Until very recently, all bacteria were considered harmful in the history of medicine. It was a common perception of scientists and humans about bacteria that these are dangerous microorganisms that cause diseases.
The truth is that in the human digestive system there are nearly 1000 different types of microorganisms – bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc. The proper scientific name for these microorganisms is “microbiota”.
Studies have linked a healthy gut microbiota with lower cancer rates, heart and liver disease, diabetes, asthma, depression, allergies, and more.
Most of these microorganisms are essential for maintaining our health and especially for digestion. The microbiota is actively involved in digestion, helps maintain a good figure and last but not least – stimulates the proper functioning of the immune system.
Just as the microbiota affects food, and vice versa – the way of eating affects the balance of microorganisms. Therefore, it is crucial to eat foods that support the growth and development of “good” bacteria in the body.
Tips for right nutrition for a healthy stomach
The food we consume on a daily basis feeds not only us but the trillions of bacteria that live in our bodies. Therefore, we must select foods that contribute to the balance of microorganisms and that provide a healthy microbiota.
Everyone is different in their individual needs, but there are some principles to improve digestion, figure and overall health that are universal.
Generally speaking, the gut microbiota is considered healthy when there are as many different types of bacteria in it as possible. The reason for this is that each bacterial strain has different health benefits. A diet consisting of a wide variety of foods helps to create and maintain more variety and beneficial gut bacteria.
Here are some easy tips for healthy gut flora:
- INCREASED INTAKE OF VEGETABLES, FRUITS, BEANS
Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of nutrients for beneficial bacteria. Bacterial food is called a prebiotic. Usually prebiotics are indigestible nutrients that do not break down from the body, but when they enter the intestine they serve as a nourishment for the gut microbiota. Fruits and vegetables contain a large amount of fiber that can be processed by certain types of gut bacteria, thus stimulating their development. Legumes are also rich in high levels of fiber.
- ACCEPT PROBIOTIC FOOD
Probiotic foods are foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and kefir. They contain certain bacteria that, when they enter the intestines, colonize and help regulate the balance of the gut microbiota, as well as prevent the ingress of harmful and potentially dangerous bacteria.
People who consume regular yogurt have proven to have a greater amount of globally known beneficial bacteria of the genus called Lactobacillus. In addition, the amount of microorganisms (genus Enterobacteriaceae) found that can cause intestinal diseases, inflammation and chronic systemic diseases has been found in these individuals.
Taking probiotic foods also improves the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
- AVOID STRONGLY PROCESSED FOODS
They often contain chemicals that either inhibit the development of beneficial bacteria or facilitate the settlement and development of “bad” bacteria in the small and large intestine.
- AVOID SWEETENER CONSUMPTION
Artificial sweeteners are used as a substitute for sugar. However, they have proven to have a negative effect on the intestinal flora.
People who frequently use aspartame sweetener have been found to have an increased amount of harmful bacteria of the genus Enterobacteriaceae and the genus Clostridium in the gastrointestinal tract. This higher amount of harmful bacteria in turn increases the risk of developing various intestinal diseases
- CONSUME FOODS RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS
Antioxidants such as polyphenols are plant components that have a number of beneficial effects on the body, such as reducing blood pressure, inflammation and oxidative stress. You can find them in red wine, broccoli, blueberries, nuts and more.
Let olive oil be your fat of choice because it also contains a large amount of polyphenols, known for its beneficial and antioxidant effects.
- INCLUDE WHOLE GRAIN FOODS IN YOUR DIET
Whole grains are very rich in fiber and indigestible carbohydrates, such as beta-glucan. They pass through the intestines unchanged without being digested and reach the colon, where they are broken down by micro-organisms, aiding their growth and development.
- TAKE PREBIOTIC NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS
As mentioned, prebiotics are the “food” of the microorganisms that live in us. They are mainly fiber or complex carbohydrates that cannot be digested by human cells. Instead, some bacteria use them for fuel.
Many fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain prebiotics, but they can also be found in the form of supplements to ensure their daily intake in sufficient quantities.
In conditions of stress and especially during antibiotic intake, add a nutritional supplement with probiotic and prebiotic to your diet. Because antibiotics destroy the ‘good’ bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, we need a prebiotic to boost their growth, as well as probiotics to restore the gut balance. A healthy microbiome in turn guarantees the proper functioning of the immune system.