It’s January and the last time I checked, it’s also flu/cold season. How do I know, because I am laid up in bed with a cold that is kicking my but. Just when I think I am getting better, it moves to a different part of my body.
Do you remember last month, the holidays? The time of year where you indulged in all those sweets and treats, a beverage or two or three, and those family meals that last hours with course after course until you need to unbutton your pants.
What does all of that consumption do to your body? For most, that is one month a year and for others, that is their everyday. All of those toxins, fatty foods, sugar and alcohol can put a big burden on your organs especially your gut. And what many of you don’t know is that when your gut is not working to its optimal performance then your immune system is compromised.
Did you know that 70% of your immune system lives in your gut? Yup, that means over the holidays you may have slowed down your immune system which increases your risk of catching a virus - Hello January!
Your Immune System:
In your gut you have gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) which is the main part of the mucosal-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT). This is where that 70% of your immune system lives and where your white bloods cells are stored ready for action. The job of these cells are to kill pathogens that are trying to attack your system and to support the intestinal wall.
Your small intestines is where food is broken down, nutrients absorbed and waste pushed through to your large intestine. Just think, everything that goes into your mouth makes its way through your stomach to your intestines. Everything from the dirt on your veggies, the antibiotics that were in your turkey and the sugar that made up that yummy pecan pie.
Within your small intestine you have your gut microbiome where all the trillions of different good bacteria lives. Along with enzymes that are released by your pancreas, the good bacteria helps to breakdown your food so the nutrients can be absorbed. If the good bacteria is low from the overload of pathogens then your microbiome is off and can’t signal the immune system to start fighting the invaders.
This can also lead to holes in your small intestines where food particles and bad bacteria can seep into your system - this is called Leaky gut. This also weakens your immune response as more attention is needs to focus on these invaders that passed your intestinal wall and less attention on the new pathogens and bacteria that have entered your gut
So the key to keep your gut microbiome healthy is by having a high level of good bacteria that can trigger the immune response and fight the bad bacteria. If you have an abundance of good bacteria that is doing its job then the bad bacteria has nothing to eat and will die.
How can you support your gut and build a strong immune system?
- First - find out what your gut needs, I recommend getting a Functional Blood test (FBT) done. This is where an analyst will review your blood and plasma under a microscope live - meaning you are able to see your cells in action. They are able to see your overt nutrition status, whether you are actually digesting and absorbing your food and getting the nutrients you need, your bacteria, fungal and yeast levels and if there are any parasite. Check out my experience with FBT here. It was such a life changing experience that I am now a trained analyst.
- Fill your plate with organic fruits and vegetables and lean non-medicated protein. Kick those processed and fast foods to the curb. If you can't afford organic, try at least to buy the dirty dozen.
- Support your good bacteria by eating probiotic-rich fermented foods like Kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha.
- Reduce your toxic load by limiting your sugar, alcohol and allergen food intake. As well as your environmental toxins like air fresheners and tobacco.
- Detoxify your body 1-2 times a year to remove the toxin load from your liver, kidneys and intestines.
- Increase your intake of Vitamin C rich foods and antioxidants during flu season. Some good options are citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, kiwi, berries, kale, Brussel sprouts and broccoli.