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Lots! Sleep, exercise, gut health and good food are chart-toppers.

By now, we are all aware that approximately 70-80% of our immune health resides in the gut.  Think of our gut as a gatekeeper but also as an instructor. It both protects us and teaches our immune system to differentiate between pathogens and our tissue. 

Our gut lining is relatively thin and is laced with immune cells. However, several factors can compromise the lining, thus negatively impacting our immune function. This is where you have some control.  

We positively impact and boost our immune health with these simple practices:

Eat Whole, Real Foods

If you’re eating most of your meals out of a box, bag, wrapper or other, this may be the time to head over to a farmer’s market. Get some fresh produce and/or naturally raised animal protein (I get some great grass-fed beef from my local farmer!).

Sleep and Sleep Well

Many guess they are getting 7 or 8 hours but don’t honestly know how much time they are sleeping. 

Invest in a quality sleep tracker that’s low emf that can somewhat accurately gauge how good your sleep is. Deep sleep is the actual restorative segment of sleep, and knowing what percentage of time you spend in deep sleep is essential.

It’s about the quality of sleep – not necessarily that you’re in bed for 8 hours!

Holistic health practitioners have many tricks up their sleeves to help improve sleep. One of my favourites these days that many don’t know about is spermidine.

Sperma-what? It’s plentiful in natto, soybeans, amaranth grain and more.

Move Your Body

Exercise has a profound effect on immune health, and it’s not about jogging every day. Moderation is key here. We need to move often and have moderate bursts of movement to keep our immune system primed.

Mitigate the Effects of Stress on Our Body

We can do this through walks in nature, meditation, gratitude and adaptogenic herbs. Some of my favourites in my practice include ashwagandha and Rhodiola. I also love biohacking gadgets to help “turn off” the mind when we need to recover from stressful situations.

Now for the gut. 

We need to pay attention to various signs and symptoms – especially more prolonged symptoms that don’t go away.  

If you’re experiencing constipation, bloating, gas, diarrhea, floating stools, greasy stools, and more, these symptoms should be addressed with your health practitioner. Many functional tests are available to help your functional medicine doctor or naturopathic doctor diagnose certain conditions before they worsen.

If you’re unsure whether something is “normal,” speak with your holistic health practitioner, who can address your symptoms as the root cause.

Ignorance, in this case, is NOT bliss.

References

  1. The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity Gut Microbes. 2012 Jan 1; 3(1): 4–14.
  2. Role of the Microbiota in Immunity and inflammation Cell. 2014 Mar 27; 157(1): 121–141.
  3. Diet supplement keeps circadian clock from slowing down in aging mice Science News, ScienceDaily
  4. The bidirectional relationship between exercise and sleep: Implications for exercise adherence and sleep improvement Am J Lifestyle Med. 2014 Nov-Dec; 8(6): 375–379.
  5. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Insomnia and Anxiety: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Study Cureus. 2019 Sep; 11(9): e5797.
  6. [Effects of rhodiola rosea on oxidative stress and negative emotional states in patients with obstructive sleep apnea] Lin Chung Er Bi Yan Hou Tou Jing Wai Ke Za Zhi. 2019 Oct;33(10):954-957.

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