A gutsy immune system
It might not look it but your gut is a total genius. Not only does it keep everything ticking over in the digestion department, but its home to a whopping 70% of your immune system – so it’s the bit of you that fights off viruses and all other sorts of invaders too. Good bacteria can help your gut’s immune system stay optimal and ready to fight at any time. Kind of like those cosy parkas swimmers wear to keep their muscles loose between warm up and a big race! Vitamins and minerals have long been linked to the immune system but with the gut playing such a big part in immunity, it’s useful to take stock of the nutrients you eat to check how ready your gut is for any potential invaders.
Vits & mins for gut lovin’
A digestive system lacking the right vitamins and minerals won’t suffer in silence forever… Believe you me! Prepping your gut with the right nutrients means it is set up for an easy going digestion session giving you minimal interruptions in your daily life. There is no single vitamin for a gut health touch down but there are a few nutrients that strike it big when it comes to improving gut health. From a little more Vitamin C for a leaky gut to an increase in Vitamin D for gut health and immunity, there are so many benefits that come from invisible molecules. If you eat a balanced diet, you are already eating foods that contain many of these vitamins and minerals so a few simple additions may be all it takes.
Vitamins for gut health
Vitamin B Family
Who doesn’t want so much energy you feel like climbing Mount Everest? Well the Vitamin B family of 8 could be the first step to climbing that mountain. Each member of the fam has it’s own quirks and a different role to play but all are essential to keep your gut healthy! Some help your body produce red blood cells that can tease out the energy from the food you eat. The stomach and intestines rely on others to function normally. VitB cannot be stored so a regular top up is key. You’re most likely to find these busy Bs in fortified cereals and bread including Genius loaves!
Often linked to a peachy immune system, Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid don’t you know) helps the digestive process too. Its antioxidant properties improve digestion as it helps the body absorb iron. Vitamin C and a leaky gut do seem to be linked due to inflammation if there is a lack of this vitamin. The antioxidant properties promote healthy gums and teeth as well so you can proudly smile from ear to ear. Citrus fruits and berries are bursting with Vit C but you can also get your fix from veggies like broccoli, sprouts and cauliflower.
There are early indications that bounteous levels of vitamin D and gut health go hand in hand. Early research suggests that Vitamin D may help ease IBS –the jury is still out on this though! Healthy amounts of Vitamin D may boost your immune system as well as helping your body absorb calcium. So, now you are sold on Vitamin D the unfortunate news is it can be tricky to smash your Vitamin D target every day, especially in cloudy weather, as sunlight is such a great source. So a Vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter months could just be the ticket.
Minerals for Gut Health
A joyous gut is one filled to the brim with good gut bacteria. Iron is a great helping hand for good gut bacteria and can help them increase their population. If you are looking to include more iron in your diet, red meat, spinach (think Popeye) are winners. Genius bread also is a source of iron to help support the normal functioning of your immune system, just saying!
This clever mineral plays an important role in producing digestive enzymes. Even just a teeny deficiency can reduce the amount of digestive enzymes produced. Similar to Vitamin C, a leaky gut has been linked to a scarcity of zinc. Not to worry, you can top up on zinc from lean beef, lamb, oysters and liver. For veggies you can find zinc in whole grains, tofu, legumes, nuts and seeds. Ps. rumour has it Zinc helps produce many hormones too – who knew!
Though you may have never heard of it, selenium is an amazing nutrient which is vital to good health. Gut flora (that fancy bacteria name) is impacted by selenium’s assistance in the inflammatory response in the gut. A lack of selenium could potentially lead to damage of the gut lining from inflammation which could also lead to a leaky gut and no-one wants that! Eating more fish or even just one Brazil nut a day could make a difference, easy or what?
Get cracking for your guts sake
These vitamins and minerals can transform the way your gut digests food and bring a whole load of benefits too. You can easily eat foods to nourish your gut without a supplement as a balanced diet should do the trick! By eating a variety of fresh foods and cutting down on unhealthy processed stuff you can take in a wide range of vits and mins for gut health and immunity boost.