Superman’s strengths are obvious and while we can’t fly, our immune systems can be considered superheroes - fighting off viruses and infections in our bodies.
This superhero of ours is constantly watching what’s going into our body and helping to protect us from getting sick with things like colds and stomach bugs, and it does this mostly from (you guessed it) our guts! Our gastrointestinal tract (or guts for short) are located right under our stomach and help us to digest the nutrients from our food. They are also the home of our superhero immune system.
For any superhero to function at his or her best, they need to make sure they are eating healthy nutritious foods; this is what helps give them the energy to fight all the bad guys. Our super immune system is the same, except for the type of food that helps our immune system is called bacteria. Now, this may sound strange - isn’t bacteria the same as germs? Well yes, and no.
There are all kinds of germs outside and inside our bodies and believe it or not, our bodies need BOTH good and bad germs to stay healthy. Different types of bacteria play different roles within the body including producing vitamins, absorbing nutrients and yes - helping the immune system to work. What’s most important is that we have a good BALANCE of good and bad bacteria. When good bacteria are destroyed, the bad bacteria can start to multiply and cause problems.
Have you ever taken antibiotics when you were sick? Antibiotics are super important to help our bodies fight infections and get us back to feeling healthy again. The problem is antibiotics kill both the good and bad bacteria in our guts, so if we take them for a long time it can leave our immune system superhero feeling a bit weak. The best way to get our superheroes feeling healthy and strong again is to make sure we are eating lots of good bacteria to help balance out our gut again.
1. Eat your yoghurt! Has your mum or dad ever told you it’s important to eat yoghurt? Well, they’re right! Yoghurt is full of good bacteria and can help your immune system to get back into balance, especially after taking antibiotics.
2. Say no to sugar! Another important thing to remember is that sugar isn’t the best food to be eating when trying to help our immune system. This is because sugar feeds bad bacteria.
3. Protein Power! Ensure you are eating lots of protein like chicken and eggs as this helps to build antibodies, which act like your superheroes weapons and help to fight infections.
4. Make mud pies! Spend lots of time playing outdoors and don’t be afraid to get a little dirty as this helps introduce you to different types of bacteria.