It feels like everyone is talking about how to boost your immunity this fall, so you can avoid that undesirable seasonal cold, and don’t end up with that nagging sinus infection come February.
The advice ranges from steeping medicinal mushroom tea and eating miso, to getting the flu shot and slathering your bod with hand sanitizer - but here is the truth:
To build immunity, you have to focus on your gut.
Would you believe that western healthcare providers only "discovered" our gut microbiome in 2006? True story. Turns out, that a healthy gut is essential for preventing disease, sustaining weight loss, serotonin production, and preventing allergies for ourselves and our children. It's kind of a big deal. Unfortunately, with the lack of science surrounding gut health until recent years, the diet and medical industry has been steadily destroying the human microbiome for half a century. Now, we need to heal and restore it.
Essentially, our immune system is a ecosystem - and we must nourish it well. 70% of our immune system lives in our gut (the rest lives on our skin, in our mouth, in our blood and lymph). We have more bacteria living in our gut than we have cells in our bodies!!
Here are a few amazing things to know about the bacteria living in your microbiome:
The Good Guys
- they feed you - providing tiny nutrients absorbed right into your blood
- they break down the food you eat
- they make you feel full and happy
- they eat bad LDL cholesterol
- they produce particles that are converted into serotonin and dopamine in your brain
The Bad Guys
- they can produce inflammation
- they can hinder thyroid function
- they influence the food you crave
- they encourage dangerous behavior
An essential part of building your immune system is nourishing our good gut bacteria, and starving the bad gut bacteria.
It is obvious to us how our external circumstance changes (and can even determine) our health. What we need to understand is how our internal environment - our inner ecosystem - changes the way we feel every day, and determines whether we become ill.
Our bodies are incredible - they are designed to heal themselves and prevent disease. These two things are directly linked. As your body heals itself of disease and inflammation (your skin, your joints, your blood vessels, your liver), then your immune system will be able to attend to preventing disease instead. Lets talk about how.
Here are 3 crazy-easy things you can do every day to prevent and heal from disease:
Take a probiotic supplement every morning. My most trusted probiotic is from Parsley Health, because it contains 6 strains of beneficial bacteria that have been scientifically proven to boost your immunity, heal your gut, reduce your stress, and improve your mood. As if this was not enough, drinking a full 8oz glass of water to swallow this pill will hydrate your body, which also keeps you from getting sick!
Eat cruciferous vegetables. Vegetables in the cruciferous fam are known to be cancer fighting and immune boosting. That is because they are loaded with phytonutrients, and fiber that makes it all the way to your large intestine where the majority your gut bacteria live. Think of your gut as an ecosystem - whatever you feed will grow. You want to cruciferous-eating-gut-bacteria to grow and multiply because those are the “good guys” that accomplish the things listed above!! Roasted cauliflower, broccoli salad, Swiss chard with apples or apricots, kale salad with roasted vegetables, the options are endless and DELICIOUS. *my fave Fall-ish Kale Salad is below, for you and your microbiome’s enjoyment!
Snack on nuts and dark chocolate. These foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are so good for your gut, your cells, your heart, and your brain. Always keep a pack of salty or spiced nuts and a dark chocolate bar in your bag
Throw out one bag of processed food from your pantry or fridge. Foods that are no longer "whole" but "processed" are full of chemicals and additives and toxic oils. They are full of irritants, and devoid of nutrients. Also, they are in a sense "pre-digested". They never make it to your large intestine, and that makes your gut bugs pretty pissed. (and make you feel hungry instead of full - even though you are eating!) Take 1 minute, walk to your pantry, grab a nutrient-void snack and toss it. You may loose the $3 you spent, but you gain your health (and won’t have to pay that $20 co-pay at the doctor’s office :))
Ditch the hand sanitizer. This might blow your mind, but by using hand sanitizer to prevent sickness, you actually are making yourself more susceptible to it. Your skin is your immune system’s first line of defense - it is covered with a layer of bacteria and fat that keeps the bad guys out and the good guys in. By using anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, we kill the good guys too - thereby weakening your body’s natural defenses. Instead, use a natural product like lavender hand wipes to knock out the bad guys and support the good guys.
Maybe it seems to you that it can't possibly be this simple. Don't we need to get a blood test to find out our hormone levels?? Shouldn't we be eating goji berries in a frozen acai bowl every morning?? Nope.
By taking small, actionable steps each day, you can build your immunity.
Take this first step and contact me for a FREE health history consultation! We will talk about your health challenges and hopes, and discuss what steps you need to take to live the healthy life you want. If you are suffering from an autoimmune disorder, hormone imbalances, or depression; if diabetes and heart disease run in your family - or if you just can’t believe you just got ANOTHER sinus infection - let’s talk. I promise you that preventing sickness and healing disease is much easier than you think.
Make it a priority to invest in nourishing your body Every. Day. Try making this very Fall-ish Dinosaur Kale Salad, I hope you enjoy it!
Fall-ish Dinosaur Kale Salad
1 bunch lacinato kale
1 apple, thinly sliced
1 delicata squash
¼ C pumpkin seeds
½ lb bacon
1 tsp maple syrup
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
⅓ C tahini
½ lemon, juiced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp maple syrup
Salt and pepper
1-2 tbsp Water to thin
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise, and remove seeds with a spoon. Slice into half-moons and transfer onto a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with EVOO and roast for 25 minutes, until caramelized.
On another foil lined baking sheet, line up the bacon and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes to desired crispiness.
Remove the leaves off the stems of the kale by running the leaves through your fingers and pulling. Rip kale into bite sized pieces. Add lemon, maple syrup and EVOO - massage into the kale using your hands.
Make the dressing by combining all ingredients, stir.
Crumble bacon. Add bacon, sliced apple, squash, and pumpkin seeds on top of the kale, mix and drizzle with dressing. Enjoy!!