Updated: Feb 14, 2021
Are you looking for ways to reduce sick days and avoid long-term chronic illness? Approximately 70% of immunity is in your gut. Learning to strengthen your gut health can reduce your risk of many diseases.
Our bodies are colonized with different forms of bacteria and fungus that we benefit from. Believe it or not, these organisms need us just as much as we need them! Media often portrays all germs as bad. Many hygiene products, and select medical treatments, can strip our bodies of the necessary bacteria and fungus needed for optimal functioning. While treating one problem, it creates another. Knowing how to keep your gut colonized with the appropriate fungus and bacteria can lead to strengthened immunity and overall health.
What are some benefits of improving gut health?
- Reduces the risk of acute viral/ bacterial infections (ex: coronavirus, influenza, strep)
- Reduces the risk of chronic inflammatory diseases and flare-ups (ex: arthritis, asthma)
- Reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases and flare-ups (ex: Lupus)
- Reduces the risk of mental health disorders (ex: depression, anxiety)
- Improves nutrient absorption
- Improves indigestion and constipation
- Prevents leaky gut (damaged gut barrier that leads to inflammatory disease)
How can I colonize my gut with bacteria and fungus that strengthen immunity?
- Engage in more outdoor activities
- Allow kids to get dirty and play outside
- Avoid antibacterial hand soaps
- Decrease stress levels
- Improve sleep habits
- Stop smoking
- Avoid junk food and refined sugars
- Avoid acid reducing drugs
- Avoid C-sections if possible (vaginal deliveries promote natural colonization in infants)
- Breastfeeding (or expressed breast milk) for at least the 1st year of life
- Whole food plant-based diet
- Eat fermented foods
- Reduce antibiotic and antifungal use unless necessary (consult with your doctor)
- Replace what is lost in using antibiotic/ antifungal treatments with:
probiotics- good bacteria and fungus (found in fermented foods or taken as a supplement)
prebiotics- food for probiotic organisms (commonly found in wfpb diet or purchased as supplements).
The more toxic, inflammatory ingredients you eat, the more inflammatory diseases you are prone to suffering. The classic "you are what you eat," rings true after all. Eat more plant-based food and take the family outdoors more! Remember to consult with your doctor before stopping any prescribed medications. Practice social distancing.
Reference: Total Gut Balance By: Dr. Ghannoum with Adamson