There is a very good reason gut health has captured everyone’s attention: In addition to supporting overall health, having a healthy gut is a great way to support your immune system.
About 70% of your entire immune system is in your gut! Good gut bugs interact with the immune system and help it protect the body from “bad bugs” that could cause harm and possibly disease.
Good gut bugs protect the lining of the digestive tract. A damaged lining can allow things to enter the bloodstream that should not be there; the body may view these as a threat, which activates an inflammatory response. This type of inflammation overstresses the body and makes it more difficult for your immune system to function properly.
Luckily, you can support your gut health with food! Fill up on fiber by enjoying plant-forward meals and snacks, or explore probiotic and fermented foods to give your gut health a boost!
by Dr. Kristine Gedroic
Chances are, you’ve heard of probiotics, commonly found in dairy products like yogurt. They’ve been found to be good for your gut, but what many people don’t know is that probiotics come from plant-based foods. So, the more you eat, the healthier your gut.
Our gut is an ecosystem filled with trillions of bacteria, fungi, and parasites! They all create a happy equilibrium that helps us digest food, keeps our metabolism humming along, and provides enough energy to survive between meals. Without the right balance, our gut isn’t able to work properly, triggering symptoms like bloating, belching, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, and constipation, as well as moodiness, anxiety, and depression.
Having different strains of bacteria keeps the gut balanced—and the body and brain healthy. A diet deficient in plant-based foods (or taking antibiotics, which kills both good and bad bacteria) results in a lack of diversity of bacteria, contributing to things like diabetes, gastrointestinal disease, and other chronic diseases. Replenishing our good bacteria is important to help rebalance our gut.
Apple Cider Vinegar contains good bacteria (found in “the Mother”) which helps maintain a healthy balance in our gut.
Kefir, a smoothie-like drink made from milk, is a good source of probiotics and nutrients like vitamins A and D.
Kimchi is similar to sauerkraut in that it’s fermented cabbage, but this Korean food also contains vegetables like chili peppers and is much spicier.
Kombucha is a fizzy tea rich in probiotics. It contains caffeine, so it’s best to drink in the morning or early afternoon. To enjoy the benefits of kombucha with 40% less sugar, try our Kombucha Spritzer in delicious fruity flavors.
Kristine Gedroic, MD, discusses the importance of a healthy gut in her book, A Nation of Unwell: What’s Gone Wrong? Dr. Gedroic is the founder and medical director of The Gedroic Medical Institute in Morristown, NJ.