Surely you have heard about the intestinal flora and although many of us know that it is something that belongs to our organism, located in the intestine, we do not give true importance to its presence, therefore, we give you the reasons why it is important that you take care of your intestinal flora and we tell you how to do it .
What is intestinal flora
The intestinal flora is the community of bacteria that our intestine naturally possesses . It is also called a microbiome or microbiota and consists of more than 2000 different bacterial species.
It is a natural ecosystem present in the intestine that is regenerated periodically and fulfills functions closely related to health and the proper functioning of our body.
Although there is a variety of bacteria that form the intestinal flora, the predominant ones are the firmicutes and bacteroidetes , being able to vary the proportion of these from one person to another and also, from family to family influenced by genes and factors of the intestine as well as external and related. with the environment .
Although the human intestine is born sterile, it is immediately colonized and our intestinal flora develops until two years of life. During this time various factors such as type of delivery, diet, medication and others influence the population of the intestine with different bacteria .
The different functions of the intestinal flora
When talking about bacteria present in the intestine, there are few people who imagine something bad that lives in their body, however, the intestinal flora is composed of beneficial bacteria essential for the functioning of the human body .
Among its main functions are:
The intestinal microflora has a close relationship with our immune system, as concluded in a study conducted in Italy , as it intervenes not only in the defense activity of the intestinal mucosa but also acts as a barrier against pathogens , competing with them and their substrates.
In addition, it mediates the production of immunoglobulins , substances of great value to act against inflammatory processes and pathogens, hence a healthy intestinal flora is of great importance to preserve the body’s defenses .
Thus, the microbiota can help us to prevent a variety of diseases , not only infectious but also related to our metabolism and even, associated with mental health such as, for example, depression .
The intestinal microbiota is considered a hidden organ with metabolic activity even greater than that of the liver . Colonic bacteria are not only able to ferment non-digestible carbohydrates such as fiber , but also to produce short-chain fatty acids, promote the absorption and digestion of nutrients, synthesize vitamins and also significantly influence the use of energy , being therefore important as modulators of body fat as indicated by US scientists .
Due to this metabolic function, the intestinal flora also plays an important role in the development of obesity , since an imbalance in the bacteria of our body can favor the superior extraction of energy from what we eat and this favors the positive energy balance as well as the storage of fat.
As if that were not enough, the activity of the intestinal flora before certain foods can reduce the appetite and produce satiety , which speaks of its endocrine function, signaling among other things, the nutritional status or the reserves of nutrients in the body .
The foods that help us take care of our intestinal flora
As we can see, our intestinal flora has many important functions so that the organism stays healthy in all senses, hence the importance of its care.
Diet is one of the external factors that most influences intestinal bacteria , so, we show you the foods that you should include in your table to take care of the intestinal flora :
- Yogurt and fermented milks that usually have lacobacilli or other probioticsthat benefit the intestinal flora and its functioning. Its consumption is always better without cooking to keep beneficial bacteria intact and so, we can include them in a breakfast , dessert or satiating dinner .
- Kefir, miso and other fermented are also a source of bacteria with probiotic effect in the body and many of them also rich in fiber or indigestible carbohydrates like miso with which we can prepare soups , salads or sauces. With the kefir we can also prepare various dishes like smoothies , biscuits and others.
- Legumes that are excellent source of resistant starch and fiber that serve to feed the intestinal bacteria and that these produce with their fermentation a beneficial effect in the body. With legumes we can make salads , stir-fries , hamburgers , stews and many other dishes.
- Tubers that are rich in carbohydrates that are not completely digested and have a high level of fiber. We can include in the list sweet potato , potatoes, beet, yucca , yams and others and elaborate with them a variety of dishes such as salads , side dishes, cakes , breads and others.
- Fruits and vegetables that are a source of fiber and resistant starch are also possessing substances such as inulin with strong prebiotic effect in the body, especially the artichoke with which we can make a variety of recipes , asparagus also very versatile in the kitchen or the banana.
With a healthy diet within the framework of a healthy lifestyle we can take care of our intestinal flora and receive at the same time care of this for our health.