Gut Health & Immunity: A Connection to Foster
Good gut health… it’s essential at the best of times. But with an increasing interest in boosting our wellbeing, it’s now more important than ever. Here’s why gut health matters:
A huge portion of our immune system exists in our gastrointestinal tract (your gut!). The community of bugs we have residing in our gut therefore play a key role in the way our immune system works and our ability to fight off any nasties. We want to ensure we have a good balance of beneficial and some not-so-beneficial bacteria living in our GI tract to promote a good immune defense for our overall health and wellbeing.
The community of gut bugs residing in our GI tract not only helps with our immune system, but they also play a role in maintaining metabolism and the breakdown and digestion of the food we eat. Our gut bugs help to breakdown and ferment particular foods – like the fibre-rich grains in your favourite Carman’s muesli or porridge – harvesting all of the goodness of what we eat and further promoting good gut health. With poor gut health, we can often see compromised gut function and increases in IBS and other negative gut symptoms and conditions, which in turn can further detriment the health of our gut microbiota. Keeping our gut bugs well balanced and doing what we can to promote good gut health is therefore really important!
Mood & Mental Wellbeing
The role our gut plays in our mental health is still emerging, however what we do know is that there is a significant link between our GI tract and our brain, and that our gut health can have an effect our mood and mental wellbeing, and vice versa! While the exact mechanisms for this require further research, the importance of promoting good gut health to maintain and improve mental health is warranted. Learn more.
Naturally, when we talk about promoting good gut health, we talk about increasing dietary diversity and including a wide variety of fresh foods in our diet. The gut benefits aside, eating a varied diet helps us include lots of the macronutrients, vitamins and minerals we need to maintain good health and wellbeing. This is particularly important to support that gut-linked immune system we mentioned earlier, and to make sure our bodies are energized and healthy to get us through everything we do day-to-day.
So what should we be doing to promote good gut health?
As we just said – dietary variety is key: get creative with ways to include lots of different fruit and vegetables, fibre-rich grains and cereals, pulses and legumes, and fermented dairy products in your daily food intake. Mix it up! The more varied your diet, the more varied your gut bugs, and the happier and healthier your gut will be. Also remember to drink plenty of water, exercise regularly in a way that you find enjoyable and fun, and do your best to help manage and reduce your stress.