(Satyanarayan Mohapatra, 30th March 2020)
We need to understand our body own immune system before washing our hands or keeping social distance or precaution before sneezing. We have our skin, snot, (mucus in the nose) microbiome and helpful bugs (gut bacteria) which compete with pathogens for food and space. These in totality makes antimicrobial products & antiviral compounds that are quite hostile to deadly viruses – including Corona virus. If the pathogens moves beyond then the white blood cells attack them. There are others which we term as vaccine which remembers the germs, and confronts them without our knowledge. This happens when we get immunity and this is the base of vaccination. It bypasses all the defence system and protects the body with its own (RAM) memory system so that we don’t fall sick. At times our immune system might get some blind spots – it means they don’t recognise the bugs or the bugs might have evasion strategies. A healthy body and system ensures a good defence system. Our bodies contain more cells belonging to microbes, such as bacteria and yeasts, termed as microbiome – the Gut Bacteria. “We live in a symbiotic relationship with our gut bacteria.” “Having the right ones around is best for our health. Anything we do that alters the ecosystem of these microbiomes is detrimental or bad for our immune system.” To feed our gut microbiomes, we need more varied diet with lots of high-fibre foods”. Being vegetarian isn’t a prerequisite for microbiomes health, but the more plant foods one consumes, the better. “The gut microbiome floras are active from the food they derive from fibre, pulses and fermented foods.” Yoghurt (dahi) and Pickles an accompaniment in the Indian Cuisine are among the fermented delicacies now coming back to the plates of the Indian plates and vis-a-vis helping a healthy microbiome. It is not the end here it has to be a continuous process and not for a day or for that matter a fashionable touch. Rather it should be permanent fixture. We have our own fermented rice pancake (pitha) which has disappeared from the (Odisha) kitchen. These are the views of the author and curated with inputs from various sources Digital and Social Media Feeds.