Gut health and your immunity

by | October 2020 | Blog

For months now we have all been bombarded with tips to take care of your health and build our immune system. There are two types of immunity. Your innate immune system is the one you are born with and is your body’s first line of defense against harm. Your adaptive immune system is one you build up over time. Simple things like getting outside into fresh air, eating a balanced healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough sleep etc can improve your immune system to no end. And did you know that around 70% of your immune system is located in your gut? The link between the gut and the brain is massive and research is showing just how much of an influence your gut has on the rest of your body. Everyone knows that eating healthy is the best thing you can do but you also have to ensure your body is absorbing these nutrients properly to actually get the benefit from your food. Gut health is such a massive subject that we could talk for hours on it but we’ve whittled it down into these basic 5 points for today. These may be simple things that you aren’t aware of that may have an effect on your wellbeing.

  1. Your gut can affect your mood. The gut is fast becoming known as the “second brain” in our body. Have you ever felt nervous about an upcoming test or exam? All of a sudden you can’t eat or you are running to the loo. Its all linked up! Around 95% of serotonin is produced in the small intestine. Serotonin, known as the happy hormone can affect your mood and your memory. Lack of serotonin in the body may cause anxiety, depression and sleep problems. Serotonin also helps produce melatonin in the body, which helps with sleep, so if your body isnt producing enough then in turn it can really affect your sleep quality. 
  2. Nutrition. Your body needs good quality healthy food in order to function at its optimum levels. Highly processed and fatty foods mean your body has to do so much more work to break down your food and unhealthy foods can cause inflammation in the body. 
  3. Energy levels. Even if you are eating the right foods if there is bad bacteria in your gut it can stop your body absorbing the nutrients correctly. This means you cant get the full benefit from your foods. Eating healthy foods with “good” gut bacteria such as live natural yoghurt may help. 
  4. Digestive problems and the immune system. If you eat a low quality diet this may make it much harder for your body to break down your food and extract the nutrients from it. Years ago humans used to eat hundreds of different types of food, Nowadays, most people eat less than 20 different foods. Having a wide and balanced variety with plenty of high fibre fruit and veg is ideal for most people. 
  5. Skin health. Yes, even your skin can be affected by your gut. A lot of skin problems such as eczema are usually caused by inflammation in the gut, perhaps by eating a food that the body cannot tolerate well. This inflammation can cause certain proteins to “leak” out into the body and affect the skin. Dietary changes are often required to help with skin issues as most of the time the problem comes from within and a topical cream may not help. 

So what can we do to keep our gut healthy? We need to do the simple things we all know, but may be easier said than done! Keep your diet simple, eat foods that aren’t highly processed. Cut down on sugary and fatty foods. Eat the rainbow! Try and include as much colour in your diet as you can from fruit and veggies. Eat plenty of fibre to help remove waste from the body. Get enough sleep and get into the fresh air for a walk or a run. Its really simple but can make a huge difference to your health and wellbeing. If you have any further questions please call into us in store or shoot us a message on