We need to take good care of our digestive system, because the health of our whole body depends on it, even if we think that our digestive system is only involved in breaking down food. There is a close link between the intestinal tract and the immune system, as around seventy percent of the immune system is located in the gastrointestinal tract.
The human microbiome contains bacteria, viruses and fungi, the balance of which can be upset by the immune system or by the intestinal system not functioning properly. The health of the microbiome has an impact on health, not only of the gut and not only of the immune system, but also on skin and mental health.
What are the possible causes of a disrupted gut microbiome? A poor diet leads to an unhealthy gut. Inadequate nutrition reduces the diversity of the microbiome and this can lead to a variety of diseases. These include diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Processed foods are the cause of leaky gut syndrome.
Constant stress, little and poor quality sleep can also be a cause of upset digestion, leaky gut syndrome, and immune system dysfunction.
Excessive alcohol consumption alters the gut bacterial flora and this also contributes to the development of leaky gut syndrome. Alcohol generates inflammation throughout the body and also damages the immune system.
There are many ways to boost immune and gut health. A plant-based diet is also beneficial because it provides essential nutrients to the intestinal tract. Plant proteins support the gut bacteria that also strengthen the immune system.
Probiotics, fermented foods, also help strengthen the gut and immune system. We also need prebiotics for this process. Leeks, garlic and artichokes are such prebiotics.
Too much sugar also upsets the balance of the intestinal tract and reduces the diversity of intestinal bacteria, and can also cause intestinal inflammation.
Chronic stress increases cortisol levels in the body and this has a negative effect on the communication between the brain and the gut. If this process is compromised, the function and health of the immune system will also be weakened.
Sleep deprivation has a negative effect on the diversity of gut bacteria. This imbalance damages and consequently slows down the immune system and can lead to weight gain.