In recent years, the gut microbiota have been the star of medical conferences. Because whether depression, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease, weight gain, skin irritation, gut disorders or a depressed immune system, the key factor in a great many ailments lies in our belly. To avoid developing those ailments, here’s how to pamper your precious microbiota.
It’s a fun fact that applies to us all: our bodies play host to more than 10,000 billion bacteria weighing one to two kilos. However, it is important to distinguish between friendly and harmful bacteria within the microbiota in our guts. The friendly ones stop the growth and proliferation of pathogenic germs, while the hostile ones cause inflammation, disorders and diseases. It is all a question of balance between the two categories. Far greater in number than all the cells in our body, these little creatures make digestion possible of course, and also protect us against parasites and keep the immune system working properly. To foster the right balance in this odd colony, you simply need to get into “microbiota-friendly” habits.
Pour faire le plein de pré et probiotiques indispensable à un microbiote au top :
1 – Adjust your diet
To load up on the pre- and probiotics that are essential for microbiota in tip-top shape:.
- Opt for high-fibre fruit, vegetables and pulses to feed the friendly bacteria and help them grow. Dietary fibre is a non-digestible food ingredient high in prebiotics, and is the food of choice for the friendly bacteria in the microbiota. When they digest it, fatty acids that are good for health are synthesised. The average daily dietary fibre intake is estimated at 20 grams, whereas it should be 25 to 30 grams.
- Eat lots of onions, shallots, leeks and garlic, which are directed straight to the gut to deliver their precious prebiotics in situ. It’s true enough that doing so can cause minor stomach upsets, which is logical since these foods do not get digested.
- Season your food liberally with herbs and spices. Turmeric, tarragon, cinnamon, thyme and oregano destroy pathogenic bacteria that invade and impair the microbiota. This is why, in hot countries, food and meat dishes especially are full of spices. The latter are there to kill the mould and bacteria that primarily spoil meat.
- Go organic to avoid the pesticides that upset the balance of the microbiota.
2- Get acquainted with fermented foods
Fermented foods supply probiotics to the body and therefore to the microbiota. These probiotics are friendly bacteria and microorganisms (like yeast) that are able to rebalance the gut flora. Lactobacillus and bifidus are the best known among them. They can be found in yoghurts, miso soup, sauerkraut, gherkins, vinegar, soy sauce and especially fermented drinks such as kefir and kombucha.
3- Avoid alcohol
Excessive alcohol intake, i.e. more than one to two drinks per day, is very bad for the health of the microbiota. A study published in the journal Microbiome links it to a drop in the number of lactobacilli (friendly bacteria that fight inflammation) and an increase in hostile bacteria.
4- Limit milk, sugar and gluten intake
The casein found in milk can cause inflammatory reactions if it enters the bloodstream due to compromised microbiota and porous intestinal mucous membranes. Milk also contains lactose, the proper digestion of which calls for a special enzyme (lactase). This decreases in quantity with age, accounting for some stomach upsets.
As doe sugar, it feeds candida albicans, a fungus that occurs naturally in the body. If this fungus proliferates too much it disrupts certain bodily functions, causing certain symptoms: insomnia, irritability, chronic fatigue, intestinal problems, excess weight, urinary tract infections, etc. This syndrome, candidiasis, is still poorly understood and underdiagnosed. Lastly, besides genuine gluten intolerance, gluten may not agree with some people. This is because the breakdown of wheat releases proteins that can damage the gut’s mucous membranes and microbiota, causing discomfort and upset stomach.
5- Reduce additives
Some additives, such as citric acid and polyphenols, are still considered harmless or even beneficial. However, others such as some thickeners (E415 AIn addition to a “microbiota-friendly” diet, regular, moderate sporting activity is essential to promote the right balance between the hostile and friendly bacteria in the intestinal flora. On the other hand, overly-strenuous activity throws off this balance, causing that upset stomach that sporty types will be familiar with. KA xanthan gum), could affect the gut microbiota and lead to inflammation. As a precautionary measure, avoid ultra-processed foods as much as possible. They are the main suppliers of the four kilos of emulsifiers, colourings, sweeteners and fillers that the average person weighing 70kg ingests every year. This figure can rise to nine kilos for those addicted to mass-produced food. Although manufacturers are reducing additive use, there is no substitute for Clean Eating if you want happy gut microbiota and a washboard stomach.
In addition to a “microbiota-friendly” diet, regular, moderate sporting activity is essential to promote the right balance between the hostile and friendly bacteria in the intestinal flora. On the other hand, overly-strenuous activity throws off this balance, causing that upset stomach that sporty types will be familiar with.