Support your gut and immune system this winter

Support your gut and immune system this winter

  • January 22, 2021


By PA/TPN,
in Lifestyle ·
22-01-2021 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

Support your gut and immune system this winter

The gut microbiome is closely linked to immune function – so how can you keep it in tip top shape?

A healthy gut is key for overall health and affects so much more than just our digestion. With links to mental health, heart health, sleep, skin conditions and more, it’s no wonder the gut is often referred to as our ‘second brain’.

And did you know the health of your gut can also have a big impact on your immune function?

“Around 70% of your immune system is actually located in your gastrointestinal tract” says Corin Sadler, nutritionist at Higher Nature. “This means they are very closely linked and, in many ways, one in the same.

“So a healthy gut, filled with diverse bacteria, can be our best weapon in fighting off illnesses.”

So, what can you do to help keep your gut in good shape this winter?

Get more fibre in your diet
“A diet that’s high in fibre is key for good gut function,” explains Sadler. “Fibre helps with our digestion and supports a healthy gut microbiome, as it ‘feeds’ our good bacteria to help it thrive.”

In the UK, we generally don’t eat enough fibre, particularly if we’re consuming a lot of processed foods. The British Nutrition Foundation (nutrition.org.uk) says the average intake is 17.2g a day for women and 20.1g a day for men, falling short of the recommended average intake for adults of 30g per day.

To boost your fibre intake, Sadler recommends adding a diverse range of plant-based sources to your daily menu, such as different fruits, vegetables, beans and pulses, as well as healthy cereals, wholegrain bread, pasta and brown rice. Keep things interesting and diverse by mixing up your high fibre foods each day. Look for foods containing high levels of prebiotic fibre too, such as leeks, asparagus and bananas.

Take live bacteria daily
Live bacteria is sometimes believed to help ‘restore’ the balance of good bacteria in your gut. “When there’s an imbalance of bad and good bacteria in our body, this can impact our overall health.” Sadler explains.

Live yoghurt, kefir and fermented foods and drinks are among popular options. There are also probiotic supplements (although supplements should always be secondary to a healthy, varied diet). Sadler recommends daily probiotics such as Higher Nature’s Pro-Intensive Extra (£21 for 30 capsules, highernature.com), and suggests looking for one that contains 20 billion live organisms per dose and a variety of bacteria strains that work harmoniously to support the natural environment of the gut.

Increase your step count

Getting regular exercise is also linked to better gut health. “We all know exercise is good for almost everything, and this includes our gut health” Sadler explains.

“A 2017 study found exercise is linked to increased diversity of gut bacteria, which is key for a healthy microbiome. And while more research is needed into this area to prove exactly why exercise is beneficial for the gut, the good news is that even gentle exercise, like walking and yoga, can help.”

Eat ginger
Ginger doesn’t just taste great when whizzed in a healthy green juice, it also packs some pretty impressive gut health benefits.

Formulate Health (formulatehealth.com) pharmacist Mina Khan explains: “Ginger reduces nausea caused by gut problems and stimulates the digestive system, which helps keep you regular and maintain a healthy gut.

“What’s more, ginger has fantastic anti-inflammatory properties, making it perfect for sufferers of IBS. From ginger tea, to using it in stir-frys and curries, there are so many possibilities when it comes to this wonderful spice.”

Cut down on artificial sweeteners
“Artificial sweeteners found in soft drinks may be harmful to gut bacteria and ‘damage’ the health of our microbiome,” Sadler says. “This includes aspartame, which is found in diet soft drinks.

“While these diet soft drinks are often the preferred choice for the health conscious, research has found that toxins are released when gut bacteria is exposed to the sweeteners.

“Cutting down on drinks with artificial sweeteners in exchange for naturally flavoured water, with fresh lemon, lime or cucumber where possible, is much better for our gut health,” she adds.

Take steps to manage stress
It’s a worrying time for lots of us right now, but being mindful of managing our stress levels can really make a difference.

“Stress can activate a negative chain reaction in the body, including the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which can change the balance of good bacteria in the gut, affecting communication pathways between the gut and the brain,” says Sadler.

“Stress can also affect our digestion and the movement of food through the gut. For some people, it can speed digestion up and for others it can slow it right down, which can result in a host of different gut issues, from bloating and constipation to diarrhoea.”

There are loads of things that can help offset stress, exercise or moving our bodies being one of the biggest. Fresh air, watching a comedy, putting your phone on silent and cooking a nourishing meal, every little helps.



