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How can we improve our gut's health?

Updated: Jul 31, 2023



In today's world, it's easier than ever to obtain food, but this convenience often leads to overeating and consuming processed foods with little nutritional value. While this convenience is beneficial for those with busy schedules and limited time to cook, it doesn't necessarily benefit our health. An inadequately nutritious diet, along with an unhealthy lifestyle, can elevate the risk of autoimmune and other diseases.


Ayurveda teaches us that ALL diseases start in the gut. Therefore, it is important to ensure that our Agni (digestive fire) is strong enough to properly digest the food we consume. This is crucial for absorbing nutrients in the small intestine and preventing toxins from poorly digested food from entering the body. A healthy microbiota in the gut also helps to produce important vitamins, aids in nutrient absorption, and strengthens the intestinal lining


Transitioning to healthier eating habits may seem like a daunting task, but it's important to remember that small changes can make a big difference. Start by gradually incorporating nutritious options into your meals, such as:


Fibers

In addition to supporting normalizing bowel movement, fiber binds toxins in the gastrointestinal tract and retains them when they leave the body in the stool. This prevents toxins from being reabsorbed by the intestine and entering the bloodstream.

Fibers also act as prebiotics, creating a favorable environment for beneficial bacteria and stimulating their growth.


Studies have revealed that consuming fiber has numerous advantages for our bodies. These include promoting intestinal motility and preventing constipation, aiding weight loss by reducing the frequency of food intake, enhancing insulin sensitivity and overall metabolic state, maintaining a healthy intestinal microbiota, preventing chronic inflammation both locally and systemically, decreasing the likelihood of developing depression, lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and preventing the onset of Colorectal Carcinoma.


Examples of fiber-rich foods: Cereals (wheat bran, rye flour, oats), vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, beetroot, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, lettuce), fruits (avocado, pear, kiwi, banana, plum, tomato, apple, papaya), seeds and nuts (linseed, sesame, almonds, peanuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts, cashew nuts), grains (beans and lentils).


Spices

Spices are widely used in Ayurveda and provide numerous benefits to our body.


Ginger: Did you know that ginger not only helps with digestion but also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help fight viruses and bacteria? To reap the benefits of ginger, you can use it in either its fresh form for infusions or in powdered preparations. According to Dr. Akil Palanisamy, author of The T.I.G.E.R. Protocol: An Integrative 5-Step Program to Treat and Heal Your Autoimmunity, if you choose to use powdered ginger, it is recommended to consume one teaspoon per day. For fresh ginger, he suggests consuming a small piece (about ¼ of the ginger) throughout the day.


Research has shown the effectiveness of powdered ginger supplementation (1500 mg) for 12 weeks in significantly reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger has also demonstrated its potential in treating multiple sclerosis and lupus, as evidenced by two other studies examining its pharmacological qualities. Ongoing studies are currently exploring how ginger's immunomodulatory, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory attributes interact with the key factors involved in various diseases. Additionally, it is worth noting that ginger may also promote the health of the intestinal microbiota.


Garlic: Garlic is a potent antimicrobial agent commonly used in cooking. Its broad-spectrum activity against harmful bacteria and viruses is well-documented, and it also possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Scientific studies have demonstrated that patients with rheumatoid arthritis who supplemented with garlic powder for 8 weeks experienced significant reductions in pain and fatigue. These findings strongly suggest that garlic supplementation can be an effective adjunctive therapy for managing the inflammatory response, clinical symptoms, and fatigue associated with rheumatoid arthritis.


Black cumin: A popular ingredient in India, black cumin offers numerous therapeutic benefits due to its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiallergic, anticancer, antioxidant, hypoglycemic, hypotensive, hypolipidemic, and immunomodulatory properties. Several studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in treating skin conditions such as wounds caused by diabetes, acne, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis, melanoma, and psoriasis. Additionally, black cumin has been proven to be an effective treatment option for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, blood cancers, asthma, kidney disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.


Studies have demonstrated that the use of black cumin oil on patients with rheumatoid arthritis can lessen both pain and inflammation. Additionally, patients who received capsules containing 500mg of black cumin twice daily for one month experienced a decrease in pain, swelling, and morning stiffness compared to those who received a placebo.


Also, research has demonstrated that black cumin has strong antibacterial properties that can combat harmful bacteria in humans, particularly Gram-positive cocci, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis. Additionally, it is effective in fighting different strains of Candida albicans due to its potent antifungal action.





References


Sonnenburg, E.D., Sonnenburg, J. L. Starving our microbial self: the deleterious consequences of a diet deficient in microbiota-accessible carbohydrates. Cell Metab (2014). Doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2014.07.003


Jafarzadeh, A., Nemati, M. Therapeutic potentials of ginger for treatment of Multiple sclerosis: A review with emphasis on its immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. J Neuroimmunol (2018). Doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2018.09.003


Aryaeian, N. The effect of ginger supplementation on some immunity and inflammation intermediate genes expression in patients with active Rheumatoid Arthritis. Gene (2019). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gene.2019.01.048


Ali, R. et al. Antineutrophil properties of natural gingerols in models of lupus. JCI Insight (2020). Doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.138385


Moosavia, S., et al. The effects of garlic (Allium sativum) supplementation on inflammatory biomarkers, fatigue, and clinical symptoms in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Phytother Res. (2020). Doi: 10.1002/ptr.6723


Barber, T., et al. The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre. Nutrients (2020). Doi: 10.3390/nu12103209


Malesza, I.J et al., High-Fat, Western-Style Diet, Systemic Inflammation, and Gut Microbiota: A Narrative Review. Cells (2021). Doi: 10.3390/cells10113164


Kinashi, Y., Hase, K. Partners in Leaky Gut Syndrome: Intestinal Dysbiosis and Autoimmunity. Front Immunol (2022). Doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.673708


Marietta, E., Mangalam, A.K, Taneja, V., Murray, J.A. Intestinal Dysbiosis in, and Enteral Bacterial Therapies for, Systemic Autoimmune Diseases. Front Immunol (2020). Doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.573079


Palanisamy, A. (2023). The T.I.G.E.R. Protocol: An Integrative 5-Step Programme to Treat and Heal Your Autoimmunity. Headline Home Publisher




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