Gut Health Even More Important Than Previously Thought
Researchers from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia recently announced findings that show that eating more fiber boosts the immune system and can help you avoid chronic illnesses like arthritis, diabetes and asthma.
Their findings were published in the November 2009 issue of the journal Nature Reviews Immunology.
Past studies have linked foods high in fiber, such as vegetables, whole grains and legumes, to reductions in symptoms of asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and colitis (inflammatory gut condition) but until now the mechanism behind this connection was unknown.
The researchers found that a molecule called GPR43, which is reliant on fiber and healthy bacteria in the gut, has anti-inflammatory properties. GPR43 is also present in immune cells.
When the scientists removed this molecule from rats they experienced spikes in inflammation and much weaker immune systems.
These findings show that diet, gut health and immune health appear to be more closely related than we previously thought.
The foods we eat have a strong effect on our immune system and eating more foods that benefit the gut may significantly reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Some fiber rich foods that can help you boost gut health include:
Whole wheat spaghetti
Pear with skin
Apple with skin
Consuming more probiotics is also a great way to improve gut health. To boost probiotic levels in your gut, try consuming more yogurt and cultured milk products. You can also try incorporating a quality probiotic supplement into your diet. Make sure the supplement contains several probiotic strains and is packaged to block light, air, and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.