Winter: Time to check in with our body’s defence systems
It’s that time of year again when you can feel the sun outside starting to change and the days are getting shorter. How do our bodies cope with the change in season? As we are now in the last month before Winter is upon us, it’s the perfect time to check in and support our immune system.
One way we can do this is by ensuring our digestive system is working optimally. After all, our digestive system acts as a very important first line of defence to the outside environment it is exposed to.
Did you know that the gastrointestinal system is lined with cells called enterocytes that nutrients entering the body pass through? Why do we want to keep these cells healthy? Well, there are many reasons…
We want to utilise all the nutrients of the foods that we are eating. By nourishing and protecting the enterocytes lining the intestinal wall we can ensure they are functioning optimally to process the nutrients in our diet to support energy production.
Unhealthy cells can lead to leaky gut, a condition where the barrier between the gut and the rest of the body is impaired, allowing molecules to pass through the gut lining into the bloodstream, increasing the risk for autoimmune conditions. In these circumstances, it is not uncommon for symptoms involving the skin to present.
The gastrointestinal system acts as an important first line of defence to the outside environment it is exposed to, starting at the mouth, right through to the end of the digestive passage. The health of the digestive system plays a significant role in immune health.
Not only is the digestive system important for immune health, there is a close link between the digestive system and the nervous system. The neurotransmitter serotonin is produced in the lining of the gastrointestinal system. Dysfunction in this area can create disruptions with serotonin production, which can have an effect on your mood, energy and ability to cope with stress.
Glutamine – part of the solution!
So how do we look after these very important enterocytes that line the digestive tract? Glutamine is an amino acid that feeds enterocytes, helping to maintain the function of the intestinal wall. Glutamine can be found in most protein sources, including beef, chicken, fish and eggs. Other dietary sources include cabbage, dairy products, beans and spinach. One great way to have a boost of glutamine in your diet in the lead up to Winter is through organic bone broths. Check out the link below for a great recipe.
HOT TIP!! Organic & grass fed bones are cheap as chips at your local butcher shop. http://www.sarahwilson.com/2012/01/how-to-make-bone-broth-and-why-you-should/