10 Ways to boost your immune system for Winter

As we move into winter, most of us start thinking about how we can protect ourselves and our families from the winter colds and flus that seemingly inevitably do the rounds. 70% of the cells that form part of our immune system are in fact found in our gut. These cells play vital roles in the body, and some of our gut flora even make antibodies and other immune cells on our behalf. The healthier the microbes in our gut are, the healthier we are, so they’re worth taking care of. Here are ten ways to improve the health of your gut flora and hence strengthen your immune system:

    Eat probiotic foods: Foods like yoghurt, milk and water kefir, sauerkraut, fermented vegetables and other fermented foods and drinks contain billions and billions of beneficial microbes per teaspoonful. It is good to have at least some fermented food every day, preferably some with every meal. Also, the greater the variety of fermented foods you can consume, the greater the variety of beneficial microbes you are adding to your gut.
    Eat foods that feed good bacteria: Eat lots of fresh vegetables, moderate amounts of fresh fruit and good quality fats and proteins to ensure your gut flora have enough good food to flourish.
    Include bone broth in your diet: Bone broth is very rich in the amino acid glutamine, which helps to build up the gut lining, providing a good and comfortable home for your gut flora.
    Get adequate vitamin A and D: Vitamin A is essential in ensuring that your gut lining is strong, and that the gaps between cells there are not too large. Nice tight cell spacing ensures that nothing passes through that should not. Vitamin D is also essential for mineral uptake and detoxification, needed to support the immune system. These two fat soluble vitamins are best obtained from animal sources, as true vitamin A is not available from plant foods. Good sources are liver and other organ meats, pastured egg yolks, good quality cod-liver oil and grass-fed butter. Vitamin D can also be synthesized by the skin when exposed to the hot midday sun, so a daily dose of sunshine with no sunscreen is also helpful.
    Get adequate vitamin C from natural sources: It is very well known that vitamin C boosts the immune system, but very few people are aware of the dangers of synthetic vitamin C as explained here. High doses of synthetic vitamin C are often used for treating illness, but much lower doses of natural vitamin C are in fact also highly effective and much safer. Many fresh fruit and vegetables and especially naturally fermented sauerkraut are wonderful sources of natural vitamin C. Raw unpasteurised milk is also a great source of vitamin C, but all the vitamin C is destroyed by pasteurisation.
    Prepare your grains properly: Our digestive tracts were not built to digest grains, the animals who eat mostly plant foods have up to four stomachs and a much longer intestine than humans. Our single stomach and shorter intestine allows us to more quickly excrete animal products, before they putrefy, but means that we cannot properly digest grains and other seed foods like seeds, nuts, lentils and beans. These foods are highly nutritious, but need to be pre-digested for us by soaking or sour-dough fermentation as explained here.
    Avoid chemicals that damage your gut flora: In our modern lives we are surrounded by chemicals that we ingest or absorb through our skin that kill or damage our gut flora. It can be very health-giving to avoid these. The most common examples are chlorine in our drinking and bathing water, preservatives in our foods, antibiotics taken as medicine and in meat and dairy products, antiseptics in soaps and cleaning products and many scents and preservatives in personal care and household products.
    Support your detoxification pathways: Supporting your body in detoxifying all the things it is exposed to and does not need, can be very helpful, as a toxic overload damages gut flora. A daily bath with 125ml of Epsom salts as well as consuming fresh juices and probiotic foods are all great ways to do so.
    Manage your stress: Stress damages gut flora, so try to keep your stress levels under control by whatever ways work for you – meditation, journaling, laughter and making good lifestyle choices can all help.
    Get enough sleep and exercise: Sleep is absolutely essential to our gut flora, as it gives our body time to renew and rebuild and lowers our stress levels. Making sure you get at least 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep daily is a simple yet incredible investment in your health. Just a little activity every day goes a long way… Outdoor exercise where you can get sun and fresh air is best, and a walk in the neighbourhood with the kids for 20 to 30 minutes is quite sufficient to balance many hormones and support overall health and detoxification.

Wishing you all a very healthy winter season with formidable gut flora!!!


“How good gut health can boost your immune system” by Dr. Mark Hyman
“Gut & Psychology Syndrome” by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not intended as medical advice. It is purely information and experience from my own life and research that I am sharing to inform and empower. Please do your own research and consult your health care practitioner if you need advice on your family’s health.

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