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  • Kat D'Andrea

How digestion plays a part in respiratory tract infections like Covid

70% of the entire immune system is based in your GI tract (The digestive system). The digestive system is like a river that runs through us. It also controls metabolism, makes vitamins and communicates with every cell in our body. It brings nutrients to every cell in our body. When this is not optimal then we can feel sluggish, tired and not able to think straight.

Let’s pull back the layers, then get to the core of what can help your body internally cope a little better. I will leave you with some digesting thoughts, which I hope, will encourage you to make the right decision in building up your immune system.

When we eat, we release digestive enzymes that help break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats. If we eat too quick then we miss out on releasing these enzymes and therefore we are unable to absorb the best amount of nutrients from the food we are eating. If you are not digesting and absorbing your food properly then your body will not get the nourishment it needs to function properly. One simple change we can add to our everyday life right now is to chew our food 20/30 times before swallowing each bite.

Supporting your digestion is important for strengthening your immune system, especially when it comes to respiratory tract infections like Covid19. Here are some tips for helping build immunity.

  1. Try not to guzzle to much water during your meals as it dilutes digestive juices from the foods you eat. Let your body naturally absorb the minerals and vitamins from foods. Water is more beneficial in larger amounts in between meals.

  2. Soak nuts, seeds in a bowl of water overnight. For example soaked chia seed pudding overnight. The soaked nuts helps the nutrient absorption of nuts and is easier for the digestive system to break down.

  3. Drink coffee & tea away from food. Coffee is absorbed so fast that your body will prioritise it more than the nutrients in the food you are eating. It is best to try to have your coffee about 30 minutes after your meal. If you cannot wait then add a spoonful of coconut oil which helps slow down the chemical release of the coffee into the system. Peppermint, fennel tea are the only exceptions post meals as they encourage digestive enzymes.

  4. Chew your food - 30 times before we swallow. This helps release all those lovely digestive enzymes, which is where you will get the best nutrients out of the food you are eating.

  5. Include home made bone broth 2/3 times a week into your main meals. This can help seal the gut and repair cells through all the minerals. Add the bones from your leftover roast chicken into a slow cooker with a whole onion, carrot, fennel (no need to chop) leave it on for 24 hours. Strain the ingredients then drink or make another dish out of the broth.

  6. Pick 2-3 of the following prebiotic foods every day - to help increase friendly bacteria in the gut: Onion, garlic, chicory, artichoke, leeks, oats, asparagus

  7. Stick to 8 pieces of veg and two pieces of fruit a day to help move bowels. Use this method for the whole family. My son does not get fruit or dessert after every meal. I also try not to give him any fruit after 5pm as the sugars may affect sleep.

  8. Drink more water - Extremely beneficial for your mind and helping immune cells travel around your body eliminating toxins! Drink your water In between meals, always pour yourself a glass of water in advance and have it around the house, drink it and then pour yourself another one. Stop drinking as much fluids 2 hours before bedtime.

  9. Dry skin brushing to improve circulation and stimulate lymphatic cells. This helps the movement of bowels.

For all the new mummy’s out there, please understand that your immune system will do all it can protect you and your baby. All you need to do is apply what you can and be kind to yourself. That is what your immune system wants. Your body will do the rest for you. Use the tiny little moments you get to breathe and tell yourself you can do this.

**If you are pregnant - please seek medical advice from a qualified nutritional therapist as many herbs and products are not advised.


Lipski, E, , Hyman, M, Ph.D., CCN, CHN, 4th Edition, Digestive Wellness: Strengthening the immune system and prevent disease through healthy digestion 4th ed. 2012

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