Ayurvedic Tips to Follow Amidst Bird Flu Outbreak to Keep The Disease at Bay

Ayurvedic Tips to Follow Amidst Bird Flu Outbreak to Keep The Disease at Bay

  • January 21, 2021

Bird flu is a viral infection that is quite prevalent these days in different parts of India. Also, known as avian influenza, bird flu is fatal to birds and can easily affect humans after coming in direct contact with a carrier or saliva or feces of an infected bird. H5N1 virus causes this deadly disease. It was first discovered in humans in 1997. Bird flu is characterized by muscle ache, respiratory difficulties, fever, diarrhea, cough, etc. in humans. Also Read – Over 5,000 Birds Culled in Maharashtra’s Pune After Samples Test Positive For Bird Flu

To keep this infection at bay, you need to keep your immunity strong. Ayurveda suggests following an immunity-favouring diet and lifestyle to be healthy and effectively fight against diseases. Waking up on time, sleeping at least for 7 hours, drinking enough water, and exercising are some of the most significant factors on which your immunity depends. A disturbed sleep cycle is known to affect your defense system’s ability to act properly and various Doshas. To strengthen your immune system, here are certain impactful tips that you should follow. Also Read – Bird Flu in Poultry Confirmed in 5 States So Far, Culling Operations On

Give that extra herb touch

You can add a few herbs like Ginger, garlic, turmeric in your daily diet to avoid bird flu kind of infections. These herbs give strength to the body for fighting back and also protect our body from getting infected.

Nasya to keep your respiratory system in shape

Every morning putting two to four drops of Anu tail in each nostril will give strength to the respiratory system. This therapy is known as Nasya. This also helps in flushing out pollutants or foreign bodies from the nasal cavity and prevents them from crossing the nasal pathway.

Remove toxins with oil pulling therapy, gargling, and steam inhalation

One of the other important therapy is oil pulling therapy, it can be done by holding lukewarm oil in the mouth for a few seconds followed by gargling with lukewarm water with a pinch of salt and turmeric along with steam inhalation. Oil pulling therapy, gargling, and steam inhalation help in removing toxins and boost the immunity of the person.

Start your morning with one spoon of Chyawanprash

One more important add on in daily life is Chyawanprash. Every morning during breakfast taking one spoon of Chyawanprash helps in boosting immunity and strengthens the respiratory system.

Golden milk

Before sleeping, taking golden milk (Milk with sugar and pinch of turmeric) is one of the best remedies to get rid of symptoms like fever, cold and running nose, etc.

10 Natural Ways to Detox and Boost Your Immunity at Home

10 Natural Ways to Detox and Boost Your Immunity at Home

  • January 14, 2021

Toxins enter the body through what we eat, drink, breathe in, and process in any way. Once inside, toxins overtax our immune system and detoxification system and leave us more vulnerable to illness — not ideal during cold and flu season, and especially not this year during a pandemic — and make us age a little faster, too.


Fortunately, there are a lot of simple things you can do from the comfort of your own home to keep toxins out of your body, flush them out of your system faster, and boost your immunity all at the same time, says Dr. Bill Rawls, Medical Director of Vital Plan. He shares his top 10 strategies below.

1. Source Your Food Wisely

Try to stay away from packaged and processed foods that contain ingredients you can’t pronounce, and instead reach for fresh food from natural sources. Aim to make vegetables more than 50% of your daily diet — their fiber is a great natural binder, and they’re full of beneficial phytochemicals — and minimize your red meat consumption.

Also, whenever practical, choose organic over conventional products. That said, we know organic prices and accessibility can be an issue, so for help making strategic decisions, refer to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” lists:

The Dirty Dozen:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes
  13. Raisins*

(*While raisins aren’t technically a fresh food, the EWG found that they are “one of the dirtiest produce commodities on the market — and even some organic raisins are contaminated.”)

The Clean Fifteen

  1. Avocado
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onion
  5. Papaya
  6. Frozen sweet peas
  7. Eggplant
  8. Asparagus
  9. Cauliflower
  10. Cantaloupe
  11. Broccoli
  12. Mushrooms
  13. Cabbage
  14. Honeydew
  15. Kiwi

2. Consider Detoxifying and Immune-Boosting Herbs

There are a number of herbs and natural ingredients that can help support detoxification and immune health. Here are the ones at the top of Dr. Rawls’ list:

Chlorella: This nutrient-rich freshwater algae binds to toxins so they can be eliminated from your body more efficiently. Chlorella works particularly well for withdrawing heavy metals. Pure chlorella can be purchased in the form of bulk powder, tablets, or capsules.

Milk Thistle: It’s been used for thousands of years to support a healthy liver, the primary organ responsible for detoxification.

Dandelion: Known to help support liver function, research suggests dandelion helps promote the body’s natural detoxification and elimination processes.

Bitters: Bitter flavors are important to digestion — they stimulate the release of the saliva, enzymes, and bile that help break down your food. Include bitter herbs and foods in each meal, or take a botanical extract that blends bitter herbs like dandelion root, burdock root, orange peel, and gentian root

Reishi mushroom: An extensively studied adaptogenic mushroom, reishi has exceptional immunomodulating and antiviral properties. It helps normalize inflammatory cytokines and promotes healthy immune response against threatening microbes.

