Did you know that up to 90% of your immune system is located in your gut?
What you eat has a powerful impact on your immune health, and supporting your gut is essential all year, but especially right now. Here are our top six reasons why what we eat is so important right now.
Eating your greens means maximum nutrient density
Green vegetables are fantastic sources of both fibre and vitamin C. Fibre acts as food for our beneficial bacteria, allowing them to thrive and produce short chain fatty acids such as butyrate. Butyrate has a natural anti-inflammatory effect on the gut, supporting our immune heath. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and strengthens our gut barrier function against potential pathogens. Examples include leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale and brussels sprouts - these are our key seasonal foods as they provide the extra immune benefits that we need more than ever right now.
Including prebiotic foods feed your microbiome.
The trillions of beneficial bacteria that inhabit your gut must be fed to support their growth and development. These probiotics feed on prebiotic foods such as asparagus, artichokes, leeks and green banana flour, and resistant starch found in cooked and cooled white potato, sweet potato and basmati or white rice. Including prebiotic and resistant starch rich foods on a regular basis is such an important component of a healthy diet.
Including high quality protein with every meal keep your blood sugar stable and maximises nutrient absorption.
You may have heard of the saying “you are what you eat”, when in truth it should be “you are what you digest and absorb”. And having a healthy gut is essential to allow your body maximum access to the nutrients you consume. When it comes to gut health, you really can’t beat bone broth and high quality protein from grass fed and pasture raised animals. Rich in glutamine, collagen and gelatin, these nutrients are essential for facilitating digestion and for cell integrity and healing, especially of the gut wall. Protein is also considered one of our satiety macronutrients, keeping you full and your cravings at bay, which will help prevent you from developing a sugar addiction, especially while in isolation.
Adding greens powder compliments your vegetable intake.
One of the best ways to increase your vegetable intake is with the addition of a greens powder. This not only increases the nutrient density of your diet, but supports liver function, detoxification of toxins and removal of heavy metals, as well as offsetting acidity. Try one teaspoon of Melrose Organic Essential Greens in a glass of filtered water or added to your favourite morning smoothie, such as our Immunity Greens Smoothie.
Adding spices reducing inflammation.
Two incredible anti-inflammatory and immune supporting spices are turmeric and garlic. Turmeric is an ancient Ayurvedic spice and curcumin, the key compound in turmeric, has strong strong antibacterial effects. Garlic is known as nature’s antibiotic and is one of the best natural ways to fight off infections. I personally love to combine them in a beautiful winter soup, such as my Creamy Vegetable Soup.
Reducing refined sugar rebalances your gut and looks after your long term health
As we’ve discussed, choosing nutrient dense and diverse foods is essential for the health of your microbiome. At the same time, decreasing triggers that contribute to inflammation or leaky gut is essential. The number one culprit is refined sugar which can cause an increase of opportunistic bacteria in the gut, leading to bacterial infections, inflammation of leaky gut.
Significantly, a high intake of refined sugar can cause systemic inflammation and increase your risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Greek leaf stevia, monk fruit extract and small amounts of honey or rice malt syrup are great alternatives to refined sugar, and can be used in any of your favourite Melrose recipes.