Fitness experts have long advised that when you eat, it's best to chew your food properly, and the longer you chew, the more time it will take to finish a meal which could ultimately lead to avoiding weight gain. However, a new study shows, chewing your food properly does not only help with weight loss goals, it also helps in boosting your immune system.
Th17 Cell Can Be Stimulated When Chewing
Researchers from The University of Manchester and National Institutes of Health in the U.S. conducted a study which reveals that a specific type of immune cell, the Th17 cell, can be stimulated when you chew, Medical Xpress reported. This particular immune cell is vital in protecting against bacterial and fungal infections that are commonly found in the mouth.
According to NetDoctor, this finding could lead to new treatments for a host of illnesses including diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. Dr Joanne Konkel, biologist at the University of Manchester, said that the immune system performs a "remarkable" balancing act at barrier sites like the skin, mouth and gut by fighting off harmful pathogens while tolerating the presence of normal friendly bacteria.
"Our research shows that, unlike at other barriers, the mouth has a different way of stimulating Th17 cells, not by bacteria but by mastication. Therefore mastication can induce a protective immune response in our gums," Dr Konkel said.
Researchers Say It's Not Good To Have Too Many Th17 Cells; Could lead To Periodontitis
For the study, the researchers changed the hardness of the food fed to mice, which caused more mastication - which, in turn, stimulated the increases in Th17 cells. However, the experts also noted that it is not always good to have too many Th17 cells, because it could lead to periodontitis.
Dr Konkel added that because mouth inflammation is linked to development of diseases, it is important to understand the tissue-specific factors that regulate immunity at the oral barrier, which "could eventually lead to new ways to treat multiple inflammatory conditions."