Rhodiola: Another adaptogen, rhodiola improves stress tolerance by reducing fatigue, supporting energy levels, and improving tissue oxygenation.

Turmeric: This popular spice is well loved for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Shilajit: An herbo-mineral adaptogen, shilajit has a long history of use in traditional Indian medicine for longevity and strength. It’s also an immunomodulator with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties.

Gotu Kola: Best known for improving memory and mood, gotu kola is also great for promoting a normal response to inflammation, balancing stress hormones, and supporting circulation.


Shop Vital Plan Pure Chlorella

Vital Plan is a certified B Corporation — one of only eight supplement companies recognized for achieving the highest standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. If you make a purchase using the link above, EcoWatch may earn a commission.

3. Filter Your Water

Much of America’s tap water has been shown to contain pollutants, so filtering what comes out of your kitchen sink is smart. To be sure you’re using a filter that does the trick, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Look for a filter certified by NSF International or the Water Quality Association.
  • Choose one that removes the contaminants in your water (check your local drinking water quality report to see what’s present).
  • Change your water filters on time.

4. Choose Safe and Effective Cleaning Supplies

When buying household cleaning products, don’t bring home chemicals that could harm your health more than some of the microbes you’re trying to get rid of. Fortunately, there are a number of products on the market that work safely; here are some ways to shop wisely:

  • Look for the Green Seal, Ecologo, or Safer Choice (EPA) seals.
  • Opt for fragrance-free options.
  • Avoid triclosan and quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats.” (One tactic is to choose products that don’t advertise as “antibacterial.”)
  • Consult the EWG’s list of safe and effective products for guarding against coronavirus.

5. Opt for Non-Toxic Beauty and Personal Care Products

There are a lot of claims made on beauty and self-care products these days, but words alone, like “natural,” “organic,” “non-toxic,” “clean,” “green,” and “eco-friendly,” don’t mean a thing — they aren’t backed by any sort of regulatory or certification processes. Instead, to find non-toxic products you trust, you have to do a little research.

Start by checking reputable ratings databases like Skin Deep (EWG) and Think Dirty. Another good bet: Look for reliable third-party certifications on products labels, including:

  • USDA Organic
  • EWG Verified
  • Made Safe
  • NSF/ANSI 305
  • Natural Products Association Certified
  • Whole Foods Market Premium Body Care

6. Get Outside

One more reason to get outdoors beyond combatting cabin fever: The air in natural environments is generally much cleaner than indoor air. For one, outdoor air contains ⅔ less carbon dioxide, high levels of which negatively affect our productivity, sleep, and more.

Forest air in particular contains phytoncides, organic compounds emitted by trees and plants that have been shown to boost our immune system function, plus plants in general help neutralize toxic substances in the air. Forests, open spaces, and open water are also rich in negative ions, which reduce inflammation.

So take your pick of natural environs, and get out there as often as possible — while still maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others, of course.

7. Bring Nature Indoors

Plants are natural air purifiers, so bringing some plants indoors can help clear the air in your home. Here’s a list of the top 10 air-purifying plants to consider:

  • Areca palm
  • Lady palm
  • Bamboo palm
  • Rubber plant
  • Dracaena
  • English ivy
  • Dwarf date palm
  • Ficus
  • Boston fern
  • Peace lily

8. Drive Less, Move More

Staying off the roads decreases air pollution, and the fact that many of us are driving less these days is noticeably improving air quality. If your commute is on hold, try to translate some of your usual travel time into getting more physical activity, or sneak in more movement between other normal routines.

Exercise improves circulation, oxygenates your tissues, and enhances the work of the lymphatic system through muscle contractions — all of which make it easier to move toxins out of your body.

9. Practice Forgiveness

Through the practice of gratitude, we stay centered and in the present moment. This allows us to move through situations from our heart. Take time to forgive someone or yourself for things in the past. When we forgive, we expand and open up to endless possibilities.

10. Quit a Bad Habit

Are you a smoker? Pack rat? Chronically sleep-deprived? In a bad relationship? Toxins come into our lives in many forms. Consider if you’re participating in any unhealthy patterns or holding onto anything that no longer serves you, and then find a way to limit those things in your life.

Dr. Rawls is a licensed medical doctor in North Carolina and a leading expert in integrative health. He has extensive training in alternative therapies, and is the Medical Director of Vital Plan, a holistic health and herbal supplement company in Raleigh, NC.

Reposted with permission from Vital Plan.

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How to boost healthy, plant-based eating without sacrificing meat with the flexitarian diet

How to boost healthy, plant-based eating without sacrificing meat with the flexitarian diet

  • January 14, 2021
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Flexitarians usually only eat red meat around once or twice a week and focus more of their meals on fruits and vegetables. wenyi liu/Getty Images
  • The flexitarian diet is a more flexible take on going vegetarian, allowing meat, seafood, dairy, and eggs in your meal plan in moderation.

