With flu season approaching, trusted health and wellbeing experts say we should be focusing on improving our gut health to boost immunity. Dr Joanna McMillan, renowned nutrition scientist and Accredited Practising Dietitian, believes gut health is not a passing health fad. There’s more and more scientific research showing a proven link between our immune and gastrointestinal system.
Dr Joanna McMillan’s top five tips for boosting winter immunity
1. Limit junk food and eat more fibre
Junk foods encourage the wrong types of bacteria to grow and become dominant in the gut. Instead, Dr Jo recommends eating a plant-rich diet with whole, minimally processed foods packed with fibre. Many fibres are also prebiotics, which fuel the growth of good bugs in your gut. The build-up of good bugs results in a healthier immune system.
2. Make sure you’re getting enough probiotics
Probiotics should be taken every day for maximum benefit, especially in winter. You can get your probiotic-fix from a daily supplement, apple cider vinegar, or for a tastier and more refreshing alternative, try kombucha. Choose a kombucha that’s chilled, and contains a scientifically proven strain of bacteria.
Close to 70 per cent of your immune system is actually housed in your gastrointestinal tract, so it’s important to keep it in good shape.
Probiotics can be a valuable strategy for boosting immune function during winter as they have been shown to reduce the number and severity of respiratory infections.”
3. Get enough sleep
There’s a link between sleep and immunity. If you’re sleeping poorly or not getting enough sleep, you’re more likely to snack on sugary foods throughout the day to boost your energy levels. And to add to the destruction, you skip exercise because you feel too tired. Dr Jo says most adults need seven to nine hours a night.
4. Limit alcohol
Alcohol can irritate your digestive system by causing inflammation. If you’re experiencing problems with your gut, it’s best to avoid alcohol all together. Even moderate drinking increases your risk of bowel and other cancers. If you choose to enjoy alcohol, be sure you do so in moderation. The Australian guidelines recommend drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day for healthy men and women.
5. Stay hydrated
Not drinking enough water can slow down your digestive system, resulting in harder stools that are more difficult to pass. According to Dr Jo, there’s an easy way to tell whether you’re drinking enough – your urine should remain a light straw colour, all day long.
Kombucha is a sparkling, fermented tea with living probiotics (‘good’ bacteria), organic acids and vitamins, that’s taking Australia by storm.
As one of the original makers of kombucha in Australia, MOJO kombucha quantifies its proven probiotics on pack, with an exclusive probiotic strain that is designed to survive the journey from mouth to stomach to optimise the drink’s gut-health benefits.
To ensure that the probiotic benefits reach the gut alive, we have one billion Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086 probiotics living in every bottle of MOJO for extra gut health insurance,” said founder Anthony Crabb.