Eating For Immunity: Top 3 Ways to Cultivate and Care for the Gut & Immune System
Eating For Immunity: 3 Ways to Cultivate and Care for the Gut & Immune System
Article by Lauren Arnett, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, KanodiaMD
What we eat very much impacts the immune system. To put it in perspective, 60% of your immune system is in your gut! So really the question is: how can what we eat NOT impact our immunity? In order to have a healthy immune system, it is vital that we support our gut health.
Here are the top 3 ways that I recommend to enhance your gut to support your immune system:
1. Eat Real, Whole Foods!
Avoid processed and sugar-filled foods, because they lead to inflammation in the body. Try to consume an array of colorful vegetables and fruits (be careful with fruit sugars!). I tell my patients to eat the rainbow every day! This will provide us with varying phytonutrients (or plant nutrients) to support gut diversity, immune response and overall health.
Tip: If you’re a person who relies on a lot of the same foods & veggies each week, look for the ones you are comfortable with, but in a different color. For example rainbow carrots or purple kale. Different colors tend to provide different immune-supporting vitamins.
2. Gardening Your Gut
Probiotics provide beneficial bacteria for the gut.
Prebiotics are types of fiber that feed the bacteria in the gut.
So, while it’s necessary to add probiotics to grow our bacteria garden, we need to also think about adding the prebiotic fertilizer to feed them and help them flourish! You can achieve a thriving gut garden through incorporating a mix of these foods:
Probiotic: Kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles and grass-fed yogurt
Prebiotic: Garlic, onions, leeks, jicama, asparagus, flax seeds and dandelion greens
Tip: To all those bitter tasters out there … adding elements like garlic, lemon juice or even sautéing in olive oil will help reduce the bitter flavor and allow your taste buds to get more greens in.
3. ‘Tis The Seasoning
When they’re sick, my friends and family always come to me and ask, “what can I eat to make me feel better?!” I always encourage them—and my patients—to focus on foods that have antiviral properties AND are immune boosting. My favorite thing to easily incorporate is spices and seasonings.
Add fresh ginger to your stir fry, sprinkle turmeric on your cauliflower and marinate your chicken with rosemary. I love this idea because it’s adding flavor, giving benefits and it’s so easy!
Tip: Add olive oil on top of your food for an extra punch of antiviral properties and to provide a rich flavor to veggies and meats.
Good Luck on Your Health Journey!
Our goal at KanodiaMD is to make it easy for people everywhere to take achievable steps toward nutritional health. And our mission is to empower you with the tools, knowledge and guidance you need to cultivate joy and improve your health through food. After reading this, I hope you'll try eating more colors this week or adding some spice to your home cooked meal. I always love to hear about the healthy ways you are getting creative with your food. Be sure to follow KanodiaMD on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube —comment to let me know what you’ve been eating!
We cannot wait to invite you into our state-of-the-art, gluten free kitchen at the KanodiaMD office, called The Nourishing Plate. Until then, we’re releasing helpful bite-sized nutritional videos to assist you on your health journey.
As always, we’re happy to discuss your health needs. Just contact our office to set up an appointment.