The body has around 40 billion bacteria, and most are present in the intestines.
Usually, they are called intestinal flora and are very important for health. However, certain types of bacteria in the intestines can also contribute to many diseases.
For example, some foods that you consume greatly affect the types of bacteria that live inside you. Hence the importance of finding the best strategies to help your intestinal bacteria.
In this sense, discover 7 ways to improve your intestinal flora supported by science, and in this way achieve greater physical health.
7 Ways to improve intestinal bacteria
1.Consume a wide range of foods
There are hundreds of species of bacteria in your intestines; and each one plays a different role in health and they need different nutrients for their growth.
For example, a diverse micro biota is considered healthy. This is due to the greater number of species of bacteria that it has, and therefore to the greater number of benefits that it brings to health.
Therefore, a diet consisting of different types of foods leads to a diverse micro biota.
However, the Western diet is not very varied; because it focuses on a lot of fat and sugar. In fact, it is estimated that 75% of the world’s food is produced from 12 plants and 5 animal species.
In addition, some studies have shown that the diversity of intestinal flora is greater in people in rural regions of Africa and South America than in those of Europe or the USA.
2.Eat fruits, vegetables and beans
Fruits, vegetables and beans are the best sources of nutrients for a healthy micro biota. They contain a lot of fiber, which cannot be digested by the body, but by certain bacteria in the intestine that stimulates their growth.
Some foods rich in fibers, ideal for your intestinal bacteria are:
- Green peas.
- Beans (pinto and white).
In addition, research found that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables prevented the growth of some disease-causing bacteria.
Foods such as apples, artichokes, cranberries, almonds and pistachios have been shown to increase bifidobacteria in humans. These are considered beneficial bacteria, since they help prevent intestinal inflammation and improve health.
3.Eat fermented foods
Fermented foods are foods altered by microbes. The fermentation process involves growing a microorganism (bacteria) in a monoculture under certain specific environmental conditions; and the result can be a recombinant protein.
Examples of fermented foods are:
Many of these foods are rich in lactobacilli, a type of bacteria that can benefit your health.
For example, people who consume a large amount of yogurt seem to have more lactobacilli in their intestines. These people also have less enterobacteriaceae , a bacteria associated with inflammation and a range of chronic diseases.
Therefore, it has been shown that the consumption of yogurt can modify the intestinal bacteria and improve the symptoms of lactose intolerance in babies and adults; it also improves the function and composition of the microbiota.
However, it is important to note that many yogurts, especially what they taste, have high levels of sugar. Therefore, the best way to consume it is natural. This type of yogurt is made only from milk and mixtures of bacteria.
4.Avoid excessive consumption of sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are widely used as sugar substitutes. However, some studies show that it can adversely affect the intestinal flora.
For example, a study in rats showed that aspartame, a type of artificial sweetener indicated to lose weight, increases blood sugar and creates insulin response problems. It also showed a greater clostridium and enterobacteriacea e in the intestines, contributes to diseases when they are in large quantities.
5.Include prebiotic foods in your diet
Prebiotics are foods that promote the growth of beneficial microbes in the intestine. It is mainly fiber or complex carbohydrates that cannot be digested by human cells. Instead, certain species of bacteria break it down and use it as fuel.
In this sense, many fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain prebiotics, and you can also find it on your own.
For example, the resistant starch can also be prebiotic. This type of starch is not absorbed in the small intestine; because it passes to the large intestine where it is degraded by the microbiota .
Studies have shown that prebiotics can promote the growth of many healthy bacteria, including bifidobacteria . These studies have been done in healthy people, but some show that prebiotics benefit people with diseases associated with obesity, diabetes and the heart.
6.Breastfeed for at least 6 months
The microbiota of a baby begins to develop properly at birth. However, some recent studies suggest that babies may be exposed to some bacteria before birth.
During the first 2 years of life, a baby’s microbiota is rich in bifidobacteria , a bacteria that can digest the sugar in breast milk.
Many studies have shown that babies who are fed formula have an altered microbiota, and have fewer bifidobacteria than babies who are breastfed.
In addition, breastfeeding is also associated with lower rates of allergies, less obesity and avoids other diseases related to intestinal microbiota.
7.Consume whole grains
Whole grains contain a lot of fiber, not digestible like beta-glucan, a type of glucose polysaccharide.
These carbohydrates are not absorbed in the small intestine; instead they are directed to the large intestine, where they are broken down by the microbiota, promoting the growth of certain beneficial bacteria for the body.
In this regard, whole grains support the growth of bifidobacteria, lactobacilli and bacteroidetes in humans. In addition, it has been shown that whole grains can reduce inflammation and heart disease; as well as increase the feeling of fullness.
For example, whole grains contain non-digestible carbohydrates that can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiota.
Finally, do not forget that these changes in the intestinal flora will improve certain aspects of metabolic health and health in general.