During the cooler months in particular, it’s important to consume foods that enhance the immune system and support the immune defences against ills and chills.
Here’s how maintaining a healthy gut can help keep you feeling vital this season.
Your gut wall contains 70 percent of the cells that make up your immune system so achieving optimal gut health is particularly beneficial for warding off sickness. Probiotics are the good bacteria found in our intestinal tracts with tongue-twisting names such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Bifidobacteria infantis. These keep the harmful bacteria in our gut in balance, competing with them for food in the gastrointestinal tract and preventing them from multiplying and causing disease.
Factors such as stress, a processed diet, antibiotics and even ageing can make us more vulnerable to illness, so it’s important to boost your intake of probiotic foods and supplements where you can. Remember, unhealthy bacteria = unhealthy you!
Increase the amount of good bacteria in your gut by adding fermented food to your daily diet. Think Greek yoghurt with live cultures, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha or kefir. Keep your carb cravings satisfied by switching to sourdough, which, if made using the traditional long fermentation method, is easier to digest compared with regular bread.
Exercise and healthy eating are intrinsically linked when it comes to boosting your immunity, no matter the season. You need to get that blood pumping on the regular to improve cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of disease. Exercise also slows the release of stress hormones, and stress plays a key role in the proliferation of certain illnesses. Follow a moderately energetic lifestyle to reap the benefits, such as daily 20 to 30-minute walks, going to the gym every other day or joining your kids for a bike ride a few times a week.
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