Digestion & immunity

It’s hard to believe that we’re made of 90% bacteria. For every cell in your body, we have 9 cells of bacteria living in and on our body.

Most of the bacteria is living inside our intestinal tract and the health of this organism is critical to the overall health of our bodies. The health of our gut bacteria and the health of our immune system are vitally linked.

When gut bacteria are balanced, our immune system is also balanced. When our gut is out of balance, our immune system is too. The best way to balance our immune system is by having a healthy and strong digestive system and this means our gut bacteria needs to be in balance.

It is now accepted that the western diet fails to keep the gut bacteria balanced. Whereas most traditional cultures regularly consume fermented foods like natural yogurt, in the west we tend to do the opposite.

Instead we eat processed food, refined sugar, which together with antibiotic intake, are the major causes of gut bacteria imbalance. A few simple rules to follow keep our gut bacteria balanced and our digestive system healthy include:

  • Eat whole, unrefined foods, such as brown rice and whole-wheat, grains and pulses;
  • Cut out all refined sugars;
  • Eat naturally fermented products such as sourdough breads and ‘live’ yoghurts.
  • Consider a probiotic supplement, preferably one that stays in the gut. These contain high amounts of beneficial bacteria to help balance the gut.

Finally, we should concentrate on our digestive system symptoms and on rebalancing those. If like me you struggle with your digestion, cut out the foods you know cause you problems, whilst following the above steps.

22 Jun, 2015

4 thoughts on “Digestion & immunity

  1. I have known for a while that it is important to maintain a healthy gut as, here in the UK, we are bombarded daily by TV ads extolling the virtues of ‘friendly bacteria,’ but I didn’t make the connection with our immune system, but it makes sense.

    The best advice as you say is to listen to our bodies and eat what we know doesn’t cause problems. As a student I loved curries and chilies, the hotter the better; but nowadays I just know to avoid highly spiced foods as it really doesn’t agree with me.

    1. I’m not sure how many of us really know, turn a blind eye, or genuinely don’t understand the correlation between our digestion and immunity.

      It would go on to take many years for me to understand the correlation myself, primarily because there was literally no help or information to help us link our symptoms back to what we thought we were dealing with.

      As you say in your student days, you loved nothing more than to eat curries and chillies, but to some degree I can’t help but think that what we do in our formative years does have a bearing on our health in our latter years.

      I have learned to listen to what my body is telling me and try very hard, but but do still get caught out every now and again.

  2. Information is power and you have just empowered me with information I was completely ignorant about.

    The Western diet is more about profit than it is health, but post like this gives us the opportunity to live healthier lives.

    1. Thanks Tim. I agree with you. The western diet certainly seems to be that way. I’m so pleased my blogs also give you the opportunity to live a healthier life.

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