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Autoimmune Diseases: How Fermented Foods Support a Healthy Gut

by Hannah Geddes |

Did you know that autoimmune diseases are a range of 80 related disorders? Unsurprisingly, these diseases range from rare to common. In fact, they affect an estimated 5% of people and are a chronic health problem for New Zealanders. 

Basically, autoimmune diseases cause a person's immune system to produce antibodies that attack their own healthy body cells, instead of viruses and bacteria. In no time, the person's body organs become significantly damaged. There are various types of autoimmune diseases, including coeliac disease, type 1 diabetes, Crohn's disease, and lupus.

There is a direct correlation between the food you eat and your autoimmune function, as some foods increase inflammation while some foods reduce it. This is because the digestive system and gut bacteria change depending on your food.

However, you can help to avoid the onset of autoimmune disease with a diet that is rich in fermented foods. By adopting this diet, you'll enhance the diversity of your gut microbes. In addition, it also reduces molecular signs of inflammation.  

There's enough scientific evidence out there that shows that diet plays a massive role in the gut's microbiome. In turn, this significantly affects your immune system and general health.

For example researchers from Stanford discovered that eating fermented foods like yoghurt, fermented cottage cheese, kimchi, kefirs, kombucha tea and vegetable brine drinks increased general microbial diversity. They also discovered that people had stronger effects of increased microbial diversity after eating larger servings.

This means that with the right fermented diet, you can reduce inflammation and support a healthy gut to combat autoimmune diseases. Generally, limit caffeine, grains, sugar, alcohol, red meat, and dairy. Instead, switch to a diet rich in fruits, fermented foods, vegetables, fish, and healthy fats. You can also get an extra boost from taking supplements for gut health such as probiotics along with your diet.