Having good gut health plays a vital role in improving your immune system. An unhealthy gut can lead to improper immune function and hence potentially lead to autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. In contrast, an unhealthy immune system can severely affect the gut function and cause digestive disorders.
Let us look at how establishing good gut health can help your immunity and overall bodily health.
Understanding How Gut Functions
As per a study, the human bodies have more bacteria cells than human cells. A majority of those bacteria lie in the gut. These do not just stay on the intestinal lining and aid the digestive processes. They have a major interaction with the body’s immunity.
Many cells in the gut lining excrete large amounts of antibodies into the gut throughout their lives. These antibodies are chemical substances to help fight diseases.
The gut microbiome is the collection of all the microorganisms in the gut. It affects many of the body’s crucial functions, including cognition, digestion, appetite, mood, memory, weight, behavior, metabolism, etc. One of its most significant impacts is on the body’s immunity.
The immune system is responsible for protecting the body against harmful external invaders like fungi, germs, pathogens, and viruses. When it works properly, it effectively distinguishes the good microorganisms from the harmful external ones and fights them off.
But when the immunity is weak, it mistakes its own bodily cells as harmful attackers. It causes the immune system to mistakenly attack its own cells, causing autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), etc.
How Gut Bacteria Affect Your Immunity
A 2021 study revealed that the gut microbiome plays a crucial role in the growth, development, and function of the body’s immune cells. As a result, a healthy gut boosts the efficacy of vaccines given to people.
Most of the human body’s microorganisms lie in the gut. So do the immune cells as well. A 2021 study conducted in the Netherlands found out that over 70%-80% of the body’s immune cells lie in the gut! Thus, your gut and immunity are more closely linked than you thought.
The interaction between the gut and immunity begins at birth because the birth canal has large amounts of bacteria. The immune system helps from a majority of the diverse gut microbiome while the gut helps develop and strengthen the immunity.
The gut microbiome teaches the immune cells (called T-cells) to differentiate between your own cells and foreign bacteria. The gut then sends signals to control the immune responses and help develop a healthy immune system. In return, the immune system promotes the development of healthy microorganisms in the gut for effective digestive health and function.
Hence, when both are working in sync, your body can properly break down the food for its nutrition and fight off and prevent diseases for overall wellbeing.
Improper communication between gut bacteria and immune cells is the gateway to diseases. Factors like poor diet, antibiotic consumption, heavy metals, chemotherapy, surgeries, etc., can kill your gut bacteria and reduce your immunity.
The Dietary Effect
You might already know how your diet affects your weight and daily energy levels. But you are not likely to know your diet’s effect on your immunity.
A 2021 ZOE COVID Study found that people eating a gut-friendly (plant-rich) diet were 40% less likely to show severe COVID symptoms than those consuming an unhealthy diet. Because an unhealthy diet can increase the levels of unhealthy blood fat and blood sugar in the body and promote chronic inflammation and its associated diseases.
If the gut is healthy, the good gut bacteria will control your immune function. They will make sure that your immune system only responds when there is damage to the body and does not attack the healthy cells.
Establishing proper gut health is a sure way to keep the immune system running and vice versa. The foods that we eat affect the diversity and composition of these bacteria, in turn affecting the body’s immunity.
The common diet that we consume today is rich in animal proteins, sugars, saturated fats, processed ingredients, etc. Consuming them decreases the diversity in the gut bacteria and, therefore, causes harm to the immune cells, leading to chronic disorders and inflammatory diseases.
What to Eat For Better Gut and Immunity?
Ayurveda doctors and healthcare experts recommend consuming fiber-rich and plant-based foods to help diversify the gut bacteria and reduce inflammatory responses from the immune cells. Because fiber-rich foods are a good source of prebiotics, i.e., plant fibers that encourage the growth of good bacteria.
- Asparagus, leeks, legumes (peas, lentils, chickpeas, and green beans), whole foods, leafy greens, and sprouted grains can significantly improve digestion and enable the gut to work effectively with the immune system.
- Consuming probiotic-rich fermented foods regularly can diversify the gut microbiome and help regulate immune response and gut function effectively.
- Foods like yogurt, kefir, tempeh, kimchi, Swiss cheeses, aged cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, etc., are rich in prebiotics.
- Ayurveda doctors prescribe using natural spices and herbs during food preparation can also benefit your gut and immunity. Because they do not only add flavor to the diet, they also contain numerous chemical compounds that encourage gut bacteria diversity.
- One of the most effective solutions prescribed by Ayurveda doctors for improving gut health is the Bilwadi Churna. It is an Ayurvedic formulation composed of certain herbal ingredients like Bilwa fruit, ginger, Vijaya, fennel seeds, etc. It can significantly improve your gut function and digestive health.
The Bilwa fruit helps relieve conditions like diarrhea, indigestion, and constipation. Ginger helps release intestinal gas, improves digestion, and relaxes the gut. Fennel seeds boost gut metabolism, while Vijaya helps improve appetite, increase good gut bacteria concentration, and alleviate numerous digestive disorders like Colitis, Bloating, IBD, and IBS.
To know more about the relationship between your gut and immunity and how you can improve your overall health, contact Hempstreet and get the best Ayurvedic consultation for yourself.