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Boosting Your Immunity Through Gut Health

By now you may know that ensuring that your immune system is healthy and working better than ever is important. But did you know that gut health is also tied to immune health...and that by taking care of your gut you can boost your immunity? 

During these times of uncertainty, the one thing that we can be certain of is that we absolutely need to nourish our bodies with foods that have immune-boosting properties, and make sure we have them on hand on a daily basis.

 

A healthy gut helps a healthy immune system

Through a lot of research, we have now learned that there is a balance between building immunity and balancing the amount of bacteria (flora) in the gut. 

Our immune system seems to actually interact directly with the tiny bacteria (microflora or microbes) that sit in our gut. Gut microflora has a wealth of essential health benefits...helps to combat incoming pathogens, works at maintaining a balance to avoid auto-immunity (self-tolerance to attacking our own bodies). Researchers have found that it’s not only the amount, but also the types of flora or bacteria that matters too. Because of that finding, one can say a big part of your immune system is actually your gut! In fact, certain cells in the gastrointestinal lining are responsible for secreting antibodies into the gut. 

What we know now is that eating a variety and diverse foods leads to a happy and healthy gut because from it we get a variety and diverse microflora. 

Maintaining this balance and diversity in the immune system is crucial for our immune health.

 

Help your gut help you

So what are some foods we should be eating? While there are a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and even some dairy foods that help with bacterial gut health. For this conversation, focus on foods that are both immune boosting and promote gut health. 

Immunity-supporting nutrients include:
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Folic acid
  • Fiber

If you are eating a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables and getting some grains or seeds, that promote gut health, you will be able to get the above mentioned nutrients covered. 

Grains and seeds that are thought to be immune-boosting include:
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Oats
  • Buckwheat

Chia Seeds and Gut Health and Immunity

Chia seeds are loaded with essential nutrients like iron, calcium, thiamine, manganese, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and several other minerals and vitamins. According to health experts, daily intake of chia seeds help boost metabolism, aid digestion and more, leading to an overall healthy immune system and body. It’s recommended to soak chia seeds (or your Holy Crap cereal) in water or milk before consuming. 

Oats and Gut Health and Immunity

Health experts have claimed a tie between oats and immune building. There have been several studies evaluating this and have found that the betaglucan in oats is what is responsible for this health benefit. There appears to be a connection between oats and in increase in resisting pathogens that can enter the body. 

Buckwheat and Gut Health and Immunity

Buckwheat is also high in manganese, magnesium, copper, and zinc, all of which are great for the immune system in general. Buckwheat also has all of the essential amino acids the body needs. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein which is necessary for many functions in the body, other than just muscle and collagen production. 

Consider Foods that Boost Immune and Last Longer

Amongst ensuring that the products we are choosing have a healthy effect on our gut and immune health, we need to also pick those that have a longer shelf-life as well...excluding fresh fruits and vegetables of course!  Given that the pandemic has been known to starve our grocery shelves from time to time, it’s not a bad idea to also have non-perishable items on hand. 

So then the question becomes: how can I boost my immune system with foods that I can stock in my pantry?

Our Maple + Gluten Free Oats are a win! Containing gluten free oats, chia seeds, buckwheat and hemp seeds (amongst dried fruits and cinnamon), it covers all the bases for both gut health and immune boosting and shelf-life!


Recipes To Try

And remember, fuelling your gut doesn’t need to include eating Holy Crap as a cereal, we have gathered some fun recipes for other uses!

Nut Butter Cookies
Oat Energy bites (below)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
  2. Roll into balls
  3. Chill for 15 minutes before serving.
Makes 8 large energy bites, or 12 small ones. Keep refrigerated.



References

John Hopkins Medicine. Advancements in Research - The Gut: Where Bacteria and Immune System Meet. Retrieved from:https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/

Wu, H.J., & Wu, E. (2012). The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity.Gut Microbes, 3(1), 4-14. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

Davis, J.M., Murphy, E.A., Brown, A.S., Carmichael, M.D., Ghaffar, A., & Mayer, E.P. Effects of oat beta-glucan on innate immunity and infection after exercise stress.Med Science Sports Exercise, 36(8):1321-7. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ 

The Washingtonian: The Powerful Health Benefits of Buckwheat. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonian.com/

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