The immune system’s health and efficiency are intimately correlated with the condition of your digestive system. The gut microbiome plays a variety of beneficial tasks, including managing your metabolism, mood, cognition, hunger, digestion, and immunity – with between 70-80% of your immune cells present in the gut. Vital information for people that burn the candle at both ends this winter.
Supporting a healthy gut-immune response is a multi-factorial process. Author and nutritional therapist, Eve Kalinik, suggests 6 ways to support your gut health this year:
Aim for 30 plants a week– Increasing our overall plant diversity supports a more diverse gut microbiome and immune system. This can be from vegetables, fruit, whole grains and nuts & seeds as well as spices and herbs. Consider making up nut & seed mixes that you can sprinkle over soups, salads, cooked vegetables, overnight oats and more.
Consume Gut Nourishing Foods – This includes organic bone broth, fermented foods, mushrooms, seeds, nuts, salmon, mackerel, prawns, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, spinach and more. Spices such as turmeric also contain vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, amino acids and types of fibre that all help to support the health of the gut and the immune system. Try making up a stewed apple compote with cinnamon that you can serve alongside breakfast or as a tasty snack.
Supplementation – Whilst a food-first approach is recommended, if you are struggling to get enough fibre to support your gut health from your diet, you could also consider using a high-fibre supplement, such as Bimuno. Bimuno is an award-winning, scientifically-backed prebiotic supplement that feeds bifidobacteria, a ‘good bacteria’ found in the gut, connected with digestive health, immunity, and mental wellbeing. Gluten-free and taste-free, the sachet powder can be added to any food or drink and is shown to begin working in just 7 days of routine daily use.
Include key co-factor nutrients – Vitamin C and zinc are integral for the health of the immune system. Vitamin C is found in strawberries, avocado, broccoli, peppers, spinach and citrus fruit. Zinc is abundant in shellfish, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, cashew nuts and traditional hard cheese, which also includes a boost of beneficial bacteria for the gut too!
Let the Sunshine in – This is a key component of how our body makes vitamin D. This can be trickier in the winter months as the sunshine is not as strong, so if you are living in the UK you might want to consider taking supplements.
Prioritise Rest – It’s one of the busiest times of the year, from both a work and social perspective. Too much stress and not enough sleep can encroach on the health of our immune system. Allowing sufficient time before we go to bed without the devices in sight can help to cultivate a more restful night’s sleep.
words by Eve kalinik