- Calming the Immune System

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Calming the Immune System

Calming the Immune System

Since September last year I have been the co-ordinator of a Food and Health Group in my local U3A.  What we have discovered is that so many common health problems involve, at some point, an over active immune system in the form of inflammation.  This includes cancer, asthma, eczema, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and even ageing diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Cancer cells release pro inflammatory chemicals that stimulate the growth of new blood vessels, which allows a tumour to grow.

There is a range of anti-inflammatory foods many of which have been covered in the Newsletter and they include: Omega-3 fatty acids, Gingerol from root ginger, Curcumin from Turmeric, Catechins from Green Tea, Punicalagin from Pomegranate and Resveratrol from grapes, berries, peanuts and red wine

The topic at our last food and health group was probiotics.  These are Microorganisms that are believed to provide health benefits when consumed. 

However, the most interesting thing for me was the effect the trillions of bacteria that live in our gut have on the immune system. 

For instance, there is a particular type of bacteria that keep close to the gut wall.  They are encouraged to do this by the mucous secreted by the gut wall cells while the same mucous repels other bacteria.

These bacteria close to the gut wall digest the fibre in our food and certain chemicals produced by this digestion are absorbed into the circulation and have an anti-inflammatory effect on the immune system.

The population of this particular type of fibre digesting bacteria increases and decreases according to the amount of fibre in our diets. Thus increasing the amount of fibre in the diet is yet another way of calming our immune system.

Having a wholefood vegetarian diet is a consistent way of getting that fibre.

Colin Sutherland April 2015

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