  • There are no strict guidelines to the flexitarian diet, but experts generally recommend centering most meals around plant-based foods, while treating meat and dairy as an accent rather than the main dish.

  • Some of the health benefits of including more plant-based foods in your diet may include improved digestion, stronger immune system, and improved cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.

An ever-growing body of research suggests that eating less meat and dairy and more plants can do wonders for your health. However, a vegan or vegetarian diet isn’t for everyone. 

Fortunately, there is a middle ground: the flexitarian diet. As the name suggests, it’s a more flexible take on going vegetarian, meaning that you’re still allowed to eat meat, seafood, dairy, and eggs in moderation.

Here’s more about the flexitarian diet and what you should know before trying it.

What is the flexitarian diet?

The flexitarian diet is a type of plant-based diet. Although some people on a plant-based diet might opt to cut out animal products entirely, flexitarians still enjoy varying amounts on occasion. 

The term flexitarian seems to have emerged around 2004 and gained steam after dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner published a book about the diet in 2008. Since then, its popularity has been steadily mounting. 

The flexitarian diet is also a form of reducetarianism or reducing your total consumption of animal products. The difference, according to The Reducetarian Foundation, is that reducetarians steadily decrease their intake of all animal products – typically intending to eventually eliminate them.

Benefits of a flexitarian diet

“There are many health benefits to a flexitarian diet,” says registered dietician Shena Jaramillo, MS. 

 

“A flexitarian diet may lead to an overall increase in fruits and veggies, a reduction in saturated and trans fats, and an increase in fiber intake. This can help to lower cholesterol, improve bowel function, increase immunities, and reduce inflammation in the body,” Jaramillo says.

It makes sense why a flexitarian diet might be good for your overall health. Not only does eating more plants help you get more of the vitamins and minerals your body needs, but it also makes it easier to meet your daily recommended intake of fiber – which plays a key role in gut health as well as blood sugar control

Meanwhile, when you reduce the number of animal products you eat, you also reduce your intake of saturated fat, which has been shown to raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol, thus increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke.

What to eat and drink on the flexitarian diet

“The majority of a flexitarian diet should come from fruits and veggies – fresh or frozen – beans, lentils, tofu, and whole grains,” Jaramillo tells Insider. “When eating animal products, try choosing leaner meats like chicken and fish.”

There are no strict guidelines on how much animal products to consume on the flexitarian diet. Experts generally recommend centering most of your meals around plant-based foods, while treating meat and dairy as an accent rather than the main dish. 

Flexitarians may opt to have red meat once or twice a week, or nix red meat entirely and enjoy fish, poultry, and eggs in moderation. The point is to prioritize plant-based foods over animal foods, reducing the quantity of meat and dairy you’re eating overall, and focus on quality instead – eating free-range, organic, and grass-fed meat and dairy products whenever possible. Anyone can benefit from a flexitarian diet, not just those with the budget and access to these foods.

Not all vegetarian diets are created equal, of course, and experts generally recommend focusing on whole plant-based foods rather than processed meat substitutes (like some soy-based frozen veggie burgers) and snacks. In other words, foods in their natural state are healthier. The fewer ingredients, the better, generally speaking. 

As a general rule, registered dietician-nutritionist Scott Keatley, CDN, says to fill your plate with twice the amount of vegetables or fruit per serving of whole-grains, beans/legumes, and nuts/seeds. 

“Highly processed foods like cookies, candies, and crackers may be plant-based, but they are often heavy in calories while not offering a lot of nutrient density,” says Jaramillo.

Disadvantages of a flexitarian diet

One of the few disadvantages to following a healthy flexitarian diet is that you will likely need to spend more time planning, prepping, and cooking your meals in advance – which may feel like an adjustment if you’re used to grabbing whatever’s convenient.

There are also some potential nutritional deficiencies. For example, since calcium and vitamin B12 are more prevalent in animal products, you may need to seek out a fortified nutritional yeast, cereal, or dairy-free milk – or take a supplement – to fill that gap. Note that broccoli, kale, collard greens, bok choy, and navy beans are all plant-based sources of calcium, and eggs, yogurt, cheese, and fish can all help you to meet your recommended daily intake of vitamin B12.

According to Keatley, the stricter your plant-based diet is, the more prone you are to iron-deficiency anemia. That’s why it’s important to incorporate certain iron-rich foods into your diet, such as spinach, lentils, chickpeas, and cashews.

Insider’s takeaway

A flexitarian diet offers many of the same benefits as a vegetarian diet, provided you can significantly cut down on your consumption of animal proteins.

It can also be a viable way to lose weight, as long as you focus on eating nutrient-dense, fiber-rich plant-based whole foods, reduce the heavily processed foods and sugary foods you’re eating, and create a calorie deficit.

