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Immunity For The Community – Part 2

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Nurturing A Good Gut Biome

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Increase Your Fibre Intake

Aim for more than 40g per day, which is about double the current averages. Fibre intake has been shown to reduce heart disease and some cancers, as well as reduce weight gain.

Eat as many types of fruit and veg as possible, and try to eat seasonally

The variety may be as important as the quantities, as the chemicals and types of fibre will vary, and each support different microbial species.

Pick high-fibre vegetables

Good examples are artichokes, leeks, onions and garlic, which all contain high levels of inulin (a prebiotic fibre). Some vegetables like lettuce have little fibre or nutrient value.

Choose food and drinks with high levels of polyphenols

Polyphenols are antioxidants that act as fuel for microbes. Examples are nuts, seeds, berries, olive oil, brassicas, coffee and tea –especially green tea.

Avoid snacking

Also, try to increase intervals between meals to give your microbes a rest. Occasionally skip meals or have an extended fast –this seems to reduce weight gain.

Eat plenty of fermented foods containing live microbes

Good choices are unsweetened yoghurt; kefir, which is a sour milk drink with five times as many microbes as yoghurt; raw milk cheeses; sauerkraut; kimchi;(a Korean dish made from garlic, cabbage and chilli); and soybean-based products such as soy sauce, tempeh and natto.

Steer clear of artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose and saccharine

These disrupt the metabolism of microbes and reduce gut diversity –in animal studies this has led to obesity and diabetes. Ditch the processed foods too, as these also upset microbes’ metabolism.

Spend more time out doors & in the countryside

People living in rural areas have better microbes than city-dwellers. While you’re at it, dust off your trowel: gardening and other outdoor activities are good for your microbiome.

Stroke animals

Studies have shown that people living with dogs have more microbial diversity.

Avoid antibiotics and non-essential medicines

Antibiotics destroy good and bad microbes, and it can take weeks to recover, so don’t take them unless you need them. Their use is also associated with obesity and allergies in animals. Even common medications like paracetamol and antacids can interfere with microbes.

What is the gut got to do with it?

  • Intestinal microbiota, or gut flora, and the gut barrier determine gut health. Inside the gut are about 100 trillion live microorganisms that promote normal GI function, protect the body from infection, and regulate metabolism and the mucosal immune system. In fact, they comprise more than 75% of the immune system.
  • A healthy interaction between our immune system and the gut microbiota is crucial for the maintenance of our body’s homeostasis and health. Imbalances in the gut microbiota may dysregulate immune responses and lead to the development of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune dysfunctions
  • Gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) is the prominent part of mucosal-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) and represents almost 70% of the entire immune system; moreover, about 80% of plasma cells [mainly immunoglobulin A (IgA)-bearing cells] reside in GALT.
  • Serotonin a well known brain neurotransmitter -it is estimated that 90 percent of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract. Serotonin along with the precursor amino acid Tryptophan, balances Dopamine & Serotonin & is responsible for our “happy hormones”.

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