Our immune system is a fabulous system. It is the primordial barrier between our internal environment or ‘inner world’ and the outside world which is full of stress, pathogens and toxins (food, medication, …). A smoothly working immune system – which has the right humane bacteria protecting and maintaining it – is crucial for leading a long and healthy life. Fortunately, it doesn’t all come down to luck. There is plenty you can do to support your immune system, and it’s not at all difficult.
It’s a gut feeling
Our most important barrier system is formed by our intestines and, in healthy individuals, consists of an intact row of intestinal wall cells, a thick layer of mucus and the right intestinal bacteria. Chronic gut problems are therefore always going to have negative effects on our immune system and on our health, since the gut is a great detoxification organ that directs waste out of the body. As Hippocrates already knew some time around 400 BC: “All diseases begin in the gut”.
More and more scientific evidence is appearing that a healthy gut and healthy gut flora are vital in keeping cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, autoimmune disorders, allergies and so forth at bay.
9 foods that support the immune system
The gut, as well as the digestive system, is also extremely important to absorb the right nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc.) so that we not only have the right building blocks to keep our body physically in order, but also to be able to produce the substances (enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, etc.) necessary to keep our metabolism, hormone levels and neurological processes in check.
In short, a healthy diet is one of the basic conditions for properly supporting your immune system. Experts recommend adding the following items to your grocery list:
- Sweet potatoes
- Red bell pepper
Evidently, the list goes on as a healthy diet is also a diverse diet.
Tip: roast or stir-fry vegetables instead of steaming or boiling them, to preserve the most nutrients.
How much water is enough?
Drinking plenty of water is a must, that goes without saying. But as we already explained in an earlier blog, many people don’t know what the best way to drink water is. They are also not aware that the water-skin balance can be negatively affected by drinking too much and too frequently.
Stress can be healthy, too
Stress, of course, can cause great harm to intestinal health. Not only does the activation of the stress axis (HPA-axis) and adrenergic hormones decrease energy supply to the digestive organs, it also changes the composition of the intestinal microbiome and reduces the integrity of the intestinal wall – a phenomenon commonly referred to as ‘leaky gut’ – which increases the risk of inflammation.
However, there is such a thing as ‘too little stress’ as well. Leading a sedentary lifestyle doesn’t do the body any good, experts agree, so taking things easy all day and every day is not the way to go if you want to properly support your immune system. Indeed, exercise is healthy! Be sure to check the link to find out how to make the most of your workout.