Your immunity is the ability of your body to resist disease and infection through the action of specific antibodies. Your immune system recognises a foreign cell, releases the relevant antibodies to the area, they attack the foreign invaders and hopefully clears them out. An autoimmune response occurs when your immune system attacks you. Healthy tissue is incorrectly registered as foreign and the immune system attacks it, in the absence of any foreign bodies.
A simple example of an autoimmune response is tissue rejection after an organ donation. If the tissue from a donor organ is not close enough to that of the recipient, the body recognises it as foreign and therefore potentially harmful. Despite the donor organ being healthy tissue, the recipient’s immune system attacks and destroys the organ.
To name but a few, more common forms of autoimmunity are rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and type 1 diabetes. What is interesting about these diseases is that they have a common trait: damage to the lining of the intestine (gut). When the gut lining is damaged, undigested food particles (foreign invaders) make their way into the body. This is often referred to as leaky gut syndrome and it could be a factor in many other diseases too.
There’s nothing good about having a leaky gut, but if you do, at least we know that it is most likely to be caused by some of the food you’re consuming. Furthermore, it’s most likely to be food that only became part of the western diet during the neolithic period. During that time, humans learned to raise crops and keep domestic livestock and were thus no longer dependent on hunting, fishing, and gathering. That is, humans became lazy, fat, unfit and unhealthy during that time.
Thanks to historians, we know which foods became prominent during the neolithic age. Those are grains, dairy, and legumes. Now, not everyone responds to food the same way. Your genome, and therefore your ancestory, plays a critical role. But we do know that those food groups are pro-inflammatory and that people with autoimmune diseases have found significant improvements by eliminating those foods.
You may not have an autoimmune disease, but you may be struggling to lose weight or have chronically achy joints and muscles. Or your blood sugar might always be out of whack despite you thinking that you’re avoiding sugar, or your fitness may not be improving at all. If so, it could be related to a leaky gut and therefore consuming too much of one or all of those neolithic foods.
How will you know? You’ve got to test it. Eliminate one of those food groups for a month and evaluate your symptoms. Repeat the process for the other groups. Or simply remove some types of food from those groups. You shouldn’t go it alone either. Get some help from a professional. Observe, measure, repeat!