“The flexitarian diet can be very healthy,” says Keatley. “But like with every other diet, your choices still matter.”

Read the original article on Insider

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TikTok dietitian shares five nutrients to add into your diet to help boost immunity

  • January 12, 2021

AlexRaths/iStock

AlexRaths/iStockBy GMA Team, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — The past nearly one year of the coronavirus pandemic has taught us that health is more important now than ever, and that how we take care of our bodies goes beyond just weight loss and superficial reasons.

Eating well not only helps with sleep, stress and energy, but also helps boost the immune system and reduces the risk of chronic diseases, according to Steph Grasso, a Virginia-based registered dietitian who has nearly two million followers on TikTok.

The immune system is the network of cells and proteins in our bodies that keeps us alive by defending against infections from bacteria, viruses and more. Adding foods to your diet can help improve the strength of your immune system, according to Grasso.

“Many people believe that restricting foods or taking foods out of their diet is the only way to achieve their health goals,” she told ABC News’ Good Morning America. “What people don’t realize is that adding foods to your diet can actually help one reach their health goals without feeling deprived.”

“I like to ask myself, ‘What do I need to add to make this meal more balanced?’” she said.

Here are five important nutrients, and the foods that have them, to add to your meals to help boost immunity, according to Grasso:

1. Protein is the macronutrient that provides building blocks for immune cells to use to protect us from infections, according to Grasso.

Find it in meat, eggs, legumes, fish, tofu, seeds, yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts and nut butter.

2. Vitamin D activates and regulates immunity cells in the body and could help prevent autoimmunity, according to Grasso.

Find it in fatty fish, egg yolk, mushrooms, liver and vitamin D-fortified milk.

3. Vitamin C builds healthy tissue to resist the entry of bacteria and viruses into the body, according to Grasso.

Find it in bell peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, citrus, potatoes, dark leafy greens, strawberries, mangoes and tomatoes.

4. Zinc promotes cellular synthesis of new infection fighting molecules in immune cells and promotes wound healing, according to Grasso.

Find it in beans, eggs, whole grains, shellfish, wheat, peanut butter and animal products.

5. Vitamin E protects our cells from free radicals [unstable atoms that can damage cells and cause illness and aging] and helps adjust immune responses to infections, according to Grasso.

Find it in whole grains, leafy greens, egg yolks, legumes, nuts, sunflower seeds and vegetable oils.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

AlexRaths/iStock

TikTok dietitian shares five nutrients to add into your diet to help boost immunity | Connect FM | Local News Radio

  • January 12, 2021

By GMA Team, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — The past nearly one year of the coronavirus pandemic has taught us that health is more important now than ever, and that how we take care of our bodies goes beyond just weight loss and superficial reasons.

Eating well not only helps with sleep, stress and energy, but also helps boost the immune system and reduces the risk of chronic diseases, according to Steph Grasso, a Virginia-based registered dietitian who has nearly two million followers on TikTok.

The immune system is the network of cells and proteins in our bodies that keeps us alive by defending against infections from bacteria, viruses and more. Adding foods to your diet can help improve the strength of your immune system, according to Grasso.

“Many people believe that restricting foods or taking foods out of their diet is the only way to achieve their health goals,” she told ABC News’ Good Morning America. “What people don’t realize is that adding foods to your diet can actually help one reach their health goals without feeling deprived.”

“I like to ask myself, ‘What do I need to add to make this meal more balanced?”” she said.

Here are five important nutrients, and the foods that have them, to add to your meals to help boost immunity, according to Grasso:

1. Protein is the macronutrient that provides building blocks for immune cells to use to protect us from infections, according to Grasso.

Find it in meat, eggs, legumes, fish, tofu, seeds, yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts and nut butter.

2. Vitamin D activates and regulates immunity cells in the body and could help prevent autoimmunity, according to Grasso.

Find it in fatty fish, egg yolk, mushrooms, liver and vitamin D-fortified milk.

3. Vitamin C builds healthy tissue to resist the entry of bacteria and viruses into the body, according to Grasso.

Find it in bell peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, citrus, potatoes, dark leafy greens, strawberries, mangoes and tomatoes.

4. Zinc promotes cellular synthesis of new infection fighting molecules in immune cells and promotes wound healing, according to Grasso.

Find it in beans, eggs, whole grains, shellfish, wheat, peanut butter and animal products.

5. Vitamin E protects our cells from free radicals [unstable atoms that can damage cells and cause illness and aging] and helps adjust immune responses to infections, according to Grasso.

