The Importance of Gut Health On Immunity

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The Importance of Gut Health On Immunity

Did you know that 95% of your happiness is made in your gut?

So those bad moods we run into sometimes, they’re not a coincidence, they’re calculated.

It starts with what we put in our gut and we’re about to talk about how it impacts our immunity, mood, and so much more! 


Here’s the scoop on what’s going on inside our gut…

Before we can begin to address the impact that our gut health has on our immunity, let’s run through the basics of our gut and how it works.

The gut contains hundreds of trillions of microbial cells, called the gut microbiota. All of these cells are bacteria and make up the entire gastrointestinal tract (aka our digestive system). This system helps manage all the food we take in by converting it into energy and fuel for our bodies.

While many people know that the gut simply digests the food they eat, they tend to forget that the gut manages every single thing that our body encounters on a daily basis. From food and drink to outside bacteria and viruses, it’s the factory that keeps the body pumping in the good and out the bad.

How does our gut do this?

It works to maintain a balance of good and bad bacteria that regulates your entire system. Though we’ve been taught to think that all bacteria are bad, the fact of the matter is that our gut requires a balance of both in order for it to function properly. Keeping out the bad while absorbing the good is the name of the game when it comes to your gut.

Just to give you an idea of just how important the gut is, let me break it down for you real quick. Our gut…

      • Contains ⅔ of our immune tissue (which promotes your overall immune system)
      • Produces ¾ of our neurotransmitters (the things that send messages to the brain)
      • Contains as many cells as the rest of our body combined (making it a powerhouse in the body)
      • Creates metabolic activity greater than the liver.


The gut is also a window to the mind…

Not only does our gut control the physical function of our body, but it also controls the mental function of our bodies as well

Ever notice when you are feeling afraid or anxious your appetite tends to go away? That’s because the blood flow and enzyme production in your gut is slowed when experiencing these stressors, leading to a lack of hunger.

At a resting rate, our gut receives half of the entire organ blood flow the body distributes. But at  exercise rate, (be it physical activity, mental stress, or heightened emotional experiences) our gut only receives 20% of all organ blood flow, leaving it susceptible to bacteria that can harm it.

Over long periods of exercise—like a high-stress season of life—our gut can become infected with bad bacteria leading to infection like IBS, IBD, or leaky gut.


What a healthy gut looks like…

While each person is different, there are some basic measurements to determine the health of one’s gut. First, let’s start with the symptoms of an unhealthy gut…

      • Constant upset stomach
      • Drastic weight changes
      • Distinct moods swings
      • Fatigue and stress
      • Lack of sleep

Sure, all of these might sound like symptoms of other residual issues, but they are all directly related to our gut health. And while a small upset stomach or the occasional mood swing might not feel like much, extended periods of these symptoms can lead to long-term health issues like colitis and cancer.

Now that we know what an unhealthy gut feels like, here’s what a healthy one should look like:

      • Balanced intestinal bacteria (3-4 lbs of bacteria)
      • Intact mucosa (gut lining has no leaks)
      • Healthy immune system (not getting sick every other week)

I know, you can’t measure the number of bacteria in your gut at home, and making sure your mucosa is intact sounds like something a medical professional should do, but it’s not all that complicated.

Allow me to explain a little more…


Why our gut health impacts our immunity.

Here’s the thing—immunity is built up all over the place. From the food we consume to the sleep we get, immunity is impacted by every single action we take throughout the day, but a majority of this immunity is directly related to our gut.

Let’s be clear, 70% of our immune system cells rest around the gut—that’s almost half of our entire immune system! So you can imagine when you start to let the gut go, that everything else begins to crumble with it.

As I mentioned, balancing intestinal bacteria is critical to the overall health of our gut but finding that balance can be tricky.

For example, reduced good bacteria can occur with low iron levels and/or a low carbohydrate diet. At the same time, excessive carbohydrate consumption can contribute to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth which can be bad. 

Similarly, if the gut wall is irritated or inflamed it loosens up the cells inside of it, making way for the foreign pathogens to get inside our bodies and create a ruckus inside our gut. 

Thus, it’s a matter of striking the proper balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut in order to optimize its performance and boost immunity.


So how can we improve our gut health today?

There are no one-size-fits-all prescriptions for boosting your gut health.

Each person is different and as such, will respond differently to particular health practices recommended to boost gut health. Bear in mind that just because one specific practice may not fit within our lifestyle parameters, doesn’t mean our gut is doomed for all eternity—we just need to find the practice that works best for our specific body.

Here are 6 ways we can improve our gut health this week…

      • Eliminate problematic foods and drinks

It seems obvious, but if there is food or drink that upsets your stomach, causes massive mood swings, crushes your energy, or causes your mental clarity to fog up, try cutting it out of your diet for a while.

You’ll be surprised at the impact eliminating even the smallest of foods can have on your gut health and immunity.

      • Balance your bacteria.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to strike a balance between good and bad bacteria in your gut. Adding a probiotic supplement or fermented food/drink to 1-2 meals each day can help grow the good and get rid of the bad so you can stay balanced.

      • Eat when hungry, stop when full.

Oftentimes if we are experiencing gut problems (especially if we’re continuing to gain weight) we need to look at our consumption of processed foods including grains, meats, and sugars. Limiting them can help improve overall gut health.

      • Limit your sugar-alcohol intake.

Sugar alcohol is that stuff we throw into foods to sweeten them up and bind them together. Whether that be sugar-free food, gum, ice cream cookies, cake, and sometimes even protein powders and bars, it can cause mayhem inside your gut, especially if you are sensitive.

      • Eat whole foods at each meal.

Our bodies love whole, nutritious food, and what better way to improve our gut health than by pumping it full of good stuff! Prioritizing clean protein and carbs, along with a serving of healthy fats and fiber at each meal will ensure you are getting the proper nutrients needed to balance those bacteria and build up that gut lining!

      • Focus on recovery.

Just like our body needs whole foods to fuel it, it also needs rest in order to maintain gut health and keep immunity high. 8 hours of sleep each night, 20 minutes of activity, and some meditation or prayer each day can help reduce stress leading to a healthier gut and better immune system.


Your gut is going to thank you for reading this…

Living a healthy life doesn’t have to feel complicated or complex, all it takes is a commitment. A commitment to make the next best choice for your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. A commitment to put yourself first and prioritize the things you know will serve you well.

While we can get distracted by the messages being put into the world—like spending more time in the gym and taking loads of supplements—it’s the little things that make all the difference in our health and happiness—like your gut!

So I encourage you today to do some evaluating. Do you think your gut health is good? Is there room for you to improve it? What could happen if you started focusing more on your gut health this week?

This journey is a lifelong one and making the choice today could make all the difference. 

And if you’re feeling like you want to learn more about health practices and strategies that improve your wellness today, tomorrow, and forever, check out my RESTORE Program that empowers women like you to take back control of their health.

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