Heart, liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys are the five primary organs we usually care the most, but we often think too little of the importance of gastrointestinal health. We tolerate stomach ache, diarrhea, or even constipation. However, a latest research by Magnus Simren, a gastroenterologist from the University of Gothenburg, has been published in Gastroenterology Journal, and it revealed the following: Out of every ten adults in the world, there are four of them who have certain degree of functional gastrointestinal diseases. Therefore, gastrointestinal health problems are very common, and should not be neglected!
We all know the stomach and intestines are the primary organs that digest and absorb nutrients, then excrete the toxins. In addition to that, these organs are also crucial to human immunity. 80% of human immunocytes are produced in the gastrointestinal mucosa, and 70% of human immunocytes can be found in the intestines. Therefore, gastrointestinal health determines whether or not our immunity is functioning properly.
The importance and urgency of improving our immunity during the pandemic are obvious. The question is, how can the general public improve their gastrointestinal immunity?
First of all, having a regular and abstinent diet is important. An irregular eating habit has negative impacts on gastrointestinal functions, which will eventually result in weakened immunity. In addition, we should avoid food that is too cold, too hot or irritating to the digestive system, to protect the gastrointestinal mucosa from possible damages. Besides, we can also eat food that helps nurture gastric health. Take lion's mane mushroom for example, the polysaccharide in it has been found effective in repairing damaged gastric mucosa. It is even used in treating Helicobacter pylori infection with 90% efficacy rate, reducing gastric inflammation and promoting overall gastric health.
Sufficient sleep is also essential. When our body is fatigued, and our stomach and intestines are not well rested, the barrier function may be weakened, making our body vulnerable to external threats, such as viruses and bacteria.
In addition to the healthy lifestyle suggested above, you can also take probiotic supplements to regulate the balance of the gut microbiota. Viability, quantity, strains and combination are key factors we should consider when choosing the right probiotic supplement. Only sufficient amounts of viable probiotics can have the positive effects on our intestinal health.
There are numerous kinds of probiotics, but not all of them can survive the gastric acid and bile during the digestive process and "make it" to the intestines. Scientific research has shown that probiotic strains with strong vitality after the stabilization process include Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM, Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 and Rhamnosus HN001. Even when these viable probiotics have "made it'' to the intestines, they will still need to be "fed" with prebiotics to ensure the efficacy. Some common prebiotics include inulin and dioligosaccharides.
Improving immunity cannot be done within a day. It requires continuous efforts in our everyday life. Let us replenish probiotics properly, develop a regular healthy diet and manage our sleep schedule from now on!
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