(NaturalNews) Researchers from the University of Chicago are investigating the relationship between aspects of the contemporary Western diet, and certain kinds of disease which arise in the absence of a properly functioning immune system.
Disease that corresponds to changing diets
One of the first organs to be affected is the bowel, simply because the digestive tract is the organ with the most immediate and prolonged exposure to the eaten food. They are looking for specific food triggers that can provoke inflammatory bowel diseases, such as colitis. Colitis is one of many inflammatory bowel diseases mediated by a genetic predisposition. The disease can lie dormant until the immune system is compromised. The appearance of the disease requires a combination of both genetics and environmental influences.
Over the past 50 years, inflammatory bowel disease, which was once considered extremely rare, appears to have flourished. Researchers believe that the gradual degradation of the quality of American diets correlates to this increase. The Standard American Diet is high in refined sugars and fats, both of which, even under normal circumstances, produce inflammation.
Over the course of the investigation, researchers found that concentrated milk fats, like those found in butter or cream, can disrupt the ecology of the intestines. The digestive tract contains both beneficial bacteria, needed for break down the food for digestion, and harmful bacteria, which, under normal and ideal circumstances, is disarmed and kept at low levels. Milk fats are found in a majority of refined foods, and their presence in the gut gives the harmful bacteria a competitive edge. Researchers found that a bacteria called Bilophila wadsworthia, which is normally sparse, amplifies its proliferation in the presence of milk fats, and has been shown to be present in elevated levels in other localized inflammatory diseases, such as appendicitis.
The immune system detects the disturbance, and sends in sentries to handle the problem. Unfortunately, what ultimately ends up happening, is that the immune system attacks the bowel as a whole, causing widespread inflammation and tissue damage. Despite the fact that the bacteria was the initial offender, the immune system's response quickly makes itself more of a problem for the individual.
The current line of defense, after the disease has been provoked, is the use of system-wide immune-suppressant drugs. This is extremely problematic, because the body needs the immune system to defend itself.
Removing the trigger
The finding helps to explain why many individuals, even with the genetic predisposition, never experienced these diseased states. With a diet low in refined refined fats and sugars, free of processed foods, and mainly composed of whole foods and fresh produce, some individuals outfox their risk factors.
About the author: Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general. In 2010, Michelle created RawFoodHealthWatch.com, to share with people her approach to the raw food diet and detoxification.
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