How does gut health affect our immunity?

For SHA Wellness Clinic
Tuesday March 6th, 2018
Healthy nutrition

Hippocrates once said, “every disease begins in the gut”. At the time, such a statement might have not been taken so seriously, however, today, this once bold statement is truer than ever. The topic on gut health has taken centre stage in most recent times, as scientists continue to learn the importance of gut health for optimum health. We’ve discovered that the digestive system is also known as ‘the second brain’, because of the millions of neurons that lie within our gut lining, filled with important neurotransmitters that influence our mood, energy and weight.

Furthermore, a staggering 70% of our immunity is based in our gut. When we think about it logically, it makes sense that our digestive system plays a central role in maintaining the immune system, considering that it’s the first contact that the outside world has with our internal body. If any threatening pathogen or toxin comes in contact with the gut, the intestinal lining needs to know how to detect them and expel them from the body before they get into the bloodstream.

In an ideal world, our gut microbiome would be healthy, allowing for only nutrients to be absorbed, and the pathogens and toxins to be expelled. However, the reality is that there are many factors which compromise gut health and in effect, lower immunity function. The gut lining is a tightly woven net, permeable only to small molecules, when it’s healthy. However, when exposed to infections, toxins, antibiotic overuse, stress, excess sugar, alcohol and gluten, the intestinal walls can be broken apart (leaky gut syndrome), allowing harmful to enter the bloodstream.

Many of the symptoms many people suffer on a daily basis, like bloating, digestive issues, fatigue, brain fog, inflammatory skin conditions, etc. are a result of an unhealthy gut. By addressing the problem from the root cause, all of these symptoms we consider to be the new normal, can be eliminated, without the use of medications or energy boosters like coffee.

How can we ensure that our gut is healthy?

Since the digestive system is made up of millions of bacteria, we need to preserve these healthy bacteria and eliminate the growth of unhealthy bacteria. Our intestinal flora needs the following foods to thrive:

  • Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, apple cider vinegar, kombucha, miso and tempeh.
  • Prebiotic foods: these are foods that feed the gut bacteria so they can work optimally, such as garlic, onion, leek, asparagus, dandelion greens and chicory root.
  •  Probiotic foods: these are food rich in good bacteria that strengthen the microbiome, such as, sauerkraut, kimchi, nato, coconut kefir, tempeh and miso.

The foods you should avoid are:

  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners, as they destroy good bacteria and builds bad bacteria
  • Gluten
  • Processed foods
  • Red meat
  • Alcohol
  •  Coffee

As you can see, our gut plays a vital role in our health, and if we want to keep our immune system strong, avoid unpleasant symptoms such as fatigue, mood swings, weight gain, bloating, digestive issues and skin allergies, we need to take care of our intestinal health.

Our nutritional experts at SHA Wellness Clinic can help you heal your gut through a personalised nutrition plan, which you can follow during your stay, and once you’ve finished your health programme to stay healthy in the long run.

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