IMPROVE YOUR IMMUNE HEALTH THROUGH YOUR GUT!
With over 70% of your immune cells residing in the gut there is no better time than to look after your gut and its inhabitants in the fight against Covid and staying well this winter.
The inhabitants I refer to are of course the trillions of gut bacteria that have taken up residence inside your gut. They have created their own ecosystem that can speak with our own cells in the gut lining to help regulate our immune response. If we scooped out all of your gut bacteria and weighed it, it would weight a whopping 3lbs! (I love that fact as it means I am 3 lb’s lighter)! but isn’t that incredible! we know from science that they are there for a good reason and help to modulate your immune responses from inside the gut. There is no better time to take care of your gut health, the time is now!
So, what do your gut bacteria do for you?
Bacteria in our gastro-intestinal tract feed off food particles that we can’t digest and absorb. They help us to breakdown these fibres and use it to make short chain fatty acids a which act as a direct source of food for the cells lining the gut but also give us B vitamins which we can use for energy. They also make vitamin K which is an important factor for the blood clotting process. The important thing to remember is that the different strains of bacteria work together to keep our gut lining strong and healthy – without this we can develop hyper-intestinal permeability otherwise known as leaky gut which can result in poor immune function and even autoimmunity! This is how I believe I got Hashimoto’s Disease, an autoimmune response against my thyroid gland but after radically changing my diet I re- tested my blood for autoimmune markers a year on and had managed to resolve all gut problems and no longer have Hashimoto’s! Diet plays such a huge role in protecting our health and safeguarding against disease by providing an energy source that can restore gut health and support a healthy gut microbiome.
Food gut bacteria love!
The kind of food our gut bacteria love are the ones we largely can’t digest and absorb which are high in fibre; beans, lentils, wholegrains and some fruit and vegetables fibres. Fibre is such as important part of our diet, it should be considered a nutrient in itself and as a Nation, we simply don’t eat enough of it. Include plenty of variety from these kinds of fibre rich foods aiming to have at least 1-2 servings of fruit and 5-6 servings of vegetables every day and include some wholegrains i.e. oats, rice, rye, pasta, quinoa into your diet. Including food in your diet that makes you feel happy and healthy from the inside-out is all part of my Eat better and Feel better online 4 week programme which I run at regular intervals throughout the year, and is having such an amazing impact – currently over 400 people who have been through my programme have all learnt how to eat better and feel better and lose weight with my realistic and effective healthy eating habits – not a diet!
Sleep is also big piece of the puzzle when it comes to protecting your health and wellbeing, we all know how rubbish you can feel after a bad night’s sleep and how it reduces your ability to fight off coughs/colds etc.
How broken sleep affects your immune health
Our immune system is dependent on a few different factors other than diet; poor immune health has been identified in those with disrupted sleep patterns and broken “circadian rhythm”. The Circadian rhythm is our in-built 24 hour clock that should tell us when to get up and when to go to bed, however it is far too easy to stay up late with all of the entertainment we have at hand; iphones, ipads, TV, indoor lighting which all means we can ignore the fading light outside and stay awake long after we should probably have hit the pillow! With improved sleep patterns you can improve your immune health through your gut! If you love a late night Netflix binge, read my latest blog are-late-night-netflix-binges-making-you-fat to find out a surprising truth about how this can be affecting your weight more than you might have realised!
How to sleep your way to better health
The fascinating interactions that occur between our immune cells and the gut microbiome have become a point of great interest in recent scientific studies looking at how together they regulate our immune system and how the bacteria use “Zeitgeber’s” (time-givers) to know when and how to respond.
Almost every cell in our body has molecular machinery to “time-keep”, this means they respond to our light-dark cycle via the “suprachiasmatic nucleus” (big word alert!) in the brain by light entering through the eye which sets the internal body clock. But the bacteria in our gut doesn’t have this internal machinery to time-keep without our help.
The gut microbiome responds to our daily rhythm by using zeitgeber’s as cues; the most important of these is our light-dark cycle and also our feeding times, our hormones and body temperature .
We now have a better understanding of how our circadian rhythm and the gut microbiome are working together in harmony and how this affects our immune system response to infection but the question is…are you disrupting your circadian rhythm?
One thing we can all do is get up at the same time every morning and go to bed at the same time every night and eating at the same time every day is an important cue to help train the gut microbiome to respond effectively. This is how your gut bacteria can fit in with our own biological internal clock – they listen to these cues and rely on us being regular time keepers with our mealtimes and sleep. Do you follow a set pattern of wake/sleep and eating times? or is sleep a problem area for you?
Which sleep type are you?
There are two kinds of poor-sleepers, the first is the kind that drops off to sleep immediately but wakes only hours later and the second kind spends hours trying to get to sleep and when they do fall asleep it is still restless and broken. Either way, sleep is a critical function that accounts for a third of our life and missing out on a good night sleep could be affecting your health in more negative ways than you realised. Find out how you can eat your way to a better night sleep with my video “Nutrition for Sleep” on request for just £5 – it is a game-changer for your health.
Improving your gut health
Some signs that might be a clue that your gut health needs a little attention are symptoms bloating, excessive wind, distended stomach, constipation, loose stools, IBS (although, I do not believe IBS exists – something is driving those symptoms and my job is to help you find out what is causing it by finding the root cause/s). If you suffer with any of these symptoms, a little deeper digging is necessary, have a listen of my recent live video on bloating for top tip to try now Video on bloating
If you feel that your gut bacteria may be out of balance, and wish to improve your gut health, you may benefit from a deeper dive into finding the root causes of gut dysfunction by working with me on a one to one basis. I have helped hundreds improve their digestive/gut health through realistic, effective, science-led, dietary and lifestyle modifications. We all unique, getting specific, tailored advice is the best starting place for you right now. Get in touch to find out how I can help you and book your FREE discovery call for a friendly chat.
I hope this helps you find some answers, take a look at my new page of client testimonial videos to see what they say about working with me.