Good Food Choices to Boost your Gut Health and Immunity

by | Apr 10, 2024 | All Blogs, Health, Nutrition

Did you know that 70% of your immune system resides in your gut?

What this means is that taking care of your immune system means taking care of your digestive system (also known as your gastrointestinal tract) through good food choices. Boosting your gut health lays a firm foundation for your general wellbeing in a way that significantly influences the severity of any illness and increases the speed of your recovery.

A quick overview of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) will help you understand why your dietary habits are so fundamental for good health. Your GIT starts in the mouth where salivary enzymes start the breakdown of food, before passing through the pharynx and oesophagus to the stomach, then the small and large intestines to the rectum and anus. Digestive enzymes, vitamins, bile and acid in the GIT break down sugars, proteins and fats in the food we eat to produce the nutrition required for all our body functions.

It is your daily food choices that determine the nutrition available for supporting a strong immune system, assisting in reducing inflammation and helping overcome invading pathogens.

Fibre, vegetables and polyphenols are high on the list when it comes to good daily food choices. The human body requires a variety of fibre for optimal health. It is needed to assist transit time, especially in the large intestine, and, as a prebiotic, to support healthy gut flora (also known as the microbiome). Vegetables – ideally in a rainbow of colours from red, orange, yellow, purple and all shades of green – are a rich source of antioxidants and a vitally important component of daily eating. Antioxidants have protective effects throughout the body and can protect us against damaging free radicals from exposure to toxins and pollutants including smoking. If our antioxidant status is inadequate, free radicals can cause harm including inflammation and accelerated ageing processes in the cells, both of which can contribute to chronic disease.

Polyphenols are natural compounds found in plants, vegetables, fruits, cereals, tea, coffee and wine. They reduce inflammation and inhibit the growth of pathogenic microbes. Other anti-inflammatory foods include:

  • Berries
  • Fatty fish such as salmon and sardines (wild caught)
  • Fresh, raw nuts and seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Capsicum
  • Dark green leafy vegetables like kale
  • Green tea
  • Chocolate (80% cacao)
  • Turmeric and ginger
  • Fresh herbs

You can further boost your immune system by including garlic, chili, fresh oranges and grapefruit and a lemon, ginger and turmeric drink that you can enjoy hot or cold. (Add freshly sliced ginger or turmeric to lemon juice and add a little honey.)

Avoid foods that disrupt gut health. These include processed foods such as refined carbohydrates and sugar, saturated fats, food additives and excessive alcohol. In the end, good dietary habits are your best strategy for optimising your physical and psychological health, so you maintain a robust and resilient immune system and enjoy good health.

About Trisha

A practicing therapist for over a decade, Trisha holds qualifications from the Australian Institute of Applied Science.

Trisha offers specialised services in Naturopathy, Herbal Medicine, Nutrition, Craniosacral, Manipulative Muscle Therapy and Massage at her clinic in Boonah, Queensland.

She helps her clients with conditions that include persistent pain; muscle and sciatic pain; problem joints; repetitive strain or sports injuries; and weight loss.

I help children, adults and the elderly improve their long-term health and wellbeing. Naturally.

Follow me on Facebook or call for an appointment at my Boonah Clinic.