Find it in whole grains, leafy greens, egg yolks, legumes, nuts, sunflower seeds and vegetable oils.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

COVID-19 And Gut Health: Researchers Find A Strong Link

COVID-19 And Gut Health: Researchers Find A Strong Link | 5 Diet Tips For A Healthy Gut

  • January 12, 2021

Highlights

  • Several bacteria in our digestive tract have positive influence on health
  • Gut microbiome promote immunity
  • New study find link between gut bacteria and COVID-19 infection

We all know the importance of a healthy gut. It revs ups digestion and metabolism, and further promotes overall well-being. According to a report on the official website of University of California, Davis, “Gut health describes the function and balance of bacteria of the many parts of the gastrointestinal tract.” There is an extensive variety of bacteria in our digestive tract. Referred to as microbiome, most of these micro-organisms are extremely beneficial for our health. Several studies around the world have proved its influence on our mood, mental health, skin health, immunity and more. For the uninitiated, about 70 percent of the immunity system is housed with the gut walls. Hence, experts around the world recommend maintaining a healthy gut to promote immunity and prevent several flu and bacterial attacks in the longer run.

Establishing the importance of gut microbiome, a new study finds a surprising link between these bacteria and COVID-19. As per the study, these bacteria may influence the “severity of COVID-19 as well as the magnitude of the immune system response to the infection”. It also suggested that any kind of imbalance may lead to persisting inflammatory symptoms – often dubbed as ‘long COVID’. These findings were published in the journal Gut.

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How Is COVID-19 Severities Linked To Gut Health:

The importance of a strong immunity during this ongoing Coronavirus pandemic is no secret to the world. Delnaaz T. Chanduwadia, Chief Dietitian, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, Mumbai suggests, “Strengthening immunity begins with fuelling your body with right kind of food and every essential nutrient.” Besides, it also depends on the condition of our gut. Hence, the researchers in this study wanted to find out whether these gut microbiome can affect the immune system response to COVID-19 infection.

For this study, the researchers surveyed medical records from 100 hospitals and blood and stool sample of people with confirmed COVID-19 infection between February and May last year. They also had a record of 78 people without COVID-19 infection.

After an extensive survey, it was found that gut microbiome can have a potential effect on the COVID-19 severities.

“In light of reports that a subset of recovered patients with COVID-19 experience persistent symptoms, such as fatigue, dyspnoea [breathlessness] and joint pains, some over 80 days after initial onset of symptoms, we posit that the dysbiotic gut microbiome could contribute to immune-related health problems post-COVID-19,” the researchers explained.

They added, “Bolstering of beneficial gut species depleted in COVID-19 could serve as a novel avenue to mitigate severe disease, underscoring the importance of managing patients’ gut microbiota during and after COVID-19.”

Considering the above factors, we say, maintaining a strong and healthy gut may not only have a positive effect on people affected by COVID-19, but will also help maintain a healthy and nutritious body from within.

Also Read: 

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Eat healthy and nutrient-rich foods to maintain healthy digestive tract

COVID-19 And Gut Health: 5 Diet Tips To Maintain Healthy Gut-

1. Stay hydrated:

Drinking adequate amount of water every day may help keep a balance of good bacteria in our digestive tract.

2. Chew your food well:

Chewing your food properly and slowly is of utmost importance to boost better digestion. This helps maintain overall health.

3. Consume probiotic:

Yogurt, pickle, paneer, fermented soy bean (akhuni) etc. are loaded with ‘good bacteria’. Hence, adding these foods in your daily diet may help boost digestion and metabolism.

4. Maintain healthy diet:

Adding more fibre, protein and vitamins in your diet and cutting down on sugar and fat can influence a healthy gut.

Promoted

5. Proper detoxification:

Flushing out toxins regularly from our body is essential to prevent free-radical damages and inflammation. These factors help strengthen immunity and overall health.

(Note: These diet tips are not a part of the study)

About Somdatta SahaExplorer- this is what Somdatta likes to call herself. Be it in terms of food, people or places, all she craves for is to know the unknown. A simple aglio olio pasta or daal-chawal and a good movie can make her day.

Weight Loss And Immunity: Expert Suggests 5 Vegetables You Must Add To Your Winter Diet

Weight Loss And Immunity: Expert Suggests 5 Vegetables You Must Add To Your Winter Diet

  • January 12, 2021

Eating carrot, spinach and beetroot can boost your immune system.

Highlights

  • We need to shield our body internally with nutritious warm foods
  • Some vegetables provide flavour and nutrition together
  • Here are 5 vegetables we must add in our winter diet

There is a nip in the air, and aren’t we glad. In this season, we need to shield our body internally with nutritious warm foods that are comforting and can protect us from the chilly winds. There are some vegetables that are capable of making ourselves warm even under the blanket of snow and provides us nutrition as well as flavour during this time of the year.

Here are my top 5 picks for healthy vegetables we should incorporate in our diet during winter season.

1. CARROTS 

This delicious super food contains all the essential Vitamins such as Vit. A, B,B2,B3,C,D,E & K. It is loaded with the antioxidant beta-carotene which regulates conversion of Vitamin A in the body and this in turn contributes to better vision, slow down aging process, prevent heart disease, healthier skin, hair and nails. Since vitamin A assists the liver in flushing out of toxins, it cleanses the body and the liver. You can use carrots in sandwiches, wraps or salads if you are planning to lose weight.

