Our immune system is our main defense against diseases. It spots intruders in our body and defeats them. Without it, we would be vulnerable to attacks from different viruses and bacteria.
Keeping a healthy immune system is essential for our survival. To keep it in its optimal state, you’ll need to understand its relationship with the food you eat and learn how to reset your immune system through elimination diet.
Your Immune System And Your Gut
First, let us find out where the immune system is. Approximately 70% of the immune system resides in the gut. That is because the largest tissue that comprises the immune system is found in the stomach.
The stomach is also the place where the immune system and bacteria meet.
The Food That You Eat
To ensure that the immune system is being kept healthy, it is vital to watch your diet. Food influences gut health. It is crucial to know which foods would help or harm the immune system.
Different individuals have diverse reactions to certain food groups. Some foods may seem good to consume but are actually creating constant, low blows to the gut. This series of low exposure may lead to health problems in the long run. Thus, it is beneficial to give the immune system a break by going on an elimination diet.
What Is An Elimination Diet?
An elimination diet is a short-term therapeutic meal plan that eliminates certain foods that may be causing inflammation to the body. Generally, foods that are removed are those that are considered inflammatory. These foods are then slowly reintroduced back into the diet to determine if it is causing intolerance or an allergic response.
Why Do We Need To Find Out Food Sensitivities Or Food Intolerance?
We experience different symptoms of sensitivity from the food we eat every day. Some may experience bloating, or other digestive issues while some may have skin indications. But with the variety of food that we eat, it is hard to pinpoint the exact culprit. Especially when the signs are not that severe or obvious.
If we keep consuming foods that the body doesn’t tolerate, this will give signals to the immune system to keep working. Thus, increasing its workload from dealing with pathogens as well as toxins from your food.
How Does An Elimination Diet Work?
To give the immune system a breather from dealing with inflammation, you’ll temporarily remove these foods from your diet:
- Added Sugars
- Hydrogenated oils
- Alcohol and Caffeine
- Nightshade vegetables
This might look quite restrictive, but just keep in mind that it is only temporary. The elimination diet does not only restrict some foods but also adds enriching, nutrient-dense substitutes such as:
- Bone Broth
- Fermented Foods and Probiotics
- Raw Milk and Cultured dairy
- Leafy Vegetables
- Cruciferous vegetables
- High-quality proteins
- Coconut Products
- Gluten-free products
- Healthy fats from avocado or olive oil
- A minimal amount of fresh fruits
You will notice the foods added here are full of nutrients to boost the immune system.
How To Reintroduce Foods
After sticking to a nutrient-dense diet for 3-4 weeks, the gut-healing process would start as well as any symptoms you feel. You’ll then be ready for the reintroduction process. You will slowly reintroduce the foods that were previously eliminated by:
- Reincorporating one food group at a time.
- Observing any changes once you have reintroduced the food. Look out for digestive symptoms, skin manifestations, or even mood indicators.
- If symptoms were not present, you may include the food back to your normal diet
- If you felt certain signs, eliminate it again to make sure it was really the cause.
- Reintroduce the same food at a different time to see if the same results happen. If so, you just discovered the food you are sensitive from.
This procedure is a bit of a trial and error process, but in the end, you will gain knowledge on the effects of certain foods on your body.
Personalized Food Categories
After the elimination diet, you will be empowered with the grasp of your own three food categories namely:
- Optimal foods are the ones that make your body thrive. These are the ones that give you a lot of nutrition and strengthens your immune system.
- Tolerable foods are those that you can consume moderately. This might not be as good as the optimal ones but you will still be able to enjoy them.
- Harmful foods are those that you might want to avoid for good or may consume just a little amount. These are the foods that cause reactions to your body and gives an alert status to your immune system.
Isn’t it great when you gain control of what you eat and how it will affect you?
Other Ways To Boost Your Immune System
Now that you are already familiar with how to reset your immune system through the elimination diet, it is time to consider other aspects of your health.
Having a healthy diet is just one aspect of maintaining a good immune system. Other factors to consider include exercise, stress management and a positive outlook in life.