In pandemic times, these past few months, where immunity has been the “Talk Of The Town”, everyone finding a way to enhance it. Just like a way to man’s heart is through his stomach, similarly, one’s gut is the path to someone’s immunity. In layman’s language, immunity is a body’s cellular defence system to fight the harmful organisms that might enter a human system through the air, water, food etc. Our body has a special cellular defence which not only fights the random organisms but could even further recognise specific pathogens and fight them.
When we speak about the gut, a human gut has its own set of microorganisms that form the major line of defence against pathogens. Like bacteria, viruses and fungi. These microorganisms are responsible to not only digest our food but also ward off or signal our body of external organisms if they come in contact with them. Did You Know? 95% of our body’s immunity is because of our gut system? They are specific cells called the phagocytes, T &B cells and cellular sites called Peyers Patches which are responsible to keep us healthy!
A fact that most people are unaware of is that our body comprises of more bacterial cells in comparison to total human body cells! There are more than 40,000 bacterial cells from around 1000 species found in our body, each of them with their specific roles, weighing around 1-2Kg, functioning as an extra organelle, making us more dependent on these bacteria for our functioning than our cells. Isn’t this just amazing?
Our microbiome (microorganisms present in our body) are not only responsible to protect us but help in various functions such as the digestion of food(breast milk in babies) and even controlling our brain health! This shows how are gut microbiome is important for our functioning. Researches have shown the impacting these bacterial function might lead to asthma, allergies and in serious cases, even chronic illness like sclerosis, myocardial infarction(heart disease) & even anxiety and depression.
Apart from the food we eat, our living environment, emotions & mental health are shown to affect gut health. Research shows that babies born through normal delivery are more likely to be immunologically strong in comparison to the ones born through a C-section, as a baby encounters multiple bacteria while birthing through the vagina, thus increasing exposure. A person’s medications are also known to affect our gut since they might alter gut by killing the microbes of our gut, as some of them are non-specific antibiotics.
But how do a person realize that they are having some imbalance in their gut? It’s pretty simple, if actually thought through, by recognizing the signs or alarms that are body shows namely, bloating, diarrhoea, nausea, gas or stomach pain. However, some imbalances are asymptomatic or with very common symptoms like weight loss, black stool, blood in stool or fever for some time and would require an examination by a gastroenterologist.
Generally, small imbalances in the gut, are overcome by the body after some time. However, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, red meat (avoiding charring meat), nuts, seeds, legumes like dals, lentils are known to enhance or system. On the other hand, excess caffeine, fatty fried foods and alcohol are strict No-zones. Exercise is a must, however, in the end, Always Remember not to go for “Specific Diets” a.k.a keto or protein diet, which adversely affects your gut health.