MOJO’s dietitian ambassadors, Anna and Alex from The Biting Truth, look at how you can support your immune system by taking care of your gut health:
It’s that time of year when the nutrition, health and wellness world is covering all things immunity. You’ve probably come across a whole array of posts around ‘tips to boost your immunity’. The good news is that there is evidence to show that you can support your immune system through nutrition. The bad news is that you can’t believe everything you see or hear in the media (there is loads of nonsense out there!).
We at The Biting Truth have put our scientist hats on and examined the evidence for what you can eat to boost your immunity.
What Is the Immune System?
Too often the immune system is over simplified. Just like many organs and processes in the human body, the immune system is a mind boggling complex set of coordinated cells, proteins and systems – it’s not one thing and there is no single solution that will make it strong or turn it on or off. It’s an entire system that requires balance in order to work efficiently.
The bottom line is that it functions as your body’s own military team – defending anything that threatens it and thereby protecting your body against disease, infection and injury.
The Link Between Gut Health and Immunity
Inside your guts, you have literally trillions of live bacteria (aka your gut microbiome) that impact a range of bodily processes such as digestion, metabolism, hormone production and immunity. These live bacteria consist of both healthy and unhealthy bacteria and evidence suggests that a balanced and diverse microbiome contributes to better overall health.
Around 70% of your immune cells are housed in the gut, so making sure your digestive system is in tip-top shape is key. The bacteria in your gut actually help your immune cells differentiate between a foreign invader and the body’s own tissues – helping your immune system determine what to response to. When there is an overgrowth of bad bacteria for example, it can lead your body’s immune system to start attacking your own cells or perhaps not responding when invaders (like the cold and flu) enter (1).
How to Keep Your Gut in Good Shape
The best way to establish and maintain a healthy gut environment is to get enough sleep and exercise, reduce stress levels, not drink too much and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
When it comes to diet, we know that the balance of healthy and unhealthy bacteria in your gut is influenced by the foods you eat. Because of this we need to choose the right foods that are going to enable the healthy bacteria to thrive and multiple, therefore boosting overall immunity.
Prebiotics are carbohydrates that pass through the body undigested until they reach the colon. In the colon, prebiotics are fermented, which leads to improved bowel function and the production of beneficial short-chain fatty acids. In the bowel, prebiotics also become an important fuel source for the healthy bacteria in our gut, helping them to grow in numbers.
The best food sources of prebiotics are:
- Sweet potatoes
We recommend you incorporate a wide variety of plant based foods in your diet because each plant food contains different types of fibres and phytochemicals which feed different healthy bacteria in your guts.
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that when ingested (in the right amounts) can help to restore and replenish the healthy, natural bacteria in our gut which in turn helps to reduce the growth of the unhealthy bacteria. Taking a probiotic with a prebiotic has been shown to promote its survival and colonisation in the large intestine.
The best sources of probiotics are:
- Fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi)
As we are seeing more and more fermented products appear on the market with probiotics, it’s important to understand that much of this healthy bacteria is actually killed off in the stomach due to gastric juices before they even reach the intestines and therefore don’t actually have the opportunity to contribute any benefits. Even if products claim to be brimming with probiotics, if the stomach juices kill them all off then they are of no use to your health!
Why We Love MOJO
As you have probably noticed, there are loads of different kombucha and probiotic beverages on the market. The reason we always go for MOJO is not just because it tastes so darn good – each bottle contains one billion Bacillus coagulans (GBI-30 6086) probiotics. Plus, there is research to prove that this probiotic strain actually survives the journey from mouth to stomach, meaning that it will reach your intestines alive where it does all its best work! This makes MOJO a great, credible source of healthy bacteria that may help to support your gut health and immunity throughout Winter.
Cheers to your health!
Anna and Alex are a pair of no-nonsense dietitians who founded The Biting Truth because they believed people deserve the truth when it comes to nutrition. There are plenty of fads in the world, eat this – don’t eat that. The truth is, you can eat ALL kinds of foods and still be healthy and fit. They use simple science to empower individuals to make better food and health choices. They are scientists and skeptics who love exposing nutritional myths and helping people separate science from pseudoscience.
They love educating people about nutrition and work with a range of businesses and organisations to do so! To read more about their services, click here.