Autoimmunity and the Gut
More and more young people are being diagnosed with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, psoriasis, celiac disease and the list goes on! While there can be a genetic component to some of these diseases, this epidemic points to something changing in our lifestyles that is having a major impact on our health and wellbeing.
In this age of technology, it is easy to dig deep and find abundant research, which shows that gut health is closely intertwined with autoimmunity. The rise of autoimmune disease can be attributed to many factors including toxins in our air and water, overuse of medications, exposure to mould, chronic stress or viral infections but the overwhelming evidence suggests that the most important factor is the standard western diet. High in fast foods, carbohydrates and GM ingredients that are low in fibre, vegetables and antioxidants, our diets are causing inflammation levels to sore – and this is how autoimmune disease begins.
Gut Health = Skin Health
The focus on gut health and our overall wellbeing has been thrust into the limelight for some time now and we are all becoming more aware of the importance of looking after our gut. Also known as the second brain, the gut is packed with microorganisms to regulate and protect the gut lining. If the lining becomes compromised it allows toxins and foreign substances like food to enter the bloodstream – this is known as “leaky gut”. Over time, this excessive toxin overload triggers the start of an autoimmune disease.
It’s no surprise then that it is vital to begin with a healthy diet that will help heal the gut. One of the major elements of this is to eliminate foods that cause inflammation or trigger food sensitivities. Two of the biggest culprits are gluten and dairy so looking at eliminating these, at least in the short term, can be key in easing inflammation and combatting autoimmunity. On top of that, it is essential to eat good amounts of prebiotic foods – these are types of dietary fibre that feed the good bacteria in the gut, such as bananas, apples, onions and leeks. Add probiotic foods such as miso, sauerkraut and kombucha to your diet to repopulate that good bacteria. Another sure-fire way to really heal your gut is to incorporate bone broth into your diet; the lysine, glycine and collagen in bone broth help to repair the gut lining which, over time, will heal leaky gut and improve your immune system.
While conventional doctors can be very sceptical about the impact of diet on autoimmunity, as masters of our own health, we need to have the confidence to do our own research and make changes to find what works.
Autoimmune Disease & Gut Health
The link between autoimmune disease and gut health is undeniable and with so many potentially painful, debilitating symptoms of autoimmunity, exploring all our options is a must. Relatively simple changes could mean a return to optimal health, and one thing we all know by now is that health is a gift and one we can absolutely take control of.