plants have been used for centuries to boost the health of humans. They not only help to support a healthy immune response, but are also powerful antioxidants that encourage health and vitality within our immune system. There are specific types of mushrooms that are more beneficial than others when it comes to our gut, so it’s important to consume the right kinds when using them for health purposes.
Probiotics are the live microorganisms that are found in naturally fermented foods or supplements. They have been shown to promote the production of natural antibodies in the body, helping to boost your immune system and maintain a healthy balance of bacteria. Adding fermented foods into your diet such as kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut, along with a high-quality probiotic supplement can help to support these reactions that come with the changing weather.
This herb has been used for its antioxidant properties for ages. Research shows that it may help to support a healthy inflammatory response, resulting in better digestion and immune boosting effects. It’s ideal to pair turmeric with ginger and black pepper, as this trio helps with absorption in the bloodstream and increases restorative benefits.
Avoiding certain foods is equally as important as incorporating specific foods when trying to boost your immune system. There is much research to support that refined and processed foods can increase inflammation and suppress your immune system for hours after ingesting! Some of the foods to try to eliminate include:
Our immune system relies heavily on nutrient-dense, whole foods in order to function properly. Eat a wide variety of colorful foods to ensure you are getting an adequate amount of whole foods in your diet! Some of these foods include:
Promoting a healthy diet for yourself can be what pushes your immune system over the top. Eating a diet full of the traditional processed and refined foods suppresses the immune system and does not provide the body with the essential nutrients it needs in order to protect and heal itself. If you want to optimize your immune health to increase your chances of staying healthy and happy during this holiday season and new year, make sure to nurture your body with the healthiest foods possible!