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Sunday, June 13, 2021

This is what you should do to keep your gut microbiota in shape

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Jiya Saini
Jiya Saini is a Journalist and Writer at Revyuh.com. She has been working with us since January 2018. After studying at Jamia Millia University, she is fascinated by smart lifestyle and smart living. She covers technology, games, sports and smart living, as well as good experience in press relations. She is also a freelance trainer for macOS and iOS, and In the past, she has worked with various online news magazines in India and Singapore. Email: jiya (at) revyuh (dot) com

It is a cornerstone of our well-being, and it is up to us to maintain the balance between species for its proper functioning. These are the best tips to take care of it.

It is very important to know what the microbiota is, to be aware of the importance it has for our immune system, our well-being and, above all, to put into practice all the actions and habits necessary to keep our ‘biota’ in a state of excellence.

The microbiota is the set of microorganisms that live in our body on a regular basis, specifically in the respiratory tract, the genital mucosa, the skin and the intestine.

Our guardians

The best known is the intestinal microbiota, made up of about 100 billion microorganisms, mainly bacteria, but also viruses, protozoa and fungi. The set of genes of these microorganisms is called the microbiome, considered as a virtual organ that encodes more than three million genes and generates thousands of active metabolites.

In order for it to protect us and act with all the defensive functions it has, it must be in a harmonious balance, and the good news is that this situation depends exclusively on us, how we eat, what our diet is like, and our habits.

Functions and composition

Among the most important, the interaction with metabolic reactions such as the fermentation of dietary fiber, the transformation of bile acids, the synthesis of vitamin B12 and vitamin K stands out.

In addition, it is crucial for our immunity, as 80% of the immune cells are found in our intestines, therefore, an imbalance of our microbiota will favor the development of infections, but also favors the development of allergies and plays a fundamental role in the development of obesity.

It is known as the second brain; in fact, 50% of dopamine and 95% of serotonin are produced in the intestine. These neurotransmitters promote happiness and well-being, therefore, an imbalance in the microbiota will promote depression, stress and moodiness.

The imbalance of the intestinal microbiota is a direct consequence of bad habits, unbalanced diets that will produce alterations of the immune system, a decrease in basal metabolism, an imbalance of the hormonal axis and an increase in metabolites that promote inflammation (the state before a disease). According to experts, most diseases begin in the intestine, when ‘good’ bacteria are unable to control ‘bad’ bacteria as a result of the imbalance of the microbiota.

Prebiotic and probiotic foods are essential to have a balanced microbiota

Prebiotics

Prebiotics are large molecules present in dietary fiber, as they are fermented in the intestine, they favor the growth of the ‘good’ bacteria of the microbiota. They are not digested and not all fibers have prebiotic activity.

The requirements that these molecules must meet are:

  • They must not be absorbed or degraded.
  • They must develop a bacterial fermentation.
  • They must be selective, favoring the proliferation of ‘good’ bacteria (bifidobacteria and lactobacilli).
  • The foods containing prebiotics include the fructooligosaccharides (maltodextrin, starch, lactulose, pectin) and galactoligosacáridos breast milk.
  • They are usually found in plant-based foods and breast milk.
  • Likewise, they are abundant in garlic, onions, leeks, chicory, artichokes, bananas, apples, honey, oats, soybeans, wheat, legumes, asparagus.
  • We can also supplement with prebiotics such as inulin, which is presented in powder, whose recommended dose is 10 grams per day dissolved in juices or water, oat or soy fiber, which is sold in powder or tablets.
  • In excess, they can cause some intestinal discomfort such as flatulence or diarrhea.

Probiotics

Probiotics are foods that provide living exogenous bacteria to the microbiota. The most familiar are yogurts with live probiotics (not pasteurized) and goat and sheep are the richest in probiotics.

Also great probiotics are kombucha (a fermented tea-based Japanese drink that samurai drank and called it the ‘elixir of life’), raw cheese (not pasteurized), kefir (fermented dairy containing bacteria and yeast), sauerkraut, kimchi (sauerkraut with garlic and pepper, typical in Korea) or miso (fermented soybean paste typical of Japan that they take in the form of soup).

Other foods in which probiotics abound are olives and pickles (they contain fermented vegetables), tempeh (fermented soybeans, typical in Indonesia), microalgae, spirulina, beer, wine or cider (fermented yeasts), although these drinks should be taken in moderation.

We can also supplement with probiotics, but not all of them are worth it. They must meet a series of criteria: scientific evidence (studies that demonstrate effectiveness), safety (they must not become aggressive and harm health), vitality (they must retain their properties after being encapsulated), survival (at least 50% of the microorganisms must reach their destination alive), stability (remain active until the expiration date), suitable strain (the most beneficial), labeled (must contain all the information on the label).

Lactobacillus, saccharomyces, propionibacterium, bifidobacterium, streptococcus salivarius in their appropriate strains and indications are probiotic microorganisms.

They can be taken at any time of the day, better half an hour before meals, with water or food (but not very hot or acidic), the dose should be the one indicated on the package, but it is best to consult with the doctor.

Decalogue of care

The ten requirements to maintain a microbiota in harmonious, healthy balance and that defends us from inflammatory states, diseases and infections, especially in these times covid-19, are:

  1. Eat naturally including pre and probiotics daily.
  2. Get moderate exercise, especially outdoors, walk quickly, dance, ride a bike, tone muscles, at least 20 minutes a day.
  3. Avoid bad stress, build resilience, empathy, positive thoughts.
  4. Quality sleepsleep at least 6 hours a day, without sound or light stimuli, with an adequate temperature and in a ventilated room.
  5. Drink liquids, water, infusions, at least 1.5 liters a day.
  6. Strong breakfast, light lunch and dinner no later than 20:00.
  7. Take care of intestinal transit.
  8. Avoid toxic foods, such as distilled alcohols, saturated fats, industrial pastries, pre-cooked foods with unhealthy ingredients.
  9. Take supplements when needed; for example, after taking antibiotics you have to supplement with probiotics.
  10. Go to the doctor for advice on the best-personalized plan for each of us.
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