The synergy between strong immune system, gut and heart health shows that it only takes a few habits to get you to your best. Your immune system uses specific vitamins and minerals to function. Vitamins D, A, and C, minerals like zinc, copper, and iron, and a few other nutrients help regulate how your immune system functions ー often simplified, giving it a “boost”. All of them are important but we want to focus on key molecule that didn't get enough attention but has been linked to the pandemic.
By eating food that contains the above vitamins, minerals, and support production of the miracle molecule, nitric oxide, which gives your immune system its boosting power. When your white blood cells use a targeted burst of inflammation to fend off invaders, nitric oxide is the main source for this attack. It’s no surprise that almost every condition associated with poor nitric oxide is also linked to severe Covid-19 (CDC).
Eat vegetables like red spinach, arugula, rhubarb, cilantro, butter leaf lettuce, spring greens, basil, beet greens, oak leaf lettuce, swiss chard, beets, and polyphenols like the ones found in aronia berry, elderberry and mango. You can also choose a scientifically formulated and clinically tested plant-based nutritional supplement to support nitric oxide levels.
Learn how to choose the right supplements for you by clicking here.
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Dr. Mitch Elkind, American Heart Association president, briefly explains in this video how the virus that causes COVID-19 can impact the whole body, including the heart and brain.
Heart challenges can also impair your immune system, making it easier for infections to get a foothold in your body. Heart challenges could be a sign that your metabolism isn’t working right, and your metabolism is necessary for your immune system to respond to pathogens. And the key to a healthy metabolism is healthy food intake.
Here’s our shortlist of nutrients for better heart health: vitamin D3, vitamin K2, magnesium, calcium, potassium, fiber, plant-based nitrates, vitamin C, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (especially EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids), bioactive plant chemicals: aronia berry polyphenols, threonate in black beans, ginger and turmeric phytochemicals, and crushed garlic.
If you want easy, heart-healthy recipes with the best sources of these nutrients, check out my blogs and also subscribe to Resync newsletter for evidence-based food recommendations.
A vast number of scientific evidence supports the relationship between the immune system and the gut. In the same way as the immune system, the digestive health evolves through life, and its balance is impacted by many factors including, but not limited to stress, diet, age, and diet. As crucial as prebiotic fiber is for a healthy gut, it’s just step number one.
To get the highest-fiber foods, read our blog The Ultimate Guide Of The Highest Foods & Drinks In Fiber.
But there is more to your gut health than taking dietary fiber. Your gut and immune system thrive when your gut bacteria are healthy - for some, this may mean taking a probiotic, not just prebiotic. The main difference is that prebiotics are the plant fibers that probiotics eat. You can have a probiotic drink that gives you good bacteria, but you’ll need some source of prebiotic fiber to help feed those bacteria and keep them happy and healthy.
Learn more by reading our blog Best Prebiotic Drinks For A Healthy Gut.
Also, here is a list of fermented foods you might want to try to support your gut health. Yogurt, watch out for added sugar! Kefir, apple cider vinegar Kvass, a fermented beet juice, sauerkraut or kimchi, fermented soy, including natto and tempeh. Just like dietary fiber, natural plant chemicals called polyphenols have prebiotic effects - meaning they can positively change your gut bacteria. Aronia berry, turmeric, ginger, and other polyphenol-rich phytochemicals have been shown to alter gut bacteria (Istas 2019; Peterson 2018).
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