There are currently thousands of studies on the intestinal microbiome, and hardly any other topic is as much discussed among researchers as the so-called intestinal flora. It has already revolutionised our understanding of health and the development of diseases. Some scientists call the microbiome a "super-organ" or "super-organism". Located in the small intestine, it consists of about 100 trillion bacteria and microbes and weighs about 1.5 to 2 kilogrammes.
Why a healthy intestinal flora is so important:
First, let´s look at the task of the intestinal bacteria in the digestive tract. From the food we eat, the bacteria extract what is good for us. They split the sugar molecules, produce healthy short-chain fatty acids for the large intestine and even some vitamins and amino acids from which important proteins are composed. In addition, they eliminate toxins and provide an acid pH value in the intestine to protect against harmful germs. Above all, however, they influence the immune system in a decisive way. If the "good" bacteria are in balance with the "bad" microbes, our immune system is stronger, the body is less susceptible to diseases and allergies, we have more energy, can metabolise the ingested food more effectively and influence digestion positively. An unhealthy lifestyle, incorrect nutrition, stress or even medication can upset the balance of the intestinal flora - the consequences are discomfort, flatulence, weight gain, bad skin or even illness. In addition to various intestinal diseases, these include rheumatism, strokes, Parkinson's disease and depression. Today we know that the microbiome is involved in almost every development and prevention of diseases.
Microbial research has also revealed new insights into the development of overweight. While in the past it was thought that a higher calorie intake than calorie consumption was the only reason, we now know that overweight individuals have a different type of microbiome. Its bacteria have the ability to "better" utilise food and draw more calories from it than bacteria in slim people and then deposit them in the fat storage.
How to keep your bowels healthy:
The more species-rich and balanced the microbiome, the more stable our health and the more we are protected against diseases. This can be achieved through a nutrient-rich and balanced diet. It promotes the reproduction of the "good" bacteria. Sweeteners, alcohol, sugar, white flour and highly processed foods are bad for the intestinal flora. This can also have a lasting negative effect if you take certain medications such as antibiotics. A varied diet, rich in plant fibres, has a positive effect on the human microbiome.
If the microbiome thrown off balance by certain behavioural patterns or even by antibiotic therapy, it can usually regenerate itself with a healthy diet and preparations. The intestinal flora needs so-called prebiotic dietary fibres, which could also be seen as food for intestinal bacteria. This is important for the development of healthy intestinal bacteria. This minimises unfavourable bacteria. In addition, the intake of probiotics, which contain the corresponding microorganisms, can be useful.
Tips for more intestinal health and well-being:
Small life adjustments and tips that are easy to implement can make a big difference to positively influence your bowel:
- Antibiotics damage the intestinal flora. Therefore, only take them if it is absolutely necessary.
- You should eat fibre in the form of root and bulb vegetables, oat flakes and pulses.
- Refrain from using disinfectant household cleaners. Because the more hygienic the environment, the more frequently allergies and asthma occur, which weaken our intestinal flora.
- Keep moving. Walking regularly and climbing stairs in everyday life can have a positive impact on the intestine.
- Avoid negative stress. Stress hormones can damage the intestinal cells. Often this sounds easier said than done, but regular meditation can help to calm down and better deal with stressful situations.
- A healthy, balanced and varied diet can work wonders. Try to include the following foods in your diet in order to positively support the intestinal flora in the long term. In this way you create favourable conditions for the development of good bacteria.
- Vegetables such as chicory, artichokes, garlic, leek, asparagus, tomatoes, parsnips, beans, peas or black salsifies
- cereals such as rye, oats and millet
- Potatoes and wholemeal rice
- Apples and bananas
- Cook your own more food with healthy and unprocessed ingredients that provide many vitamins and nutrients. You know exactly what is contained in your food, meaning no harmful additives (preservatives, sweeteners, emulsifiers), which can damage the intestinal flora.
- Interval fasting: studies show that fasting increases the bacterial diversity of the intestine (the microbiome) and can significantly improve the metabolic parameters in our organs and tissues. Learn more
*All these finding are based on current research. There are numerous sequential studies.