All this hype about immunity and boosting our immune system at this time of year! So often we are told that 70% of our immune system is in our gut but what does all this really mean and what can we truly do to keep ourselves as well as possible?

Bacteria live on the skin; in the nose and ears and most significantly in the gut. When we are unwell the beneficial bacteria are reduced. We think of the bacteria as being separate from us but actually they interact very closely with the immune system. Having a healthy and diverse collection of gut bacteria may reduce the chances of us getting conditions such as type 1 or type 2 diabetes, arthritis and obesity and even cancer of the colon, as well as relieving chronic constipation.

Gut bacteria work together in a close relationship with our immune system and act as a barrier to infection. Alteration to the bacteria through diet changes such as the introduction of processed foods and artificial sweeteners and over use of antibiotics has also adversely affected this relationship. So with that in mind, how do we improve the diversity of bacteria in our gut?

The good news is that we can affect change to the bacteria within a few days of changing our diet.

Prebiotic Foods and Dietary Fibre
Prebiotics in the form of fermentable dietary fibre feed the micro organisms. These can be found in foods like onions, garlic, asparagus, bananas and legumes. If you search prebiotic foods they are easy to find.

Probiotics are live micro organisms that we can get from good quality yoghurt, greek yoghurt has the most, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso and tempeh and drinks like kefir and kombucha. If you don’t already eat fermented foods I would suggest you start with a small amount at a time and increase it as you discover your tolerance. Diving in may upset your gut!

There is so much more I could say – eating a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables and cooking from fresh where possible is the big message but if you would like further information or support with nutrition and diabetes, please get in touch.

Survive and Thrive – The Secret to Health – article for Fit for Business – September 2020
By Nutritional Therapist Alice Yeates, Help Me Healthy Nutrition.