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6 Ways to Boost Immune Health Through the Gut

Written by Dr. Group, DC Founder
 
A person handling a bowl of vegetables.

Many positive lifestyle choices can help balance your gut and boost your immune system. Making gut-friendly changes to your diet, choosing the right supplements, and generally prioritizing wellness can promote gut and immune system health. Here are a few proven ideas.

1. Follow a Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet

A plant-based diet that consists of healthy whole foods gives your gut the nutrients it needs to work well. Eating plant-based proteins may increase immune-boosting gut bacteria like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.[1]

A healthy diet strengthens the immune system by supporting gut balance. Many vegetables and fruits contain prebiotic fiber that feeds and nurtures good gut bacteria.

2. Eat Probiotic Foods

Make probiotic foods, including fermented varieties like kimchee and sauerkraut, a regular part of your diet. Some of the best food sources of prebiotics include alliums like onions, leeks, and garlic, as well as artichokes and asparagus.[2, 3]

If you can’t get enough in foods, you can try a high-quality supplement. Global Healing’s Global Healing's Ultimate Probiotic contains 75 billion CFUs from 25 unique strains of beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic blend with bacteriophages. It’s a great choice to support your immune system through your gut.

3. Eliminate or Reduce Sugar

Too much sugar can throw your gut off balance. A diet high in sugar not only lowers the variety of gut bacteria you have but can also lead to Candida overgrowth. The composition of the gut biome affects your health, with a lack of gut flora diversity increasing your risk of illness.[6]

On top of that, excess sugar contributes to gut inflammation. This can lead to leaky gut, making the body more vulnerable to harmful microbes.[6] Avoid the temptation to substitute artificial sweeteners since they, too, can throw your gut off balance.[4]

4. Reduce Stress

Chronic stress takes its toll on many parts of the body, and the gut is no exception. Stress and other environmental factors not only create high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) but also can change the way the gut and brain communicate with each other. This change in communication can lower immune system function.[7]

Like excessive sugar consumption, high stress may also lead to gut imbalance and leaky gut.[7] Both of these gut issues affect immunity — yet another reason to incorporate a calming practice like yoga or meditation into your routine!

5. Identify Food Intolerances

If you find yourself with an upset stomach after eating certain foods, you could have a food intolerance. Sensitivity to gluten, lectins, or certain foods can throw the gut off balance, causing nausea, bloat, or gassiness.

If you continue to eat foods your gut can’t tolerate, it can cause inflammation and damage intestinal cells that keep harmful microbes out of the gut.[8] This may lower your intestinal immunity.[8] A food diary can help you identify foods that may be upsetting your gut and affecting your immune system. Doing a colon cleanse is a great way to identify food intolerances while clearing out your gastrointestinal tract for better health.

6. Get Enough Sleep

Your intestinal microbiota are sensitive to disruption to your sleep-wake cycle — also called circadian rhythms. Not getting enough rest can damage cells in the intestines, affect your gut’s immune response, and increase your risk of getting leaky gut.[7]

Lack of sleep also lowers the diversity of gut bacteria. As mentioned, this causes gut imbalance and lowers immunity that can result in a slow metabolism and weight gain.[7]

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Points to Remember

Poor diet, antibiotic use, stress, lack of sleep, and drinking too much alcohol all throw off the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut, affecting immune function. How can you support a balanced gut and a strong immune system? Start with your plate! Follow a plant-based diet with plenty of healthy, colorful fruits and vegetables as well as probiotic and prebiotic foods. Reduce or eliminate sugar and identify potential food intolerances to prevent cell damage. Probiotic supplements can help, where your diet falls short.

Make lifestyle changes to support good health, like plenty of sleep and reduced stress (meditation can help!). Global Healing's 6-day Colon Cleanse Program™ can help reset your gut balance. Or our Gut Health Kit™ provides everything you need for a more extensive gut reset.

A strong gut-immune connection is key to wellness. When your gut is healthy, so are you.

References (4)
  1. Rinninella E, et al. Food components and dietary habits: Keys for a healthy gut microbiota composition. Nutrients. 2019;11(10):2393.
  2. Shi LH, et al. Beneficial properties of probiotics. Trop Life Sci Res. 2016;27(2):73-90.
  3. Slavin J. Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients. 2013;5(4):1417-1435.
  4. Ruiz-Ojeda FJ, et al. Effects of sweeteners on the gut microbiota: a review of experimental studies and clinical trials. Adv Nutr. 2019;10(suppl_1):S31-S48.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.


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