Immunity booster: Gut health & probiotics
Compromised immune system? Here’s what to do.
The first step in strengthening your immune system and protecting your body from viruses and bacteria is optimizing your gut health. That’s right, gut health has a huge impact on our immune systems.
How are gut health and the immune system related?
About 70% of the immune system’s cells are housed in the gut. The human body is home to thousands of species of microbes, and the gut’s microbiome is key in the development of white blood cells – which fight off infections, viruses, and bacteria that enter the body. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine also uncovered that certain cells in the gut lining spend their entire existence pumping antibodies into the gut. Which means the key to boosting your immune system lies in the gut.
Probiotics and gut health
We know that probiotics, or so-called “good bacteria” play an important role in gut health. Probiotics are also a great immunity booster. Dr. Jessica Wei, a physician at Ciba health, explains the 5 R’s of gut health:
REMOVE toxic foods and stress
REPLACE digestive enzymes
REPAIR your gut lining
RESTORE healthy bacteria
REBALANCE your lifestyle to keep a healthy gut
Restoring healthy bacteria points to the importance of probiotics, which not only support gut health but also aid in the maintenance of the immune system – by strengthening our current immunity and also reducing pathogen-related inflammation throughout the body.
Probiotic foods to incorporate into your diet
Eating a balanced diet with foods that contain “healthy bacteria” or probiotics – can help strengthen your immune response and ward off viruses and bacteria. Here are some foods to start adding to your diet:
- Yogurt (look for “live and active cultures” on the label)
- Sauerkraut (refrigerated)
- Pickles (refrigerated)
- Sourdough bread
- Some cheeses