Diet, Digestion, & The Gut
Digestion and diet are important for proper immune function.
The gut is the location for 70-80% of our entire immune system and 90% of nutrients are absorbed through the intestinal wall. Therefore, supporting our gut then supports a healthy immune system.
Stomach Acid… What is it & why we need it!
Hydrochloric acid in the stomach digests bacteria, viruses, parasites, prions, etc. When we have low stomach acid, we are unable to fight off pathogens (this is when we get sick) and digest food (even the most nutrient dense diet, we could not be absorbing those vitamins & minerals). And despite what conventional medicine tells us, we need stomach acid. Even the lowest amount of stomach acid can cause heartburn, acid reflux, etc.. So what is the normal pH? The normal is between 1.5-3.0. When we take antacids for heartburn, acid reflux, indigestion, etc… we are lowering our stomach acid pH.
Digestion is at the root of solving many of our GI issues and is foundational to address when it comes to immune health.
How to increase stomach acid.
Zinc is also needed for HCl support and a healthy immune system. Zinc can be found in egg yolks, red meats, and liver.
How I support digestion…
My favorite is to start my day with warm water, pinch of sea salt, lemon & ACV. This not only support digestion first thing in the morning but also hydration with the electrolytes from the sea salt and your liver, the bitterness from the lemon.
Prior to meals I will take digestive bitters and try to avoid drinking lots of water during meals as this dilutes stomach acid and lowers the pH.
During meals, I try to chew my food 20-30 times and aim to eat in a relaxed state. This is where digestion of carbs breakdown, and remember our stomachs don’t have teeth so this step is important. And when we are stressed, eating on the go, at our desks, or standing up we are in a sympathetic state which prevents the digestive process from being able to break down the food and absorb those nutrients.
Antibiotics have a devastating affect on our intestinal lining. Antibiotics makes bacteria resistance to further use of antibiotics, frequently imbalancing the gut, causing a weakened immune system. Antibiotics, typically kill not only the bad bacteria but also the good bacteria which is what we need for a strong immune system.
The Sick Ones Are Healthy
Having a big, all-out immune response is a good thing… your body is reacting normally. Those that rarely get sick… their immune system is too weak to fight. However the reverse can be said, that getting sick all the time is also not a sign of health. Everything in balance.
Immune System Workout
Let the illness run its course, think of it like a good workout for your immune system. It may not be fun, but it’s healthier in the end.
My Favorite Immune Boosting Foods, Supplements, & More!
Broth – Soothes the gut lining. Click here for my favorite & simple recipe.
Water– Hydration is essential for prevention and healing. Water moistens oxygen for easier breathing, regulates body temperature, removes wastes, flushes toxins, and empowers the body’s natural healing process.
Vitamin C – Stimulates both production & function of white blood cells. We cannot manufacture vitamin C therefore we must get this from food. Some vitamin C rich foods are red bell peppers, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. However, when you are sick or think you feel something coming on, my favorite supplement is Lume Infusions Vitamin C.
Elderberry Syrup – Elderberry can enhance the immune-modulating effects of probiotic bacterial.
Oregano Oil – Supports and kills bacterial issues. This is a natural antibiotic. *** This should not be used by pregnant women. Click here for the one I use and approved by my dad and sister!
Garlic – Has incredible immune boosting effects, garlic is a prebiotic that can feed the beneficial bacteria while reducing the harmful bacteria. It’s loaded with antioxidants and other nutrient compounds that make it far superior than any antibiotic in supporting all systems of the body.
Probiotics– 70-80% of the immune system is in your gut so supporting it with the good bacteria helps the immune system thrive. You can consume probiotic foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, etc. or take a spore based probiotic which can survive stomach acid. My favorite, probiotic you can buy without a practitioner is Just Thrive.
Eliminate Stress– Stress depresses the immune system and the production of stomach acid.
SLEEP SLEEP SLEEP – Sleep allows your body to repair therefore a lack of sleep will diminish your immunity even further.
Limit Alcohol– Alcohol suppresses the immune system.
Limit Sugar. Sugar feeds germs and leads to inflammation in the body. Avoid reaching for a glass of orange juice when you feel yourself getting sick. The sugar in juice will do more harm than good when trying to take care of your immune system.
For other immune boosting supplements and herbs, check out my amazon shop here.