ENJOY ‘HAPPY TUMMY’ FOODS
Did you know that up to 80% of your immunity to germs and disease is in your digestive system? The mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) in the gut is part of the first line of immune defence so getting the right balance between beneficial or ‘good’ gut bacteria and the ‘bad’ or potentially pathogenic bacteria is key.
The gastrointestinal tract houses a diverse community —thousands of microorganisms, encompassing bacteria, fungi, viruses, and various microbes collectively known as the gut microbiome. Within this delicate ecosystem, certain microorganisms correlate with favourable health outcomes, while others are associated with less desirable effects.
Optimal gut health, characterized by a rich diversity of beneficial bacteria, is integral to the maintenance of a robust immune system. It assumes a key role in modulating immune responses, ensuring a correct reaction to injury or infection without compromising healthy tissue.
The intricate interplay between gut microbiome and immune system functions bidirectionally. Similar to how the immune system exerts influence on gut health, the gut microbiome significantly impacts immune responses, including specific types of inflammation.
Distinguishing between acute and chronic inflammation is imperative. Acute inflammation, such as our bodies’ reaction following physical injury, is a natural part of our body's self-care mechanism. Conversely, chronic inflammation represents a prolonged and detrimental immune response, associated with heightened risks of conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Research shows us that the gut microbiome serves as a central conduit, linking chronic inflammation to these chronic conditions.
Turning attention to our nutrition, we know that an individual approach is essential, as no microbiome is the same! However, there are general principles which underpin a good, diverse microbiome – and thus allowing us to support good working of the body’s immune system.
Emphasizing plant-rich diets, particularly those rich in prebiotics found in foods like asparagus, onions, leeks, garlic, legumes, and whole grains, are a great place to start. Prebiotic foods help to feed the friendly bacteria in our guts.
In addition to this, incorporating probiotic-rich foods is another foundational step. Probiotics, living microorganisms found in fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, aged cheddar, and kombucha, play a role in enhancing gut microbiome diversity and fostering the proliferation of beneficial microorganisms. Being consistent in consuming these types of foods is key.
In summary, the symbiosis between gut health and the immune system is like a symphony, orchestrated by the gut microbiome. Understanding and nurturing this relationship, particularly through good diet choices, is foundational to a good immune system.
If you are having any gut issues and want to chat further, why not book in a call with me? Here’s the link.
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