The intestinal flora or microbiota, as it is also called, is a set of microorganisms that help take care of the health not only of the intestines, but of the body, in general. “It is made up of around one hundred billion beneficial bacteria, a figure ten times greater than the number of cells present in our body”, indicates the Cinfasalud portal, from Spain.
These microorganisms perform essential functions to the point that, according to experts, the existence of people would be very complicated without their presence.. The microbiota is responsible for the body’s defense against bacteria, viruses or diseases, ensures the proper functioning of the digestive system and collaborates in the production of vitamins and the proper absorption of minerals.
According to Cinfasalud, the intestinal flora can be altered for various reasons, including a diet low in fiber and excess meat, fat and sugar. In addition, bad lifestyle habits such as a sedentary lifestyle, stress, alcohol and tobacco can also affect it.
Added to this is age, which is another risk factor. “Basically, from the age of sixty, the number of beneficial bacteria decreases. This is one of the reasons for the increase in illnesses, infections and digestive symptoms such as constipation, in this population,” says Cinfasalud.
Other factors that can alter the microbiota are viral or bacterial infections, treatments such as radiotherapy or surgery, certain medications such as antibiotics, and long journeys which sometimes cause alterations, either due to hygiene conditions or to food.
To take care of the microbiota, special attention must be paid to the foods that are consumed, some of which are specific to meet this objective.
Fermented foods: These products are considered alive and help maintain a healthy gut microbiota. One of them is kefir, a drink that can be prepared with water and that provides a great diversity of microorganisms that promote the regeneration of the intestinal flora, according to information from the portal Body-Spirit.
Yogurt is also one of these foods. It is recommended because it contains lactobacilli, which are also bacteria and help restore the balance of the intestinal flora when the level of microbiota in the body is reduced or there is not a great diversity. However, one of the recommendations of experts is that it be consumed in the most natural way possible to avoid further health problems.
Ginger: information from the EPS Famisanar blog, indicates that thanks to its antibacterial power, ginger is a great ally for taking care of the intestinal flora and reducing the alterations that can occur there. In addition, it acts as an antibiotic to fight infectious bacteria and increase the good state of the microbiota.
apples: these fruits are a good source of carbohydrates but also of fibers which serve as a substrate for the microbiota; that is to say, it can feed on it. According to information from Famisanar, apples contain pectin, a type of soluble fiber and an ideal food for bacteria in the intestinal flora. One of the recommendations is to consume them with the skin, since most of the fibers are in the skin of the fruit.
Chia seeds: they are rich in fiber, protein, potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, says the Cuerpo Mente publication, written by Marta León. A tablespoon of chia seeds at breakfast or with a salad is a good option to increase daily fiber intake.
Beans: This food is rich in protein, fiber and vitamins. “They are optimal for reducing stomach acids, stimulating the intestinal flora and promoting an increase in energy,” explains the Famisanar blog.