80% Of Your Immunity Is In Your Gut. Take Care Of It Like This.

If you take care of your gut, it will take care of you.


You know something that I find to be interesting as we're all trying to get through this pandemic? I don't hear or see nearly enough articles on how important it is to keep our immune system healthy and strong. Yet rather than complain about it, I figured I would do something about it instead. While there are features on our site like "Ready To Try 10 Quick & Easy Immune-Boosting Hacks?" and "Naomi Campbell Dropped Her Immunity-Boosting Vitamin & Supplement Routine", did you know that most of your immune system is actually located in your gut? Yep, a whopping 80 percent of it consists of your mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon and also rectum.

Today, that is what we're gonna focus on—proactive things that you can do to take care of the parts of your body that work the hardest at preventing you from getting sick, so that you will be in peak condition to fight this pandemic until…it passes.

1. Eat Fermented Foods


If you were to ever Google ways to take care of your gut, something that you're definitely going to see are articles on why you should add more fermented foods to your diet. As far as what fermented foods actually are, the quick breakdown is they're carbohydrates that are processed into alcohol or organic acids with the help of yeast or bacteria. Some examples of fermented foods include pickles, kimchi, kombucha, miso, sourdough bread, yogurt, cheese and sauerkraut. Because fermented foods have so much good bacteria in them, that's a huge part of the reason why they help to protect and strengthen your gut. As bonuses, fermented foods are also really good at helping your body to better absorb vitamins and they can assist in replenishing your system if you've recently had a round of antibiotics.

2. Load Up on Polyphenols


Something else that's really good for you is polyphenols. These are organic compounds (like tannic acid and flavonoids) that your body needs because they do things like lower your blood sugar levels; help to fight your risk of heart disease; increase healthy brain function; reduce blood clots, and yes, promote healthy digestion. On the digestive tip, polyphenols are essential because they are great at promoting the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut. Some foods that fall into this category are blackberries, grapes, peaches, potatoes, broccoli, spinach, black and white beans, almonds, oats and cumin.

3. Take a Probiotic


At the end of the day, probiotics are nothing more than live microorganisms. You can get them via eating fermented foods. You can also get them into your body by taking a supplement. I have made sure to take a probiotic for the past several years and I've noticed that it's helped to clear up my skin and make me more regular. Some other cool things about taking a probiotic is, because it helps to detoxify the body, taking one on a daily basis can improve your moods, make eczema and allergy-related symptoms less severe and, it can most definitely help to make your immune system stronger over time. If you need a little help in figuring out which probiotic is best for you, Verywell Fit published an article on the topic that you can check out right here.

4. Consume Prebotics Too


While we're on this topic, something else that you should eat are prebiotics.

If you're wondering what the difference is between prebiotics and probiotics, that's a really good question. Probiotics are live strains of bacteria. Prebiotics are a type of plant-based fiber that helps to feed the strains so that they can continue to grow.

The more prebiotics you consume, the more good bacteria your body will have and the stronger your immune system will ultimately be. And just what kind of foods fall into the prebiotic category? Garlic, onions, asparagus, bananas, oats, apples and cocoa (yes, cocoa!) are some that top the list. Enjoy!

5. Go Lean


Foods that are high in fat are foods that can ultimately lead to constipation. When you're constipated, your system is unable to release toxins as quickly as it should and that can definitely make you more susceptible to illnesses. That's why it's best to eat meats that are as lean as possible and when you do have something that is fatty (like fried foods, cheese, muffins, pizza or even egg yolks), you pair it with foods that are high in fiber (like avocados, carrots, broccoli, quinoa or even a fruit like a pear for dessert); that will help to balance everything out so that your system remains regular.

6. Chew Slowly


Back when I would visit a certain relative, something that was an absolute no-no was drinking while eating. The logic behind it is it confuses the digestive system, making it more difficult for foods to digest (Prevention published an article on this very point that you can check out by clicking here). Whether you abide by that rule or not, something that you definitely should do for the sake of your gut is to chew your foods slowly. That makes it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients that are in your meal. It helps to satisfy your hunger. And it allows the digestive enzymes in your mouth to make it easier for food to process once it does reach your gut. As you already know—the better your body can take in what you've eaten, the healthier it will be. If you're eating the right foods, that is. And just how often should you chew? According to health professionals, no less than 15 times and no more than 30. Yep, a lot of us are not even close to eating right. There's no time like the present to change that.

7. Up Your Water Intake


We're made up of 60-65 percent water so, yep, we need to consume it on a daily basis in order to hydrate and replenish our system. Some of the direct benefits that come from drinking water include it lubricates your joints; moisturizes your hair and skin; regulates your body temperature; flushes out toxins; maintains your blood pressure; helps to prevent kidney damage and increases your workout performance—and that is just the tip of the iceberg! The reason why water is so good for your gut is because it also helps to keep you from having an overly acidic tummy which can ultimately lead to heartburn, ulcers and other digestive complications. So, make sure to get no less than 6-8 glasses a day. Your gut will love you for it and your immune system will be all the better for it too.

8. Schedule Your Meals


Do you ever notice that you seem to feel bloated even when it's not that time of the month? A part of the problem could very well-being that you don't have your body on a schedule when it comes to eating your meals. As a direct result, your stomach ends up working overtime which can weaken it, well, over time.

By being intentional about having your three major meals—breakfast, lunch and dinner—around the same time every day, it will help your body to properly digest what you eat. And the better shape your stomach's in, the less bloating and indigestion you will feel which will also help to keep your gut in top form.

9. Exercise


There's honestly not going to be too many articles in the world that tackle how to be healthier that aren't going to mention exercise at some point. As far as your gut health goes, exercise is important because it plays a direct role in helping your body to digest your food faster. Plus, it's a great way to keep the pounds off if you're looking to shed a few. It doesn't have to be anything too crazy. 45 minutes of cardio and strength-building, three times a week, should be just what you need for your overall health and well-being.

10. Reduce Your Stress Levels


It really is a trip how being overly stressed does us absolutely no good and yet it's something that so many of us still continue to struggle with. Your immune system will only suffer when you're stressed out, in part, because stress causes your digestive system to go into overdrive which can make your system vulnerable to all sorts of health challenges. Rest. Meditate. Learn to let ish go. Your health is about the most valuable thing you've got. You have to protect it at all costs. Your gut will thank you, by being really good to you, if you do.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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