We know immunity is top of mind during these times. While it is great to have a reserve of hand sani and vitamin C on hand, did you know that your gut plays a HUGE role in your body’s ability to stay healthy too?
You probably have childhood memories of adults telling you to eat your veggies! And maybe you didn’t want to back then (and possibly now), but it turns out they were right. Some 70% of our immune health is related to our gut health! Yes, you still have to wash your hands all the time, but the food you eat also has a profound effect on keeping your body at 100 percent.
What is Gut Health?
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Experts from UC Davis Health define gut healthas the function and balance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. In a perfect world, organs like the esophagus, stomach, and intestines work harmoniously to help us digest food comfortably. (A string quartet plays in the background.)
Healthy nutritious food goes in one end and beautifully formed bowel movements appear at the other. However, if you are one of the reported 70 million(!) people with digestive issues in the U.S., you know that is not always the case. For a deeper dive,check out our lovely blog post on the importance of gut health.
How to Know If Your Gut Is Healthy
One way to know that our gut is happy is our poop. Yep, we said it, our bowel movements tell us a lot. When our gut is in good health, we have a smooth, well- formed, and easy to pass bowel movement (no constipation or diarrhea); and we don’t experience rectal symptoms like painful hemorrhoids or abdominal issues like gas,bloating, andpain.
But when we have poor gut health, our body sends us different signs. The common signs to watch out for are an upset stomach, having trouble sleeping, unintentional weight changes, skin irritation, and food intolerances. (As always, check with your doctor if you have ongoing concerns.)
What is the immune system?
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Ourimmune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs. Together the immune system acts as a shield that defends our body against things that could pose a potential harm to us, such as foreign substances like chemicals, toxins, or damaged cells from cancer or sunburn.
When you have a low immune system, your body sends you a signal to alert you that there is something wrong. That signal may be fatigue, mild fever, headache or a rash.
Fun fact: the immune system actually consists of the whole body:
- Our Skin: The skin is the biggest part of the body and helps prevent germs from entering the body.
- Mucous Membranes: Mucous membranes line various cavities in the body and protect internal organs. They can prevent germs from entering the body (think your nostrils).
- White Blood Cells: White blood cells do the dirty work to fight germs in your system. These cells lock on to germs in order to get rid of them. Pretty cool.
- Lymphatic System: Related to the previous item, the organs, and tissues of the lymphatic system produce, store, and carry white blood cells.
- The Gut: Also known as thegastrointestinal tract, this is where all the major organs of the digestive system reside. The food we eat through our mouth is digested in our stomachs where the body extracts nutrients and absorbs energy. Waste is released during a bowel movement.
We want to emphasize the importance of the gut in boosting immunity: 70percent of our immune system is located in the gut. That’s right!
How to Boost Your Immunity Through Your Gut
Since 70 percent of our immune system is in our gut, one of the easiest ways to support our immune health is by choosing more gut-friendly foods. Everything we eat affects the composition of bacteria in our gut which affects, yes you guessed it, our immune cells.
There are anumber of ways to take care of our gut:
- Consume foods high in fiber. Evidence shows that adequate fiber consumption benefits our digestion as it aids with weight management, improves regularity, helps regulate blood sugar levels, and helps to prevent gastrointestinal diseases such as colon cancer. Try adding more high-fiber foods to your diet like broccoli, artichokes, apples, bananas, legumes, carrots, pears, and avocados.
- Take prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics are the food that we feed the live good bacteria that lives in our gut calledprobiotics. Feeding the good bacteria in our gut with fermented food helps support our intestines.
- Limit your intake of refined sugars because too much sugar consumption may lead to gut dysbiosis, an imbalance of gut microbes.
- Stay hydrated. Water is important for healthy digestion as it helps break down the food we eat to allow nutrients to be absorbed by our body. Water is also necessary to help fiber do its job in the body.
- Reduce stress. Stress can disrupt the microorganisms in the intestines. (We could all use less stress in 2022!).
- Practice a healthy lifestyle through regular physical activity and getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night.
Fiber and Boosting Immunity
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One of the easiest ways to support gut health starting today is to eat more fiber.
What is enough fiber you may be asking? The USDA dietary guidelines recommend 25 grams of fiber for women and 38 grams of fiber for men daily.
We get it though, it’s hard to hit your daily fiber targets through diet alone. That is why there are all-natural, plant-based fiber supplements that can help support your gut and in turn boost your immunity. Say hello to Bonny.
Bonny: The Best Supplement for Gut Health and Boosting Immunity
Bonny’s fiber supplement powder is made up of a custom fiber blend containing psyllium husk powder and inulin for a crafted combo of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Psyllium husks are insoluble fibers that form into a gel in the gut. Inulin is a natural prebiotic soluble fiber that promotes digestive cleansing and also is a natural sweetener. Inulin helps feed the good bacteria in your gut which you now know helps boost immunity!
If you think fiber powder supplements taste bad, you are right. That's why we created Bonny.
As always, we wish you pleasant poops and an even stronger immune system.