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LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE: Is digestion important for immunity and how can you improve it?

Statistics show that 43% of the UK population have experienced digestive problems at some point in their lifetime. Yet only 59% of those people have ever visited a doctor to discuss them. The report provides a list of the most frequent symptoms of digestive issues:

· Abdominal pain (63% of cases),

· Diarrhoea (55% of cases),

· Bloating (53% of cases),

· Flatulence (44% of cases),

· Constipation (44% of cases).

Usually, digestive problems settle down on their own – but not always. In case they are an ongoing problem, digestive issues can indicate a more serious condition. We recommend speaking to your doctor if your symptoms don’t improve in two weeks!

Our gut breaks down the food we eat and absorbs nutrients that support our body. These affect energy production to hormone balance, skin health, mental health, and toxin elimination. About 70 percent of the immune system is stored in the gut! So, by maintaining our digestive system – we also support our immunity!

How is the G.I. tract connected to immune response?

The gut microbiota resides in the gastrointestinal tract. It ensures essential health benefits to our body. Major alterations of the gut microbial responses can cause immune dysregulation – which could lead to autoimmune disorders!

Beneficial bacteria in the gut – Bifidobacterium, and Lactobacillus – regulate our immune system. They inhibit the growth of pathogens by competing for resources and support the development of immune cells. 

Additionally, they fight against inflammation and protect the gut barrier. The bacteria also produce metabolic products and contribute to the immune response.

Our bodies store more bacterial cells than human ones. This is a community of bacteria that lives in and on us – they are called the microbiome. Each microbe species performs specialised jobs – just like a company! Together, they keep us healthy. 

In our gut, the bacteria balance is critical because they ensure the immune response.

5 ways to improve gut health

Fortunately, we can improve gut health by introducing simple life changes. This can have a major impact on our health. Let’s see what we can do!

1. Take probiotics and eat fermented foods

Fermented foods are becoming incredibly popular. By eating the fermented food or taking probiotic supplements, you’ll boost the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Fermented foods are great natural sources of probiotics.

They include:

  • Sourdough bread – made from fermented dough,
  • Kimchi – fermented cabbage,
  • Kombucha – fermented green or black tea,
  • Tempeh – made from fermented soybeans,
  • Cultured milk and yogurt.

2. Consume less sugar and sweeteners

In case you have a sweet tooth – you are at higher danger of gut dysbiosis, which is an imbalance of gut microbes. Artificial sweeteners aren’t good either. They can negatively impact blood glucose levels due to their effects on gut flora. In other words, artificial sweeteners may increase blood sugar even though they are not sugar! 

It is crucial to eat sugary food in moderation and consume more healthy organic food!

3. Avoid taking unnecessary antibiotics

We often take medicine like antibiotics to fight off bacterial infections. 

Overuse is a significant public health problem that can lead to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics damage the gut microbiota and immunity. Even 6 months after their use, the gut still lacks several species of beneficial bacteria.

4. Reduce stress

We all know that stress can be dangerous to our health. Managing stress is significant for many aspects of health – including gut health!

Studies suggest that psychological stressors can disrupt the microorganisms in the intestines. Even if the stress is only short-lived!

The following stressors may negatively affect gut health:

  • psychological stress,
  • environmental stress (extreme heat, cold, noise)
  • sleep deprivation,
  • disruption of the circadian rhythm (day/night circle).

Milder cases of indigestion are commonly caused by stress. The symptoms generally include acid reflux and heartburn. To soothe discomfort, we suggest trying Pepto Soda. It is a convenient, practical solution with a pleasant lemon flavour.

For more info on everyday stressors, read our previous blog post.

5. Take digestive enzymes

By good luck, we have plenty of food that contains natural digestive enzymes! Think pineapples, papayas, mangoes, honey, bananas, avocados, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kiwifruit, and ginger. By adding any of these foods to your diet they’ll help promote digestion and better gut health!

If you have a leaky gut, enzyme support is beneficial to healing and rebuilding the gut. Supplemental enzymes, taken before eating, provide energy for digestion. Food is then easier to break down and nutrients to assimilate.

You can read more on digestive enzymes here.

Try a food supplement such as Enzimax, which has 7 digestive enzymes to improve your gut health. In case you need something even more powerful, try Enzimax Forte. It utilises a capsule-within-capsule technology, to help even better nutrient absorption.

Trust your gut feeling

The gut is strongly connected to our immune system. Eat healthy food, manage stress, avoid unnecessary antibiotics, and consume food rich in digestive enzymes. You will build a great foundation for a healthy digestive system. This results in a good immune response, and a strong, healthy body.

Our team provides up-to-date information on the most relevant pharmaceutical information. If you found this post helpful – share, like, and follow our blog!


Sources and links:

www.pushdoctor.co.uk

www.nature.com

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

www.bbc.co.uk

www.nutrition.org.uk

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