Ask a Dietitian: Will Improving My Gut Health Boost My Immune System?

Hey Jess, I’m curious... will enhancing my gut health boost my immune system in preparation for the coming winter?

gut health boosting immune system

Ah, winter. The clocks go back, the heating goes on, and suddenly it seems as if it’s not only the temperature dropping, but your friends too with winter bugs and sniffles.

Firstly, it’s important to address the word ‘boost’. The term appears to be a marketing buzzword as there’s no food or diet that can ‘boost’ your immune system, despite what you read online. However, maintaining gut health and opting for a well balanced diet is crucial when it comes to supporting immune function during the colder months.

What is the immune system?

We can think of the immune system like our body’s superhero fighting off infections. It’s a complex network of different processes involving organs, cells and proteins. It plays a crucial role in fighting off disease causing germs, destroying harmful substances and combating abnormal changes, such as cancerous cells.

So, what’s the link between gut and immune health?

The health of your gut and your immune system are closely linked. A fun fact for you: 70-80% of immune cells are present in the gut. Therefore, the gut, also referred to as the body’s second brain, plays an important role in sustaining health, providing a range of nutrients, regulating energy balance, influencing the immune response and defending against pathogens (potential threats). An imbalance can impact your immune system.

While the research is still ongoing, evidence suggests that a diverse gut microbiota positively influences immune functioning. For optimal gut health, consider these tips:

Prioritize prebiotic fiber: Found in foods such as onions, leeks, garlics, asparagus and whole grains, prebiotic fiber is crucial for maintaining gut health.

Eat a variety of vegetables: Choose a diverse range of vegetables in a variety of colors, each offering unique nutrients and fibers to promote a thriving gut.

Incorporate fermented foods: Yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and miso, are often packed with probiotics, increasing your gut’s microbial diversity.

Micronutrients and your immune system

It’s important to remember that certain micronutrients can help our bodies ability to defend itself. Vitamin A, found in carrots, peppers and sweet potatoes acts as a frontline defense against infections. Vitamin D, primarily sourced from the sun is essential for immune regulation, in the winter when the days are much shorter, we’re advised to supplement so our levels are topped up.

When it comes to minerals, zinc aids in the generation of new immune cells and Brazil nuts are great for providing a daily dose of selenium, essential for optimal immune function.

Will improving gut health “boost” your immune system?

Let's challenge the phrase ‘boosting the immune system’ and recognize that there’s no magic food to prevent illness. Instead, to support our immune response in winter, focus on a diverse gut microbiota through tips like more prebiotic fiber, colorful vegetables and try out fermented foods.

Additionally, micronutrients such as vitamins A, D and the minerals zinc and selenium play crucial roles in supporting the immune system. Overall, aim for a well balanced diet, stay hydrated and don’t forget that Huel contains many of the above.

Jessica Stansfield, RNutr

Junior Nutrition Manager

Please log in to your store account

To share with your friends, log in is required so that we can verify your identity and reward you for successful referrals.

Log in to your account If you don't have a store account, you can create one here

Check out why Hueligans love us on @huel

Share your #huel moments

Join our VIP list

Never miss out on new products, exclusive offers, and more when you join the Huel mailing list.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. You can unsubscribe at any time. Huel Privacy Policy