Immunity: The Gut Connection
It’s that time of year when we start to examine our own immunity. If you find yourself battling a consistent sniffle or want to avoid what’s going around your office or child’s school, you might want to examine your gut health first. Advanced immune research has found that the gut is more complex than we could have ever imagined, and approximately 70% of the immune system is housed in our gut. Our immune cells work in tandem with our microbiome – defined as the population of bacteria in our gut – to shape our immune responses to potential threats.
How does your diet play into this dynamic?
The nutrients we consume directly impact how our immune cells interact with our microbiome. When we consume healthy foods featuring a diverse set of vitamins and minerals, our bodies are more equipped to perform at their best. The same applies to our immune system. Well-nourished, strong immune cells and our microbiome are able to communicate effectively with one another to ward off infections and protect against other common viruses. As we travel back from our summer vacations and prepare our kids for another school year, it becomes incredibly important to boost your immunity and ultimately, stay healthy.
Now the important question – what actually qualifies as healthy, immune-boosting nutrients? We’re breaking down common foods that improve immunity andmake you feel good.
Fiber-rich foods feed and stimulate the vast majority of bacteria in our microbiome. High-fiber plants, like broccoli and asparagus, typically provide varied combinations of bacteria. A good rule to remember is that the more color on your plate, the more bacteria are present to strengthen the gut. While a healthy gut can provide protection from infections, it also improves your digestion by promoting regular bowel movements. That’s why MealMD purposefully incorporates fibrous foods into our weekly menu.
Cue healthy fats. While “fat” is a word that can carry a negative connotation, healthy fats actually support immune cell production and strengthen their overall function. At MealMD, we bring back the (good) fat. You’ll find deliciously cooked salmon or chicken as part of our balanced meals to give you healthy fats and the protein you need to support your body. In addition to boosting your immune system, healthy fats provide a plethora of benefits, such as proper hormone production and reducing inflammation in your gut.
Cut the over-processed meals and sugary snacks. Poor gut health is directly tied to obesity. People who regularly consume foods that lack the proper nutrients cannot sufficiently nourish the immune system and are therefore more susceptible to illness. Unfortunately, the typical Western diet promotes unhealthy eating patterns, and we want to break that cycle. For many, ingredients in packaged foods – like high-fructose corn syrup – drive cravings and make it harder to put down the box of crackers or sleeve of cookies.
With more than 93 million Americans struggling with obesity in some form, our health is not only impacting our waistline – it also impacts our finances. Those who are considered obese spend 42% more on direct health insurance than an average healthy adult because of their medical issues. Take control of your gut health by selecting more immune-boosting foods.
Interested in learning more about how our program can help you boost your gut health? Click here to contact us to learn more.