Tell me what your intestinal flora looks like, and I will tell you if you are in good health… More and more studies show correlations between the composition of our microbiota (more than 1000 microorganisms present along our tube digestive) and our state of health. People with asthma, diabetes or obesity, for example, have different intestinal bacteria than healthy people. So, can we act on our intestinal flora to stay healthy? And how?
The balance of our intestinal flora greatly affects our health, so in this article, we give you all the tricks to preserve and stay in shape this winter.
1. Fruits and vegetables at will, for fiber
Dietary fiber is our ally because it protects our microbiota from pathogenic bacteria. They are of two types: soluble fibers (citrus, carrots, zucchini, potatoes…) that will feed the good bacteria in our colon and insoluble fiber (cereals, cabbages, legumes…) that absorb water in large quantities and are useful in case of constipation. Conclusion: there is no limit on fruits! For people with irritable bowel syndrome (bloating, abdominal pain, alternating diarrhea and constipation), be careful not to consume too much insoluble fiber, which can be irritating.
2. Bet on probiotics…
Consumed regularly and in sufficient quantity, probiotics are living bacteria that boost our intestinal flora. Naturally present in our body, they are brought in part by food. In people who often get sick or have digestive problems, dietary supplements enriched with probiotics can give a boost. Supplementation is to be discussed on a case-by-case basis with your doctor or pharmacist. "Probiotics are a big family grouping different strains. Sometimes you have to fumble a bit before finding what is good for each person," says Dr. Pascale Modai, nutritionist. Taking probiotics (ultra-yeast in particular) is also recommended in conjunction with antibiotics, known to destroy bacteria (the bad, but also good) and weaken our intestinal flora.
3. … and on prebiotics
To consume probiotics is not enough, it is necessary to provide them with energy: it is the role of the prebiotics, which will allow the good intestinal bacteria to multiply. "For a balanced intestinal flora, you need good bacteria in quality and number," says Dr. Modai. A cure of prebiotics can be useful after a cure of probiotics, in order to recolonize the intestinal flora in good bacteria.
4. Control your stress level
We have long suspected the stress of affecting our intestinal balance, with symptoms such as stomachaches, diarrhea… Recently, research has shown what was only an intuition. Dr. Michael Gershon (Columbia University) and many other researchers have identified a "second brain" in our digestive tract. It would even appear that 95% of serotonin, the hormone involved in the management of emotions, is produced in the intestine. As a result, anything that can help us to relieve stress is good for our intestinal flora and therefore for our immunity. Meditation, yoga, sophrology, sport… Everyone has to choose the activity that suits them best.
5. Yogurt to the rescue
"The most important thing is natural yogurts because they are full of good bacteria for our intestinal flora. No matter the brand," says nutritionist Dr. Modai. "Why not yogurts enriched in probiotics or bifidus, but beware, they are often fattier and their effectiveness is not necessarily superior to lambda yogurt," she adds. According to a meta-analysis of 450,000 people published by a Harvard team in early December 2014, yogurt consumption is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Encouraging results!