It is estimated that 60-70% of our immune system is in our gastrointestinal tract. This makes sense, since our guts are an extension of our external environment. The foods and drinks that we ingest are not sterile, so our body needs to be able to protect itself against any potential invading pathogen, while at the same time properly breaking down and absorbing food and nutrients.
A healthy body, therefore, begins in the gut because if our guts are not working properly, the foods and medicines we ingest can not be properly digested and absorbed.
Taking a good quality probiotic is a great way to boost your immunity, because it helps replenish your intestinal tract’s “good” bacteria. These “good” bacteria play a role in digestion and keep “bad” bacteria from overgrowing and causing digestive issues. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt, are also good sources of probiotics. A good supplement, however, should especially be considered if you’ve taken or are taking antibiotics.
Diet, of course, also plays an important role in intestinal health. A study in the journal Cell looked at the role of diet in immune function, and found that compounds found in cruciferous vegetables (i.e. broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, etc.) help promote intestinal immune function. Yet another reason to love broccoli!
Signs that perhaps you are not digesting food properly? The evidence is in the toilet. Ideally, you should be going to the washroom everyday, stools should be well formed, medium brown, flush easily and leave no streaks in the toilet. You also should not have to strain excessively to go.
Good luck, and good health!