The gut and the immune system- what is the link?
The body is under an immense amount of pressure in the winter, the common cold and the flu are more frequent as germs spread more readily when we are indoors trying to stay warm together. It can result in your immune response being more sluggish and can also have a knock-on effect on your gut health. You can still feel your best at this time of year by boosting your immune system and your gut naturally.
Why does supporting your gut help your immune response?
It is important to note that your immune cells cannot do their job if your gut is not happy. Understanding the link between the two can help to improve your body's ability to fight infections. Discover how you can best support the gut and immune system by reading on:
Firstly, let us have a little recap of what the immune system is:
The immune system exists to help protect us from disease and illness. It attacks threats and also makes sure that our bodies are running smoothly on a day to day basis. Your immune system works harder during the winter months due to being exposed to more infection opportunities.
You may not have known that roughly 70-80% of your active immune cells are in the gut. Proving that to look after one, you need to keep the other in mind.
The gut has evolved in a way that helps your body's immune cells differentiate between harmful germs, body tissue, and healthy bacteria; letting the immune system know where it needs to respond.
To remain in good health; you need to have healthy gut bacteria.
Problems in the gut can make you more susceptible to feeling run down or picking up other illnesses. The immune system is like a boundary; it responds in a healing manner if it senses something is not right. If you want to fix your health; then you need to start by keeping your gut in good shape.
A way of improving your gut health is to rebalance it, some ideas of doing this include:
- Replace the needed enzymes, fibre, and prebiotics through eating varieties of fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
- Add good bacteria to the gut in the form of probiotics. These are in foods like yoghurt, kombucha and kefir.
- Repair the gut lining with zinc, glutamine, and other healing nutrients through supplements.
How can I support my gut and immune system?
A few simple lifestyle tweaks can help you to support your gut bacteria and immunity.
We have previously touched on how to give your immune system a boost. The same applies to maintaining a healthy gut environment – getting enough sleep and exercise paired with reducing stress levels and eating a healthy, balanced diet.
You can assist in maintaining a healthy gut environment; by eating the right foods. By including foods that are high in nutrients like vitamins, minerals, probiotics and prebiotics into your meals, your body can produce the substances that are beneficial for your gut. There are examples of these below.
The trick is to optimise your lifestyle for a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut, maximising the immune system ability to do its job and rise to challenges it may face.
Probiotic and prebiotic – What is the difference?
Probiotics are the good gut bacteria that is found naturally in your gut. These active cultures help change or repopulate intestinal bacteria to balance out your gut flora. If you want to find out more about probiotics, have a look at our blog here.
Prebiotics, however, are types of fibre that feed the friendly bacteria within the digestive system. They are in fruits and vegetables like berries, Jerusalem artichokes and asparagus.
Consuming balanced amounts of both probiotics and prebiotics can help ensure you have the right balance of bacteria to improve your gut health. Sometimes you might struggle to get all those kinds of immune-boosting foods into your diet, so an easier way of tackling this is by introducing supplements into your daily routine.
One supplement that is perfect in supporting both your gut health and immune system; is our award-winning Green Magic superfood powder blend. Featuring, two sources of probiotics to promote normal digestion and boost your immune system. As well as being a good source of dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals, it can help to rebalance the gut.
Top Tip: Add a tablespoon of Green Magic into a morning smoothie bowl as a yummy way of getting the nutrients you need and to help power you through the day!
Turmeric supplements are another way of supporting the function of your gut and immune system.
The active component within turmeric, Curcumin has prebiotic properties. It is a fuel source for the healthy gut bacteria; helping them grow in numbers. It also helps make changes to the gut microbiota, whilst also supporting the connection between the gut and the immune system. Curcumin also helps to reduce inflammation in the intestines and strengthens the gut barrier function.
You can find both Green Magic and Turmeric Extract on our website, alongside our other products that can support your immune health.
In summary: a healthy gut is the key to a healthy immune system.