Your Gut.. the key to a healthy immune system
As stated in our earlier blog, good nutrition can support our immune system, but did you know that good gut health can also do the same. You might not think that your digestive system connects with conditions like allergies, autoimmune diseases and so on, but they are highly linked and new research is backing this up.
Inside your gut is a collection of bacteria, fungi and viruses, known as gut microbiome. Tip: Microbiome and flora are words used interchangeably. Our gut contains billions of these bacteria cells. Your gut performs a number of jobs, from breaking down food and keeping out toxins and to absorbing and supporting the production of nutrients. The health of your gut is vital, and it’s all about balance. Too much bad bacteria and too few good ones can wreak havoc on your health.
Your gut health affects your body, your brain, your skin, your mental health and so much more. From the variety of jobs this system has, you can understand that this system can either support or hinder your entire health. Another important function this system has is to influence the immune system. This is the body’s first line of defence against infections. The immune system also keeps us healthy by eliminating our own cells when they become diseased.
The gut is where bacteria and the immune system often meet. 70% of our immune system lies within our digestive system. Yep, you heard that right, 70%. Here there are many different immune cells, including activated T cells, plasma cells, mast cells, dendritic cells and macrophages (see previous blog for explanation). Our gut contains a large number of bacteria and when imbalanced, the immune response can be jeopardized by not being able to produce enough of these cells. Our immune system is essential for our health, and having a healthy gut can support this system.
The foundation of good gut health starts with what you eat. Be mindful of what you are putting into your body, as these nutrients, or lack of, will have an influence on your health and more so your immune system. It is like putting oil in your car, you have to choose the right one, or it doesn’t work properly.
By consuming pre and probiotics, you are supporting new and healthy bacteria and allowing them to eat as well. Think of them as gut microbiome health foods. Inulin, for example, is a great prebiotic. It travels to the lower gut and makes a great food source for our beneficial bacteria. Your gut bacteria convert inulin into a short-chain-fatty acids, which nourish your digestive cells and therefore improve the performance of our digestive system.
If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll know how much we love our medical mushrooms. And for good reason! Along with all the other amazing benefits they provide, medicinal mushrooms have also been shown to support the immune system thanks to vitamin C. These mushies also contain beta-glucans, which are classified as fibre and prebiotics to your digestive system.
Several beneficial effects of probiotics on intestinal defences system have been identified. These include blocking the negative effects that certain bacteria’s have like bacteria overgrowth, inflammation, bloating, irregular bowel habits, undigested foods and fatigue, just to name a few. Probiotics promote beneficial digestive bacteria to survive, enhance your digestive systems barrier function, and stimulate protective responses.
Getting your gut bacteria healthy is one of the most important things you can do to get and stay healthy.