Trade Travel Journal | How to improve intestinal flora | You will have heard a lot about intestinal flora and its importance for good health. What’s more, lately, there is also talk of its involvement in obesity and how a healthy intestinal flora helps fight this disease. But before explaining how we can improve it, let’s see what it consists of and what its function is.
What is the intestinal flora?
The intestinal flora is made up of more than 400 different types of bacteria. It is not about microorganisms that harm us. On the contrary. They live in complete harmony and are essential for the health of the entire organism, not just the digestive system. In fact, they help keep defenses in good shape.
How does the immune system improve?
This microflora prevents the invasion of other harmful agents and prevents intestinal infections . Furthermore, the small percentage of pathogenic bacteria puts the immune system on alert and that produces a sufficient number of defenses for them to fight infection.
What other functions do these friendly bacteria have?
- They stimulate the peristaltic movements of the intestine and that translates into better intestinal transit. This prevents constipation.
- They protect against colon cancer.
- They improve the absorption of calcium.
- They prevent lactose intolerance.
- They protect the liver.
- They help synthesize some vitamins such as K and group B.
The balance of the intestinal flora
As we said, there are different types of ‘friendly’ bacteria that form the intestinal flora, including bifidobacterium and acidophilus that maintain sufficient acidity so that other harmful bacteria do not grow.
The balance in the number of these colonies is what allows one species not to prevail over the other. In addition, they prevent the colonization of other external microorganisms that can make us sick.
If this balance is broken, other more damaging ones such as E. Coli, Proteus or Clostridium increase, hinder the transit and produce constipation.
They also cause gas and bloating and may even increase the risk of cancer.
What alters the balance of the flora?
A bad diet is one of the most damaging habits for the intestinal flora. Consuming abundant processed products, sausages, cold cuts, industrial pastries, fried, meat, sugar, coffee or alcohol break this balance.
The snuff and stress also alter the intestinal flora because they reduce the number of beneficial bacteria.
Prolonged use of antibiotics or self-medication also upsets this balance.
How to improve the intestinal flora?
Once again, the diet is the best ally to improve the intestinal flora. An abundant consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and seeds helps maintain your balance.
Likewise, the consumption of functional foods also helps stimulate the growth of these bacteria and maintain balance. Here we find prebiotic and probiotic foods:
- Prebiotics: They are non-digestible substances that selectively stimulate the growth of certain bacteria in the intestinal flora, favoring different functions of the body. These nutrients are found naturally in a variety of vegetables such as leeks, onions, chicory, asparagus, garlic, artichokes, tomatoes, alfalfa, bananas, etc. It is also added, due to its positive effects, to other foods. It is also possible to find them in the form of specific dietary supplements.
- Probiotics: They are bacteria, capable of surviving in the intestine, modifying the balance of their microflora, exerting beneficial effects on the health of the individual. Classic examples of probiotics are the microorganisms in yogurt and other fermented dairy products such as Kefir, lactobacilli, and bifidobacteria.