The end of the summer. Back to school. A time when the blue skies succumb to a grey colour and the sun starts working half-days.
The shorter, cooler days of Autumn are nearly upon us, complete with those pesky change-of-season bugs.
But, as the weather turns and the short blaze of summer becomes an increasingly distant memory, we needn’t feel so melancholic about it. While the fleeting memories of summer picnics and beach-going days struggle for traction in your memory, you better believe there are people who embrace this time of year – and find richness and new beginnings.
There is something purposeful about the beginning of Autumn, with its back-to-school, new term, new pencil case vibe. But just as you convince yourself that Autumn is there for the taking, the rising drumroll of winter infection rates and an overwhelmed NHS bring you back to earth.
This seasonal shift can leave you more vulnerable to illness if your immune system isn’t at its best, particularly with cold, flu and allergy season just around the corner.
So, as we enter Autumn and the weather becomes cooler, and coughs and colds start to become more common, despite our best efforts to avoid them, building immunity for when the weather turns is vital.
While it’s not a magic remedy to fix our problems, one important aspect of maintaining a healthy immune system is taking care of our gut health.
Both your mood and immune system’s health and efficiency are intimately correlated with the condition of your digestive system. The gut microbiome plays a variety of beneficial tasks, including managing your metabolism, mood, cognition, hunger, digestion, and immunity – with between 70-80% of your immune cells in the gut. So, if you are burning the candle at both ends, supporting good gut health could be invaluable.
Bimuno® Immunity provides 100% of your recommended intake of essential immunity-supporting nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, and Zinc. Each daily sachet also contains Bimuno GOS, a unique ingredient that helps feed good gut bacteria and is shown to begin working in just seven days* of routine everyday use.
As supporting a healthy gut-immune response is a multi-factorial process, we spoke to author and nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik, who suggested five ways to support your gut health:
Here are Eve’s five top tips to help you get started.
1.) Eat a colourful, prebiotic-sourced diet.
A strong immune system needs a healthy, balanced diet. The essential nutrients for our body are protein, fibre, fat or micronutrients (Vitamins A, C, D) and key minerals such as iron, zinc, etc. Most can be found in various foods; therefore, aim to eat a rainbow of protein, vegetables and fruits daily to help support your immune system.
Besides that, prebiotics such as onions, garlic, oat, etc can also support your immune health. Prebiotics are key in feeding our gut microbiome, acting as a fertiliser for beneficial species of bacteria to grow. After all, 70-80% of our immune cells are located in the gut; we should take care of our gut with a balanced diet, or if you are struggling to get enough prebiotics from your diet, consider using gut health supplements.
2.) Vitamin supplementation
Whilst a healthy and balanced diet is the most effective way to support your immune health, vitamin supplementation may also be helpful in some cases. For instance, the lack of sunlight during wintertime means our body may require extra vitamin D. Although a small amount can be found in oily fish and fortified foods, many of us may need to add more vitamin D through supplementation to promote bone health and support the normal function of our immune system.
There are many different vitamin supplements on the market; however, studies show that increased consumption of vitamin C, D3 and zinc would contribute to the normal function of the immune system. You could look for products containing these vitamins or immunity supplements to support your immune health. Choose the best-quality versions when shopping for health supplements – without added sweeteners and artificial colours.
3.) Stay active
Regular exercise is a key part of maintaining your immune health. In addition, it helps to improve your sleep quality and manage your stress level.
To keep your body active during the wintertime, especially with many of us working from home more often, the recommended 150 minutes a week is a great aim, but even 10 minutes of brisk walking daily has major health benefits. Don’t forget to rehydrate afterwards.
4.) Manage your stress
High cortisol released in chronic stress directly affects how the immune system works. When the body is in constant fight or flight mode, it prioritises survival rather than rest and repair. This stress response restrains your immune system, making fighting infection much harder.
Deal with stress before they have the chance to build up. Allow yourself downtime for self-care and connecting with others for emotional support. Meditation and deep breathing can also help you manage your stress levels. See more ways to deal with stress here.
5.) Sleep soundly
Another way our body restores itself is sleep; only 1/3 of us get the recommended 7-8 hours per night. Sleep is an important way to help your body rest and repair, contributing to innate and adaptive immunity.
Studies indicated that some immune system parts become functional while we sleep at night. Try to get natural light exposure during the day to help set your body clock, avoid caffeine after midday, maintain a consistent sleep and wake time, wind down at least half an hour before bed with no blue light from screens and avoid salty, heavy meals in the evening. Together, these tips may help you to sleep more soundly and keep your immune system ready to be called into action when needed.
About Bimuno Bimuno® is a range of prebiotic supplements designed to make everyday gut health support simpler and more accessible.