(Also Read: 5 Foods You Must Eat In Winters (With Benefits) – Expert Reveals)

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2. SPINACH 

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This green leafy vegetable is an excellent source of Vitamin A and K, and it contains large amount of iron that is necessary for the red blood cells in the body. It prevents the body from seasonal infections. Eating spinach can also boost your immune system, gives you strong muscles, support heart health and keep you energized. Additionally, it also promotes weight loss- you can have delicious green smoothie daily.

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A cup of boiled spinach can help in maintaining a healthy weight.

3. SWEET POTATOES 

Sweet potatoes are healthy alternative to potatoes and are readily available during winters. It is rich in fiber, beta-carotene, Vitamin A, B6 & C. It prevents constipation, common colds and also aids in the formation of blood cells. You can roast it or boil it, or have it with pepper and olive oil drizzled on top for better absorption of nutrients.

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Sweet potatoes are a source of healthy carbs

4. MUSTARD GREENS (SAAG) 

These crispy green leaves contains colossal amount of phytonutrients called glucosinolates and should be a part of your winter diet. They help in protecting the cells of our liver and other organs from free radical damage and aids in detoxification. They are also an excellent source of fiber.

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5. BEETROOT 

It is a must – have vegetable in winters and is extremely delicious if you acquire a taste of it. It contains iron, vitamin A, B6 & C and other vital minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. It is a great detoxifer, keeps your blood sugar in control, and manage obesity and heart diseases. In addition to this, it helps to increase white blood cells too.

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Beetroot is a great detoxifer.

Here is few soup recipes you can make with the use of these delicious winter vegetables:

(Also Read: 11 Winter-Special Veg Soup Recipes To Brave The Cold Season)

1. SPINACH GARLIC SOUP

The abundance of healthy fibres in this soup helps regulate bowel movements, facilitates the absorption of nutrients and easy digestion. The water present in it nourishes the body cells and keep the skin fresh.

INGREDIENTS –

2-3 cups Spinach (shredded)

1 cup cabbage (shredded)

1 tsp Olive oil

1 tsp Garlic (chopped)

1/2 cup Onion (chopped)

1/4 tsp Black pepper

1 cup low fat milk (optional)

Salt for taste

METHOD-

1. Wash the spinach and cabbage with water thoroughly and with sharp knife, shred their leaves.

2. Heat the olive oil in a deep non-stick pan and once the oil is hot, add the garlic and onions.

3. Saute’ both on a medium flame till the onions turns translucent.

4. Add spinach and cabbage and saute on a medium flame until both cooked and wilted.

5. Add 2 cups of water slowly, mix well and boil the mixture for 3-5 minutes while stirring occasionally.

6. Switch off the flame and cool the mixture slightly. Then transfer the mixture in mixed jar for blending until smooth texture.

7. Transfer the mixture into same non-stick pan and add low fat milk or water and season it with salt and black pepper.

8. Cook the mixture on medium flame for 2 minutes with continuous stirring in between.

9. Switch off the flame and serve the soup hot.

2. CARROT BEETROOT GINGER SOUP

Benefits – Made with the goodness of beetroot, carrot and ginger along with the freshness of coriander leaves, this soup provides warmth and immunity while curbing your sudden hunger pangs. This soup the excellent source of Vitamin A and iron.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Cup Beetroot (chopped and peeled)

2 cup carrots (chopped and peeled)

1/2 cup onion (chopped)

1 inch long ginger (chopped)

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt for taste

Fresh coriander leaves (chopped)

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This soup provides warmth and immunity while curbing your sudden hunger pangs.

METHOD –

1. Heat the Olive oil in a medium stock pot and once the oil is hot, add chopped ginger and onions.

2. Brown the ingredients over medium heat with frequent stirring. Then, add chopped carrots and beetroot.

3. Add 2-3 cups of water in a pan and boil it on low flame till the vegetables are soft.

4. Cool down the mixture and use standard blender or immersion to puree the mixture until smooth.

5. Add more water if the soup seems too thick and reheat gently.

6. Add salt according to taste and black pepper and boil it for 1 minute with occasional stirring.

7. To serve hot, garnish the soup with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

About Author: Ms. Gurpreet Kaur is a Clinical Nutritionist at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Chandigarh.

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The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

TOP 5 diet trends in 2021 to stay healthy and active with an enhanced immune system

TOP 5 diet trends in 2021 to stay healthy and active with an enhanced immune system

  • January 11, 2021

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become essential to have an enhanced immune system. So, here are the top 5 diet trends to opt for in the new year to boost the immune system and stay healthy.

