Gut Health And Immunity: How Microbiome Can Help Your Immune System

How does your gut fit in?

Your gut bacteria are heavily involved in many important bodily functions from regulating your appetite and glucose levels, to influencing your mental health and immune system.

The gut microbiome and digestive tract is a potential entry site for pathogens to enter your body. The bacteria here play a vital role in not only digesting your food, but in the preparation and training of the immune system.

The bacteria in your gut microbiome interact with potential pathogens and protect your gut lining by preventing harmful bacteria taking up residence in the gut. These same bacteria interact with your immune system through the production of substances called short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), primarily butyrate, propionate and acetate. They have the ability to reduce inflammation and can help to support immunity. These SCFAs also have the potential to boost immunity. If you do not have good levels of gut bacteria that are able to produce adequate amounts of SCFAs, your immunity could be impacted.

How can you support your gut?

You can support your bacteria in producing these important substances by making sure your diet includes an assortment of prebiotics. Prebiotics are foods which aren’t digested by your human enzymes and so make it to your large intestine where they are fermented by your gut bacteria to produce beneficial substances such as SCFAs.

When you feed your body foods that are rich in prebiotics, you are supporting the beneficial bacteria in your gut to produce these helpful substances (SCFAs) that can support your immunity and overall health.

So, the key is: plants! The menu for your gut bacteria should include foods such as nuts, seeds, legumes, wholegrains, fruits and anything plant-based! These foods (aka prebiotics) will help fuel the beneficial bacteria in your microbiome and, in turn, can support your immune system.

Day on a plate:

Breakfast – Start your day with some homemade baked beans on wholegrain toast or a bowl of porridge with seeds and berries.

Lunch – Mix up your salads with roast vegetables such as sweet potato or add some quinoa for texture

Dinner – Try buckwheat or brown rice in your favourite curry with added legumes and beans.

Snacks – choose seasonal fruits, some nuts or a smoothie with added green banana flour.

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