It’s no fun falling sick. Yet a cold or flu can come out of nowhere and hit you like a ton of bricks. Throat ache, fever, chills, fatigue, body ache; all you want to do is crawl into bed with a box of tissues and feel sorry for yourself.
It is rainy season here in this part of the world and a lot of people are suffering with colds or the flu.
It is no surprise that many expats are catching these viruses right after returning from their summer vacation. Expats and frequent travellers are especially vulnerable because of jet lag and a temporarily weakened immune system, which typically leaves you wide open for attack from foreign invaders.
In these cases it is fairly easy to see why you may have fallen sick but sometimes there are no obvious reasons to be catching a cold or flu. Which adds a dose of frustration to the already irritating symptoms of your common cold.
It does make you wonder why there are people whose immune system is strong enough to handle a room full of toddlers with chesty coughs and runny noses without ever catching a bug. And why there are those who seem to be picking up every cold or flu that is going around, often despite living healthy lifestyles and eating a good diet.
There are many things that play a role in immune health. A healthy diet and lifestyle, good quality sleep, exercise, a positive mindset and keeping your stress levels in check are some of the more obvious factors.
But what I would like to focus on is an additional piece of the immune health puzzle: the health of your digestive system, which includes the integrity of the intestinal barrier (aka your second skin) and the diversity and state of your gut flora (aka your Microbiome).
It is estimated that at least 70% of your immune system is housed in your gut. This is no surprise, given that your gut is the largest interface between the outside world and the inside of your body. Beneath the surface of the gut barrier is a whole army of immune cells waiting to catch invaders.
When our gut barrier is compromised (which is more common than you think!), or in other words “permeable”, unwanted molecules have more chance of finding their way into our blood stream. This leaves our immune soldiers in a constant state of activity, which can eventually lead to immune challenges.
Similarly, there is an increasing amount of evidence that links the health and diversity of our microbiome to the function of our immune system.
Overuse of antibiotics or other medications, poor diet, exposure to toxins, gut infections, stress are some of the things that can compromise our gut health both by causing intestinal permeability, also known as leaky gut, as well as an imbalance in our gut flora.
Having a strong immune system is therefore one more reason to focus on restoring the health of your digestive system.
The way I do that with clients is through an 8-step Digestive Healing Program, which you can read more about here.
Even those clients that come and work with me for health issues that are seemingly unrelated to their digestion, like falling sick often, notice an improvement in their overall health and symptoms quite quickly when start implementing the gut healing steps.
Gut health may be just a piece of the overall health puzzle but it is a foundational one.
Ready to see if you would benefit from a health building, gut healing program? Sign up for a free Nutrition Breakthrough Session with me here and let’s see if I can help.
p.s. If you are battling a cold or flu and would like some tips on how to get well faster, check out this article.