As the world turns its sights to researchers and epidemiologists to help us navigate the pandemic, the topic of our immunology has come into sharp focus. Fast-tracked vaccines are being rolled out in countries around the world in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, and it reminds all just how important immune health is.
The Gateway to the Immune System
Science has shown us that the gut is, in many ways, the key to our immune systems. In addition to being the body’s nutritional and metabolic headquarters, our gut plays a vital role in protection against infection. In fact, it’s estimated that between 70% and 80% of our immune cells are found in gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT).
With so much of our immune response linked to this critical body function, it’s perhaps never been more important to ensure your gut remains as healthy as possible.
A Critical Balance
The microflora in our gut requires a balance of bacteria. When this balance is achieved, healthy microorganisms function the way they’re supposed to. With strength in numbers, they can easily identify and eliminate so-called “bad” bacteria, and ensure that things stay in proper working order.
If this balance is disrupted, however, the body’s immune response is activated. In some cases, it goes into overdrive, resulting in a chronic inflammatory response. Other times, it can prevent the immune system from combating other threats, leaving the body susceptible to infection.
For these reasons, maintaining balance in the gut through gut-friendly foods is critical to our overall well being.