Let's talk immune system...many of us understand that it fights disease, infections etc. but did you realise that 80% of these cells actually sit in your gut?
Keep reading for some easy ways to boost your immune system...
There's no better example of what we put in our mouth and how it affects our health, than antibiotics. There intention is solely to kill off bad bugs, but the problem is they kill off ALL bugs. Meaning, all the good immune boosting/illness fighting/cell building bugs are killed in the antibiotic combat too. After a lot of research many scientists now believe it can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months for the good guys (aka gut flora) to grow back. I'm going to write that again as I really want you to catch this one… after every course of antibiotics it can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months for the good gut flora to grow back. We need the good guys, they fight the bad ones and keep us well. The problem is that we often have repeat courses of antibiotics with some children taking 4-5 doses a year. Can you see the vicious cycle? How will they ever have enough good guys in their gut if you don't find a way to put it in?
Just as frightening is the fact that this very same problem happens when you eat food you're intolerant to. When you eat this food, it creates inflammation in your body and the sad truth is, your gut just can't process it. This problem leads to all kinds of health issues– coeliac disease, fatigue, depression, eczema, bloating etc. The list is huge.
As always I have good news, there are some really simple changes you can make without the need to visit a doctors surgery, or fulfil an antibiotic script. Here's how:
- Take a good quality probiotic
You can give these to the babes too, from birth in fact. I did this with my little one as he was a caesarian birth so I knew straight away that he didn't get the ‘injection’ of gut flora from coming down the birth canal. It’s true, being breastfed, he had a great chance of building strong flora but I quickly bought a probiotic powder anyway. I added it to his one expressed milk bottle daily. I now sprinkle it on his food and us parents take it in a tablet form daily, just before bed. (See picture for the types I use.)
- Eat fermented foods
Before fridges, we'd ferment foods to eat at a later date, especially over the Winter months when fresh vegetables were harder to come by. This technique wasn't just a money saving / food preserving technique it ensured a good injections of beneficial bacteria was put in to our bodies at every bite, keeping us in optimal health. Many health food stores sell fermented food or you can make your own. Think sauerkrauts, kefir and miso soups. Start small and work yourself up to larger doses as you go. As an example, a tablespoon of sauerkraut on top of my salad is more than enough for my body at the moment and a teaspoon of kefir in my babes porridge is just right for him. Others take less, others take more, experiment for what's right for you. (See picture for Kefir I use, I buy the coconut or goats milk version as it's easier on a babes belly to process vs cows milk)
- Watch the sugar intake
Too much sugar can lead to an imbalance in many organs of your body, but one of the first to suffer is the gut. It can lead to candida, which in our little ones shows as cradle cap, nappy rash, yeast overgrowth in the mouth and even ear infections. Us bigger guys can experience brain fog, fatigue and again overgrowth in all our warm, dark places. So watch the sugar intake!
Tell me, reading about the amazing connection between your immune system and gut health, can you see the effect of taking antibiotics on your health?
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