A nutritious diet plays a crucial role in keeping us healthy, active and fit. And during this global pandemic, it has become more important to have a diet plan that will boost your immune system. So, here are the top 5 diet trends in 2021 that you can opt for.

Top 5 diet trends for 2021:

Immune system supporting diet

To fight with COVID-19, it is necessary to include Vitamin C and Vitamin E rich foods in your diet like avocados, grapefruits, etc. These will improve your immune system making you strong to fight the virus. Some other healthy foods to have are green tea, berries, eggs, garlic, etc.

Keto lite

Keto lite has come from the original keto diet. In the keto diet, we take our body into ketosis by having more fats and very limited or zero carbs. In this process, the body produces energy burning the fats which speed up the weight loss process. In keto lite process, we take more protein, moderate fats from potential sources like avocado, almonds, coconut and very low carbs. It includes gluten-free foods as well.

Plant-based flexitarian diet

The aim of this diet is to take all proteins from the plant-based sources like pumpkin seed proteins, pea protein, almond protein, etc. It does not exclude animal-based proteins.

Intermittent fasting

Often, this diet is considered to be a fast process for weight loss. In this diet, people literally lose weight by simply not eating for the majority of the day. For example, they restrict their eating period to an 8-hour block and fast for the other 16 hours.

DASH Diet

The full form of DASH is Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension. This is designed to prevent heart diseases and high blood pressure. This focuses on consuming normal healthy foods like veggies, whole-grains, fruits, fish, poultry, nuts, etc.

Also Read: 7 healthy swaps for junk food to ring in the New Year and stay healthy and active

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Winterise your diet with these 5 superfoods to boost immunity and stay healthy

Winterise your diet with these 5 superfoods to boost immunity and stay healthy

  • January 9, 2021

Winterise your diet with these 5 superfoods to boost immunity and stay healthy


Winterise your diet with these 5 superfoods to boost immunity and stay healthy&nbsp | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspiStock Images

Key Highlights

  • It’s important to stick to a healthy, balanced diet to help prevent or reduce your risk of catching colds and the flu

  • The winter season is full of superfoods that can help strengthen your immunity, improve digestion and protect against disease

  • Try addign these winter superfoods to your diet to stay healthy and fit this season

New Delhi: Winter is here – a crucial time to ensure that you stay on top of your health. This can be achieved by making good food choices and other healthier lifestyle changes. The truth is, there isn’t a single food that holds the key to disease prevention or good health, but sticking to a healthy, balanced diet will help strengthen your immune system to better protect you – or speed up recovery should you fall ill. Fortunately, winter brings with it a whole array of superfoods that are also delicious and can satisfy your palate.

So, here’s a list of winter superfoods that you must include in your diet to improve immunity, lose weight and stay healthy. The good news is, they are all in-season during the winter and pack an immense nutritional punch.

Superfoods to eat during winters for a healthier, fitter you

  1. Carrots: An excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fibre, having carrots regularly can help strengthen your immunity, lower your risk of cancer among several other benefits. Carrots are particularly rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant your body converts to vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes healthy as well as plays a vital role in health. They are also good for your heart and a great addition to a healthy diet for people with diabetes.
  2. Beets: Beets are high in nutrients but low in calories and fat. The vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in the root vegetable can benefit your health immensely – such as boosting your immune function, keeping blood pressure in check, improving digestive health, reducing the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Beets may also help you lose weight as they have high water and low-calorie content.
  3. Winter squash: Winter squash – acorn or butternut – is a superfood that’s also a delicious and colourful addition to your meals. Winter squashes are amongst the healthiest foods you can eat during the cooler months. They are loaded with fibre, protein, magnesium, potassium, vitamins B6 and C, etc. They are also rich in carotenoids – beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A), lutein, zeaxanthin. What’s more, they can enhance or form the basis of a range of savory and sweet dishes. So, take your pick to help manage diabetes, lower your risk of cancer, decrease blood pressure and cholesterol. Adding them to your diet will also support your immune system, improve digestion, keep your skin and hair healthy.
  4. Kale: A nutrition superstar due to the high amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, kale is one of the most versatile winter superfoods. The vegetable is very low in calories but loaded with potent antioxidants such as quercetin and kaempferol, which have many beneficial effects on health. Kale is an excellent source of vitamin K, an important nutrient critical for blood clotting. It is also high in vitamin C, which helps strengthen the immune system. The potassium in kale can help reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease.
  5. Broccoli and cauliflower: Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are packed full of fibre, vitamins, minerals and beneficial antioxidants. In fact, adding them to your diet may help you protect against winter illnesses. Both the veggies are high in vitamin C, which is linked with enhanced immune function. They are also an excellent source of dietary fibre, a vital nutrient that plays a major role in blood sugar control, digestive and heart health.

Stay healthy and fit with your winter superfoods – they’re rich in nutrients and phytochemicals, which will nourish your body and may help prevent disease.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

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