Immunity starts in your intestinal track. If you start to feel a cold coming on, vitamin C isn’t the only thing you should be thinking about. Making sure to cut out any extra sugars, processed foods and increasing the amount of healthy flora in your intestinal track is key to feeling better quickly. It is also the home base of making sure you are getting the nutrients and vitamins from the foods you are eating. If your intestinal track is damaged, you body won’t be able to utilize the great foods you are eating as well, it won’t be absorbed. Not only will it not be able to digest properly, you will be more susceptible to issues such as type 2 diabetes, “leaky gut,” auto-immune diseases. Time to get ahead of it!
6 Ways to increase your immunity & create a healthy digestive system:
Incorporate fermented foods into your daily intake – Kombucha, fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, plain yogurt (be careful of added sugars), pickles, other fermented vegetables. This will aid in your body’s natural digestion and support the gut flora in your intestinal track. Back in the day our grandparents has this in their daily eating routines as a standard of practice, now with all of the options and fast-paced lives we lead, somewhere along the lines fermented foods are not the priority they once were. There are studies that show why fermented foods & probiotics are helpful to your digestive system (pdf). It helps create beneficial enzymes, restores gut health through the various strains of natural probiotics.
Homemade Bone broth – This is a natural way to speed the healing of illness. Homemade bone broth will thin the lining of the mucus in your lungs making it easier to get rid of due to the natural amino acid it has called cysteine. The gelatin in bone broth supports proper digestion. It also helps decrease the joint pain and inflammation in your body (thanks to the glucosamine, amino acids and the cartilage that is expelled in the process). Supports strong healthy bones with the natural magnesium and calcium in it.
Apple cider vinegar before meals – if you didn’t know already, apple cider vinegar is practically its own super food. We can benefit from drinking this everyday. Just 1 tablespoon diluted in a few ounces of water will do wonders (you may not notice all the great benefits immediately, but in time, I promise you will)! It
Hydration & Drinking half your body weight in ounces of water – if you aren’t someone who drinks much water during the day, time to step up your game. Invest in a new water bottle that you will commit to drinking out of. All day, everyday. Figure out how much water your body needs by calculating how many ounces your body is and divide that in half to know how many ounces you need to drink. 1 pound = 16 ounces.
If you get bored with plain water – throw in a mint sprig, sliced oranges, sliced lemons, sliced cucumbers etc. Get creative to help yourself stay motivated! Water doesn’t have to be boring.
Cut out processed foods & hydrogenated fats – These are nothing but a danger zone. These kinds of “foods” and garbage will slow down your digestion, could give you a stomach ache, gas, bloating, poor sleep, fatigue, weight gain, headaches and the list goes on. If you see “hydrogenated” in an ingredient label, RUN! Do not purchase or eat it! Cutting out these items will help your body do the best it can in the digestion process and support a healthy metabolism as well once they are cut out of your daily life.
Poop & what that should look like – This isn’t a common topic of discussion although it is worth bringing up. Your bowel movements is a form of your body’s way of telling you how your digestion process is working. It is worth paying attention to! I’m not saying there is a need to extract it from the toilet after you have completed your business but just take note to make sure your body is doing what it needs to be doing to continue to work at an optimal performance for you. A few characteristics of a healthy bowel movement include: medium to light brown in color, one full “s” curved piece (not broken into a lot of pieces or a sludge or watery matter). It should be about 2″ in diameter and up to 18″ long, it should not be extremely foul-smelling (not necessarily like roses but not toxic) and it should be somewhat easy to dismiss.
Additional Topic Resources:
Chris Kresser – Gut Flora
Mark’s Daily Apple – Gut Flora
Dr. Mercola – Bone Broth
Wellness Mama – Apple Cider Vinegar
How Stuff Works – Healthy Digestion
Dr. Mercola – Healthy Stool