By CEO Robert Forster,PT
We know that our microbiome influences our mood and weight; but those little microbes in our gut also help regulate our entire immune system.
In the last 50 years we have seen a gargantuan rise in immune and autoimmune diseases, from allergies to eczema, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to type 1 diabetes.
One of the reasons for this rise in disease over time seems to be that we have destroyed a particular population of microbes that live in the gut and are known to immunologists as the ‘Old Friends.’
They’ve been given that name because they have evolved with us over millions of years, and are vital for our health. Without enough of your Old Friends around, so the theory goes, your immune system behaves like a spoiled child throwing tantrums and acting self destructive.
A recent study showed that one of the Old Friends: Bacteroides, helps prevent IBD by recruiting white blood cells to kill a cell of the immune system that can trigger IBD.
So why did it all go wrong, and how can we improve our health?
So why did it all go wrong? What has happened to the Old Friends? Well, a diet of antibiotics and junk food hasn’t been good for their long term health. Scientists have also pointed to the correlation between the rise in children born by the sterile Caesarean section (which is increasingly common) giving rise to the development of allergic diseases later in life, possibly because these babies are less likely than those born vaginally to inherit their mother’s Old Friends.
The good news is that it’s never too late to give your Old Friends a bit of a boost. Like millions who are inclined to feed their immune system, I am now a big fan of home-made fermented foods like sauerkraut, and kimchi (see our recipe of the week) which are rich in living bacteria. I have also switched to a fiber diet that has more of the foods that will help my microbiome thrive with anti-inflammatory benefits.
Studies prove that some fiber, like inulin, can be fermented by colonic bacteria and lead to the formation of short-chain fatty acids, namely acetate, propionate, and butyrate. These short-chain fatty acids have been found to protect against gastrointestinal bacterial pathogens and to display anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic actions.
If you need some help shifting your diet to promote your microbiome, please give us a call and schedule a complimentary health and nutrition consultation. 310-582-8212