An apple a day may keep the doctor away but a fibre-filled diet
could also hold the key to keeping asthma, diabetes and arthritis
at bay, according to Australian research.
Scientists at Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research say
that fibre not only helps keep people regular, it boosts the immune
system so it can better combat inflammatory diseases.
When foods high in fibre, such as dried fruit and beans, reach
the gut, bacteria convert them to compounds known as short chain
fatty acids. These acids are known to alleviate some inflammatory
disease in the bowel.
Researcher Charles Mackay said that the team, which worked with
scientists in Australia, the US and Brazil, was able to draw a
clearer picture of this relationship, work which has implications
for other diseases.
How the study was done
They demonstrated that a molecule used by immune cells and
previously shown to bind short chain fatty acids also functioned as
"The important point about our work is that we provide the
molecular explanation that links fibre in the diet to the
micro-organisms in our gut to the affect on the immune response,"
Professor Charles Mackay said.
The research, published in the latest edition of Nature,
indicated that diet may have profound effects on immune responses
or inflammatory diseases, he said.
"We believe that changes in diet, associated with western
lifestyles, contribute to the increasing incidences of asthma, Type
1 diabetes and other auto-immune diseases," he said.
"Now we have a new molecular mechanism that might explain how
diet is affecting our immune systems." – (Sapa, October 2009)
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