How Gut Health Affects Immune System
We hear about it in the news, in so many advertisements, seemingly everywhere we look – it’s all about the immune system! So, what exactly is the immune system? The immune system is complex, with each cell designated for a specific role to recognize potential problems to prevent or limit threats to your health. It is an amazing collaboration of many biological processes to protect your body against invaders like: bacteria, viruses, fungi, toxins or parasites and even dysfunctional cells.
A huge portion, as much as 70%, of your immune system is in your gut. Recent evidence shows the gut microflora is actively involved in managing your immune system by communicating with other cells and systems to control the interaction of threats to your body and health.
Your gut is hard at work every day to maintain the right level of good bacteria, also called probiotics, in your body. Good bacteria keeps you healthy by supporting your immune function and controlling inflammation. While your body does produce its own probiotics, there are some extra things you can do to help keep the number of good bacteria at proper levels while also supporting your gut health and immune system.
- Reduce your stress. We know that stress can cause sleep disorders, digestive disorders and negatively impact your well-being.
- Eat more whole foods vs. processed foods. Aim for increasing a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your diet. Studies have shown that highly processed foods can limit the growth of healthy of gut bacteria and lead to inflammation over time
- Don’t forget the fiber! Some reports show that only about 5% of the US population eats an adequate amount of fiber each day. Fiber is not only great for regularity, but helps strengthen the gut, remove toxins, maintain good blood sugar levels, maintain good heart health markers – and it helps feed the good bacteria.
- Increase your daily intake of probiotics. Probiotics ARE the good bacteria we need to support a healthy gut and immune system.