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News number: 8808170654

12:01 | 2009-11-08

Science

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Plant-Based Foods Fight Asthma, Diabetes

TEHRAN (FNA)- Consuming fiber-rich foods as well as probiotic and prebiotics supplements can boost intestinal bacteria and immunity, keeping asthma and diabetes at bay.



Previous studies had reported that intestinal bacteria play a critical role in boosting immunity, since the very first days of life.

According to a study published in Nature, diets can have profound effects on immune responses or inflammatory diseases.

Plant-based foods such as dried fruit and beans convert to short chain fatty acids, which bind to GPR43 - a molecule released by immune cells - in the intestine and act as an anti-inflammatory agent, press tv reported.

Similar to what occurs in mice that lack the GPR43 gene, the absence of short chain fatty acids in the intestine contributes to compromised immunity and inflammatory diseases such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

"We believe that changes in diet, associated with Western lifestyles, contribute to the increasing incidences of asthma, Type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases. Now we have a new molecular mechanism that might explain how diet is affecting our immune systems," said lead researcher Professor Charles Mackay.

Scientists concluded that fiber not only boosts the immune system but also helps the body fight inflammatory diseases.

They stressed that changing diets alter the gut bacteria as well as their by-products particularly short chain fatty acids.