Wellness 103  – BOOSTING IMMUNITY

Catch every bug going around? 

Want to help prevent the evolution of more antibiotic superbugs?
Reduce antibiotic use and reduce pathogens becoming resistant.  The best way to do this is to boost your immunity to stop infection and only use antibiotics when necessary. Antibiotics DO NOT help if you have a viral infection.

 SHUT DOWN GERMS FROM ENTERING YOUR BODY. 

Your digestive tract is really just a pipe that runs through from one end of your body to the other.  Until anything is absorbed through the lining, you can eliminate it.

Good hygiene with regular hand washing is the best way to reduce infection.  Just think how many times you touch your mouth, nose, eyes each day.  All these orifices allow germs to enter your body.

Ensuring you have a healthy colony of intestinal flora and good integrity of the digestive tract wall further reduces the likelihood of infection.

You have about 2 TRILLION intestinal bacteria in your gut and this is your primary line of defense.  70% of your immunity is in your gut.  Your white blood cells are your secondary line of defense.

Recent studies have indicated that probiotics may improve immunity.

The actions of the probiotics, depending on the strain of bacteria may

  • increase the amount of immunoglobulin (IgA) in the digestive tract
  • reduce the severity and length of illness, e.g. colds
  • enhance the activity of  white blood cells
  • help to control inflammation which can trigger an immune response
  • decrease intestinal permeability & enhance mucosal layer to prevent invasion
  • relieve or treat diarrhoea
  • reduce side effects of antibiotics

Factors that may adversely change intestinal bacteria

  • Alcohol
  • Stress
  • Some medications – antibiotics (kill the good bacteria along with the bad) & paracetamol
  • Poor food choices – refined white flour foods, sugar and high fat & fried foods
  • Ageing
  • Illness

What to do

REMOVE the bad bacteria

REPLENISH with healthy bacteria & heal the gut

REPAIR the integrity of the digestive tract lining

RESTORE  the balance by supporting healthy bacteria to flourish and prevent opportunistic bad bacteria and yeasts reestablishing

Factors that support a healthy gut

  • Taking probiotic supplements
  • Eating foods containing probiotics – fermented foods, e.g. yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kim chi
  • Including prebiotic foods in your meals – soluble fibre and resistant starches, e.g. legumes, cruciferous veges, sweet potato skins, pumpkin, parsley, grains, soy flour etc.
  • Reducing foods that promote “bad bacteria” as mentioned above
  • Reducing alcohol intake
  • Managing stress

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