“We don’t have much control over this virus. BUT, we do have some control over our own immune system and how strong it is to battle this virus, or any others for that matter.”
Ok, I’m going to say it, the ‘C’ word…coronavirus. I’ll admit, it’s stressing me out. I hate that feeling of something happening around me, disrupting my plans and having absolutely no control over it. I feel like I want to get back in the driving seat and kick that virus’ butt. Anyone with me?
The thing is, we don’t have much control over this virus. BUT, we do have some control over our own immune system and how strong it is to battle this virus, or any others for that matter. A strong, healthy immune system is going to mean you’re much less likely to catch something and if you do, you’re going to be much more capable of beating it and recovering quickly.
How do we strengthen up our immune system and get it ready for the fight? We look to our gut. 70% of your immune system is in your gut. So, if you want to strengthen it, the best way to do that, which will have the biggest impact, is by strengthening your gut.
I’m going to give you 3 of my best strategies for putting your gut first:
The sweet stuff (sugar, high fructose corn syrup), simple carbs (white bread, donuts) and processed foods don’t do your gut any favours. They are super easy to digest so never reach the good bacteria in your gut that need feeding. This leaves them hungry, and they start to feed on the lining of your gut, breaking it down and weakening it. So, ditch these foods as much as you can and swap them for fresh, whole, ‘real’ foods. My general rule is, if the ingredients list is as long as you’re arm and you can’t pronounce half of them, ditch it. Look for whole foods (there’s no ingredients list on an apple) or those with the fewest ingredients possible.
Load up on good bacteria:
Sounds gross, but you need lots of good bacteria in your gut to keep it healthy. At a time when your immune system is under threat, this becomes even more important. Those good bacteria are going to ward off any bad ones that’ll compromise your health.
Another word for these good bacteria is probiotics, which is being banded around a lot at the moment, and used in every product’s marketing messages. However, probiotics are simply live bacteria. You can get them from supplements, but also from foods prepared by bacterial fermentation. Probiotic foods include yogurt, kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh and kimchi.
Adding one, or a few of these, into your diet on a daily basis will help boost the amount of good bacteria in your gut.
A healthy gut isn’t just down to what you eat. It is hugely affected by the amount of stress you’re under. When your body is under stress, it shuts down systems that don’t require it, such as digestion – cave man days. It can also wear away that gut lining we talked about.
So, as much as it may be extra challenging in the current environment, this is the time to make extra efforts to chill yourself out. You don’t have to sit on a cushion and meditate for an hour a day, but find something that relaxes you and do it on a daily basis. That could be yoga, deep breathing, a run, music, chatting to a friend, guided meditation through an app….whatever floats your boat.
Any one of these gut love strategies is going to make your gut stronger. That, in turn, is going to strengthen your immune system. So, focus on giving your gut some love right now and show that virus who’s boss.
Now, put it into action!
Pick one of the above gut love strategies and focus on it every day – that could look like a ‘real food’ lunch, a spoonful of kefir in your breakfast, or a daily walk.
Choose the one that makes sense for you and get started! You now have the tools you need to stop wondering and starting to strengthen your immune system.
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