Taking care of your intestinal flora is important for your body to work correctly. Good habits that boost your intestinal flora help keep your digestive system healthy and prevent illness.
What is Your Intestinal Flora?
The bacteria that live in your intestines are known as the intestinal flora or microbiota. The majority are good for you and only a small percentage can be bad for your health.
Together, they make up a balanced and complex ecosystem that regulates itself. They’re also the body’s natural defense against infections and other illnesses.
The intestinal flora helps digestion, intestinal transit, fights the presence of harmful germs, and prevents infections.
At the same time, it strengthens the immune system. The small amount of pathogenic bacteria keep the body’s defences constantly alert and active.
Other benefits of the intestinal flora are that it:
- Boosts lactose tolerance.
- Helps absorb calcium better.
- Protects the liver by neutralizing harmful substances.
- Are useful for preventing colon cancer.
Bad Habits that Alter Your Intestinal Flora
As well as the good habits that boost your intestinal flora, there are harmful habits that can alter it. These bad habits cause gas and swelling, as well as increasing the production of nitrosamine, a chemical compound linked to cancer.
- Diets low in fiber or containing a lot of fried foods, sugar, red meat, and processed foods are very harmful.
- Eating raw or barely cooked foods and drinking non-bottled water causes an imbalance.
- Stress, insomnia, tobacco, alcohol, or antibiotics attack the normal development of the intestinal flora.
- Age is also a risk factor. From the age of 60, the amount of good bacteria decreases and harmful bacteria increases.
The Digestive System
The human digestive system is made up of the mouth, pharynx, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. More than 95% of the bacteria lives in the digestive tract, in particular in the colon.
- Each person is host to some 400 species of microorganisms and most of them are bacteria. Furthermore, in total they can weigh up to four pounds, roughly what the liver weighs.
Basic Functions of the Intestinal Flora
There are three basic functions of the intestinal flora: protection and immunity, metabolism and nutrition, and trophic. Overall, they’re all key for the correct development of organs.
An imbalance in the intestinal flora is linked to the development of some serious conditions, including:
- Crohn’s disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
Foods for Taking Care of Your Intestinal Flora
Probiotic foods contain naturally-sourced live microorganisms. Therefore, if you consume them in the right amounts they can strengthen your defenses. This will help minimize illnesses and improve intestinal transit.
Some examples are:
- Yogurt, cheese, and fermented milk.
- Fermented foods like sauerkraut or kombucha.
- Olives, pickles, and other foods pickled in vinegar are a rich in probiotics.
- There are also probiotic bacteria lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.
Meanwhile, prebiotic foods stimulate the growth of your intestinal flora.
- You can find them in garlic, onion, artichokes, spinach, bananas, soy, and corn. They’re also a great help for older people.
Therefore, both probiotics and prebiotics should form part of your diet.
How to Boost Your Intestinal Flora
One main good habit to boost your intestinal flora is eating a lot of fruit and vegetables. In addition, you should add prebiotic foods and supplement them with probiotic foods.
- First of all, yogurt, without sugar or sweeteners, is a source of quality protein which helps keep control of your appetite.It provides small peptides that regulate tension and can combat insulin resistance. Plus, it also provides calcium and practically free of lactose.
- Cheese made from raw milk is rich in probiotics, including thermophilus, bifudus, bulgaricus, and acidophilus. We recommend sheep’s cheese or goat’s cheese.
- Milk fermented with bifidobacteria can be very useful. It competes with and displaces pathogens. Plus, it also produces substances which combat mucosa in the colon. In some cases, it can address mild digestive problems.
- Drinking between 6 to 8 of water per day is one good habit which boosts intestinal flora. In addition, you also need to avoid consuming too much animal protein.
- Finally, don’t forget to wash your hands before eating and after going to the bathroom. It’s really important.