Everything We Eat Triggers Inflammation
Bacteria we take in every time we eat produce an inflammatory response throughout our bodies. Results of a recent study prove for the first time that this inflammation, which activates the immune system—results in a positive, protective effect in people who are healthy—but can become chronic and increase type 2 diabetes risk in people who are overweight or obese. Chronic inflammation and diabetes cause a number of health problems.
Researchers discovered that, when we eat, numbers of a certain type of immune cells (macrophages) increase around the digestive tract. Macrophages—which are called "scavenger cells" because they recognize, destroy, and digest foreign substances and damaged cells in the body—produce a substance called IL-1beta in differing amounts—depending on blood glucose levels. This stimulates pancreatic beta cells to produce insulin in a process that regulates blood glucose and ensures that the immune system has enough glucose to function properly.
According to researchers, this process depends in part on the bacteria and nutrients we ingest. Good nutrition allows the immune system to fight foreign bacteria. When there is a lack of nutrients, the body must use its fuel for vital life functions and does not have enough energy for a healthy immune system response, increasing the risk for chronic disease.
Image Credit: Thinkstock