How to keep your Gut Flora strong and healthy? The human body is good for alleviating the ailments, but you need defense mechanisms in your front line. The 3 main lines of defense are: the immune system, the liver, and the colonies of beneficial bacteria that inhabit our gut.
Examining the role of dietary fiber – which are increasingly scarce in western nutrition – it seems to play at least two important functions:
1) feeds the colonies of beneficial bacteria that live in the large intestine,
2) there is evidence that a diet rich in fiber can help prevent bowel cancer and other ailments.
In front of a throat infection, the medical indication tends to be an antibiotic. Such medication kills the bacteria that cause the ailment, but it also kills the beneficial bacteria that live in the large intestine. However, such bacteria play a very important role in the maintenance of health. To kill them is the same that weaken our defenses: against a microorganism, a poison, or a mutant cell.
A good way to ensure the existence of these beneficial bacteria in quantity and quality it is by way of the consumption of “probiotics” – foods that contain cultures of these bacteria. But this is a way to interfere quickly in the reconstruction of a flora. How would be the correct way to keep the flora healthy?
Beneficial bacteria x Bacteria Harmful
There are about 100 million bacteria in the gut, which means little more than a kilo of the body weight of an adult. Virtually all of the bacteria that inhabit our gut, are found in the colon, the longest part of the large intestine.
Collectively, these bacteria are referred to as “intestinal flora” or “microbiota”. Each bacterium is a single cell – a
living being tiny – and there are hundreds of different species.
However, only about forty species are responsible for the majority of the intestinal bacteria and, for the most part, are very beneficial. The main families are known as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
There are harmful bacteria because they cause ailments, some of them deadly. It is up to each one of us to keep our intestinal flora healthy and happy, always in larger number than the harmful bacteria.
Before birth, the colon of the fetus does not contain bacteria of any kind. When the baby is born of normal delivery, you receive your first gut flora from the mother – inheritance of the beneficial bacteria that inhabit the vaginal canal. Research has shown that babies born by cesarean section have a lot less of the beneficial bacteria and many more harmful bacteria.
The intimate contact with the mother is important. Breastfeeding also helps: when they are fed at the breast, babies can absorb the beneficial bacteria by means of the contact of the mouth with the nipple, and the breast milk is perfect for feeding the intestinal flora. You will probably bring inside of you the direct descendants of bacteria from your mother.
Bacteria of the family Bifidobacterium make up 90% of the intestinal flora of a breastfed baby at the breast. A study published by the Allergy Research Centre, Stockholm, in 2001, accompanied newborns until two years of age and found that those who had a bacterial flora most numerous were less likely to develop allergies.
In an ideal situation, the good bacteria are adapted to their environment in the bowel. Hence, usually thrive and make it unfeasible for the growth of harmful bacteria. Instead, we are always in contact with potentially harmful bacteria, either by way of food, when we put something in the mouth, by kissing, etc., as Well, the beneficial bacteria have to always be in great numbers, well-fed: in a state of alert.
Our part is simple: we provide an ideal environment in which to live. And the best thing is that we nurture them just waste, or by-products of our food.
The beneficial bacteria survive by feeding on, that is, by fermenting the dietary fibre from foods of plant origin. This is one of the reasons why we should consume daily fruits and vegetables. The body does not digest the fibers, which pass directly to the colon, where the bacteria are waiting hungry.
There are two types of fibers: soluble, which absorb water, and insoluble, which does not absorb it. Nuts, seeds, peas, beans and lentils provide lots of soluble fiber. The insoluble fibers are, for example, in the rice, carrot and cucumber.
A fact: The soluble fiber is fermented more readily than insoluble. The main role of the insoluble fibers is to occupy spaces, to facilitate takeovers and to create ideal conditions for release of nutrients back to the body.
The fermentation of fiber produces beneficial substances. Bacteria of the family Lactobacillus produce lactic acid, which significantly reduces the population of harmful bacteria.
Can also produce vitamins K and B12, which are assimilated through the walls of the colon. The fermentation that occurs within the colon helps us to absorb minerals and some products of fermentation that can help fight cancer.
Indeed, about 10% of our energy comes from the processing of the fibers within the intestine.
The good bacteria play many other important roles. For example, train our immune system when we are still babies, people also consume some of the gases produced by harmful bacteria, reducing the amount that we have to “expel”.
When the Intestinal Flora is weakened
Most of the time, the beneficial bacteria thrive and control the situation in the colon. But when we are sick, very tired, or taking antibiotics, the intestinal flora suffers many casualties.
When the intestinal flora is in decline, the harmful bacteria can proliferate, transforming into a dominant force and, obviously, the beneficial bacteria, in the minority and weakened, no longer be able to play its important role in defense.
When the amount of fibers that ferment in the intestine is weak, the stool may retain fluids in excess, reblandecerse and trigger loss important minerals. With a gut flora that is insufficient, the functioning of the intestine will also be irregular, it may happen that you feel lethargic and notice that you’re by expelling more gases than normal.
Well, now that you’ve already convinced that it is necessary to maintain happy and healthy beneficial bacteria, you’re thinking: “But how will I do that?”
Eating more fiber is the answer – maintain a diet rich in fiber is a way to ensure the maintenance of a healthy gut flora.
The positive effects on the intestinal flora depend on the regular consumption of:
– Foods rich in soluble fiber, also known as prebiotics, preferably in the morning and 2 other times throughout the day.
– Certain groups of the population may be more vulnerable to dysfunctions, gastric, such as the elderly, young children and people who travel a lot. In these cases, could benefit from the consumption of foods fortified with probiotics.