Gut Health and Immunity
It all starts in your gut.
The vast majority of your immune system, around 80% in fact, is in your gut. It fights infection through immunoglobulins (antibodies) which act as the first line of defence against infection. It contains around 3lb of bacteria, or another prettier name is bowel flora. These are essential for your health. When they become out of balance and the bad bacteria and yeast (candida albicans) takes over, allergies, chronic fatigue, acne, auto-immune disease, lethargy, mood disorders, arthritis, psoriasis, eczema, weakened immune system, the list goes on occur in the body. Basically if you want to improve your health, you've got to start with your gut. Bad gut = bad health.
There needs to be good balance of bacteria in the gut. The gut wall prevents bacteria and yeast from entering the blood and causing various health issues. If the gut wall becomes damaged through bad diet, too much yeast overgrowth, and over use of antibiotics, then you may develop a leaky gut. Where little holes appear in the gut wall and this allows bacteria and yeast to able to pass from the gut lumen and into the bloodstream, and set up infection somewhere else in the body. Scientist now believe that this is probably how auto immune diseases start.
Antibiotics wipe out the bowel flora, and if you don't replace those friendly bacteria after a course of antibiotics, then the bad bacteria will take over your gut. Which enables the over growth of Candida. Ever had thrush after a course of antibiotics? Well that is why.
Bad diet, containing high amounts of sugar, fried food, white rice, white pasta, white bread, white flour foods, low fibre, fizzy drinks, alcohol, processed meats, oils fried to high temperature, feed these bad bacteria, makes your bowel movements very sluggish, and allows food particles to stay lodged in your gut for months feeding even more bad bacteria.
The answer? Begin with diet. I don't mean going on a diet that feels restrictive and you do it for a month, then go back to your usual way of eating. This is about changing your way of eating permanently, and choosing food that supports your health. Educating yourself about what is good at repairing gut health and incorporating it into your daily life. There is an abundance of foods out there that supports your health.
To heal and repair your gut, there are foods that encourage the growth of healthy bacteria, a healthy bowel flora.
I would start by including as much vegetables into your diet as you can. Go for all the variety of colours. Roast them (with goose fat not olive oil), make broths, soups, salads, casseroles, stir fries (with butter not oil).
Here's a list of the things to include in your diet and research further into that will help to repair your gut wall and increase your immune health and overall health and vitality. It will also reduce your waistline!!
Miso soup-available at most supermarkets. You can use it as stock as well.
Kimchi-Originates from Korea, and is fermented veg, slightly spicy, very tasty.
Fermented foods- You can make your own as well.
Tempeh-made from soybeans and contains probiotics.
Sourdough-more popular now. The bread has proved for hours, so there is fermentation and the protein in the gluten is partially digested, therefore easy on the gut.
Live organic yogurt-Full of healthy bacteria
Extra virgin olive oil ( to drizzle, do not heat olive oil!!)
Kambucha- A delicious fizzy fermented drink that feeds your healthy bacteria.
Almonds - preferably organic
Green/light yellow bananas-more starch in these that feeds the healthy bacteria.
Organic bone broth -very healing for the gut wall, available online or make your own.
There are some great books out there with more information on this subject. If you are serious about improving your health, then start by healing your gut. It will also improve your anxiety and depression, because 90% of serotonin is produced in your gut. Plus your gut microbes influences nearly every hormone in your body.
The subject is vast. Here are some books for recommended reading:
Gut: Giulia Enders
Clean Gut:Alejandro Junger, M.D
Dr Jensen's Guide to Better Bowel Care- Dr Bernard Jensen
One Cause Many Ailments, Leaky Gut Syndrome. -Dr John O.A Pagano