Women's Immunity with Dr.Belus
Today's Blog is written by Naturopath Dr. Belus and she will be educating you on your immunity and how you can improve it!
Key Factors That Impact One's Immunity
The key factors are foundational: having the right nutrients to help your immune system fight an infection, and letting your body recover fully & easily.
The most important nutrients for a healthy immune system would be enough vitamin D, vitamin C and zinc (although there are lots of others!). These help your white blood cells (the frontline defenders of the body) react appropriately and quickly to any foreign invader.
When it comes to recovery, our immune system needs proper sleep (at least 7-8 hrs per night), and we need to keep our stress levels low.
These factors can really speed recovery and help us bounce back sooner.
Key Factors That Impact One's Gut Health
The most protective factors that have the largest impact on lifelong gut health are: being born vaginally (not via c-section), being breastfed, and not having antibiotics before the age of 1. Although these are out of our control, they have been shown to strengthen our body’s balance of healthy bacteria and keep our guts healthy.
Later in life we can still work on maintaining a strong digestive system by eating organic foods whenever possible, limiting the use of unnecessary antibiotics or medications, reducing stress and consuming probiotic-rich foods or supplements.
What Is The Relationship Between Gut Health And Immunity?
In our gut we have a specific group of immune cells called the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT). In fact, this is the largest cluster of immune tissue in the body! This means that keeping our gut happy and healthy leads to a stronger immune system- and science proves it!
What Role Does Stress Play In Gut Health?
Stress reduces blood flow to the digestive tract (we all know it doesn’t feel great to eat quickly when we are in a rush or on-the-go). This means less nutrients to the gut lining and less digestive enzymes to help us break down the food we eat. In short, stress puts a lot of extra pressure on the delicate lining of the digestive tract, which can lead to bloating, gas, food intolerances and more!
What Role Does Stress Play In Overall Immune System Health?
As for stress and the overall immune system, we know that increased stress hormone (i.e. cortisol) reduces our immune response. This is why steroid drugs (which are very similar to cortisol) are used in medicine to reduce inflammation, auto-immunity and other conditions where the immune system is too strong. And while temporarily ‘toning down’ the immune system isn’t always a bad thing for certain conditions, chronic stress is reducing our body’s ability to fight off infection and recover.