Gut Health & Immunity

So, we have already discussed the relationship between nutrition & immunity in a previous blog post. We reviewed how healthy lifestyle habits can have a positive impact on immune health – but today we will go a step further. The healthiness of our gut is also involved in keeping a strong immune system. Having the knowledge to choose foods that benefit our gut can also help you ward off those nasty viruses & bacteria that can make us sick.  

Over seventy percent of our immune system is located in the gut. The foods we eat can directly impact the diversity of our microbiome, which then impacts our immune cells. The more nutritious foods we consume, the greater the diversity of the microbiome, and the stronger our immune system can be. Complex carbohydrates & fiber rich foods nourish the good bacteria in our gut & thus leads to more positive health outcomes. The opposite is true if one consumes a diet high in ultra-processed foods – like chips, candy & sugar sweetened beverages. This is not to say that eating Doritos every once in a while will destroy your gut health (it won’t), but having a diet mainly comprised of Doritos could lead to microbiome disturbances & negatively impact immune health. 

Lifestyle factors can also influence our immune health. Poor sleep, low physical activity, smoking & consuming alcohol in excess can weaken the diversity of our microbiome which weakens the immune system. Not to mention the impact these factors have on our mood, energy level & overall feelings of wellbeing. Everything is connected, and it all boils down to our gut health & what we do to influence it. To learn more, stay tuned for our gut health course which is coming this spring! 

-Alex Grbcich, MS, RD, LD, CPT

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