5 Quick Tips for Healthy Guts and a Healthier Immune System

Quick Tip #1: Eat Whole Grains

Whole grains are good source of fiber and contain many nutrients. They have been shown to lower cholesterol levels, prevent heart disease, reduce blood pressure, improve digestion and promote weight loss. When consumed in proper amounts whole grain products provide all these benefits without causing digestive problems or other side effects.

A diet high in whole grains may even help protect against diabetes and certain types of cancer.

The best way to consume whole grains is through whole grain breads, cereals, pasta dishes and breakfast cereal. Other options include brown rice, quinoa and amaranth. Avoid consuming refined white flour products such as bagels, cookies and cakes.

These are often made with partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) which are known carcinogens.

In addition to eating whole grains it is recommended to eat them at every meal because they provide energy for your body throughout the day.

Quick Tip #2: Drink Water

Drinking water helps maintain healthy immune system. Drinking enough water during the day keeps your kidneys functioning properly and prevents dehydration. Your body needs fluids to function properly.

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If you don’t drink enough water, your kidneys will not work well and you will experience fatigue, dizziness, weakness and even kidney failure. Drinking too much fluid can lead to increased urination, which can cause urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Drink plenty of fluids daily. An easy way to remember how much water to drink is by considering your body weight. If you weigh 130 pounds, you should drink about 55 ounces of fluid per day (that’s about 6-7 glasses).

As you get older, you may need even more fluids.

Drinking the right amount of water can help with a number of health conditions including kidney stones and urinary tract infections (UTIs). Additionally, drinking adequate fluids can also help prevent dehydration. When you eat foods or drinks that have a diuretic effect, the water content in your body decreases and dehydration can result.

Quick Tip #3: Eat a High-Fiber Diet

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate your body can’t digest. There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble fibers. Both play an important role in maintaining a healthy digestive system and promoting weight loss.

Both soluble and insoluble fibers absorb water as they move through your digestive tract, creating bulky stools. This helps prevent constipation and hemorrhoids, promotes healthy digestion by improving the muscles’ ability to contract and keeps the colon clean, which prevents cancer.

Foods high in fiber include artichokes, green peas, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, apples and oatmeal.

Quick Tip #4: Exercise for 30 Minutes a Day

Aerobic activity is any exercise that elevates your heart rate and breaks a sweat. Aerobic activity improves the strength of your heart and its ability to pump blood around your body. It also strengthens your lungs and the entire cardiovascular system, reducing blood pressure.

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In addition to aerobic activity, it’s important to do muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week. Muscle-strengthening activities include lifting weights, doing yoga or pilates and push-ups.

Muscle-strengthening activities:

Increase bone density.

Help prevent osteoporosis.

Reduce back pain and enables you to live independently as you age.

Make it easier to do daily activities such as lifting groceries or climbing stairs.

Quick Tip #5: Get Enough Sleep

The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Not getting enough sleep can affect your health in a number of ways including:

Decreased immune system

Poorer cognitive function and memory

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Higher risk for accidents

Impaired judgment

Long-term sleep deprivation can be deadly.

Quick Tip #6: Don’t Smoke

There’s no safe level of exposure to tobacco, or any other nicotine-containing products. Nicotine is both addictive and toxic. Secondhand smoke can also be dangerous.

Smoking increases your risk for stroke, heart disease, cancer (including lung, throat, kidney and more), emphysema, vision problems and osteoporosis.

Quick Tip #7: Eat Omega-3 Fats

Omega-3 fats are “good fats” that you need to stay healthy. Your body can’t make omega-3 fats on its own so you have to get them through your diet. Sources of omega-3s are fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines; fish oil supplements; flaxseed oil; and nuts such as walnuts.

Eating foods rich in omega-3s can help protect you from heart disease and stroke. Studies also suggest that omega-3s may help prevent certain types of cancer, especially cancers of the digestive tract. Eating a diet rich in omega-3s during pregnancy may also help with fetal brain and eye development.

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Quick Tip #8: Get Your Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin your body naturally produces when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and may help prevent certain types of cancer and other diseases.

Sunscreen and sun avoidance reduces the amount of vitamin D your body can produce. People who live in areas far from the equator or who always wear sunscreen when outdoors may not be getting enough vitamin D.

Foods that contain vitamin D include some meats, fish, eggs and dairy products. However, these foods don’t contain enough vitamin D to meet your body’s needs.

Quick Tip #9: Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

Five servings of fruits and vegetables each day can drastically improve your health. Fruits and vegetables are low in fat and calories but high in important nutrients such as fiber, which helps keep your digestive system healthy.

Sources & references used in this article:

Managing gut health through nutrition by M Choct – British poultry science, 2009 – Taylor & Francis

Akkermansia muciniphila and improved metabolic health during a dietary intervention in obesity: relationship with gut microbiome richness and ecology by MC Dao, A Everard, J Aron-Wisnewsky, N Sokolovska… – Gut, 2016 – gut.bmj.com

Inside out: HIV, the gut microbiome, and the mucosal immune system by J Liu, B Williams, D Frank, SM Dillon… – The Journal of …, 2017 – Am Assoc Immnol

The role of inflammation and the gut microbiome in depression and anxiety by JM Peirce, K Alviña – Journal of neuroscience research, 2019 – Wiley Online Library

Gut microbiome-host interactions in health and disease by JM Kinross, AW Darzi, JK Nicholson – Genome medicine, 2011 – Springer

Gut microbiota composition correlates with diet and health in the elderly by MJ Claesson, IB Jeffery, S Conde, SE Power… – Nature, 2012 – nature.com

Diet and the development of the human intestinal microbiome by N Voreades, A Kozil, TL Weir – Frontiers in microbiology, 2014 – frontiersin.org

Athletes, Here’s How to Keep Your Upper Respiratory Health in Shape by H Guts, G Glory – hyperbiotics.com

The ancestral and industrialized gut microbiota and implications for human health by ED Sonnenburg, JL Sonnenburg – Nature Reviews Microbiology, 2019 – nature.com