A healthy intestinal flora is important for health and well-being. The intestine plays an important role not only in digestion, but also in the immune system. However, if the intestinal flora is disturbed, many diseases can occur. Consequently, one should try to rebuild and protect them.
This article is intended to give you an understanding of what a disturbed intestinal flora is. Furthermore, we will also go into how it manifests itself and what you could do to counteract a disturbed intestinal flora. In the following you will receive valuable tips and tricks for a healthy intestinal flora and how you can successfully prevent it.
the essentials in brief
- A healthy intestinal flora is essential for our immune system and our body. There are various external and internal factors that can throw this off balance.
- A disturbed intestinal flora invites pathogens into our intestines and harms our well-being. Nevertheless, a disturbed intestinal flora can easily be rebuilt.
- Diet and exercise are important. When it comes to nutrition, care should be taken to consume probiotic and prebiotic foods.
Definition: What is an intestinal flora?
The human colon is home to trillions of bacteria that aid in digestion. The entirety of these intestinal bacteria is called the intestinal flora or microbiome.
The intestinal flora ensures that the nutrients that we absorb also reach the body and produces essential vitamins(1). It is also a barrier against bacteria, fungi and other microscopic crawling creatures.
A healthy intestinal flora helps the immune system to remain strengthened. In addition, the intestinal flora has important tasks such as the production of vitamins and hormones. (Image source: silviarita /Pixabay)
Another important function of the intestinal flora is the defense against pathogenic germs and the elimination of toxins. It also stimulates the immune system, since 80 percent of all immune cells are located in the intestinal mucosa.
In addition to vitamin production, gut bacteria also produce hormones(2) such as serotonin and GABA. These are mood-enhancing and calming. Thus, the intestine also has an effect on your mood and the feeling of hunger. Because the nerve cells that are in the intestine interact with the intestinal flora.
Another beneficial function of gut bacteria is disease protection(3), as good bacteria fill in niches for bad bacteria to fill. The intestinal bacteria defend their habitat, so to speak, and eliminate infections.
However, when gut bacteria go bad, they can make our health worse, such as causing inflammation in the body. It is therefore important for the human body and health to have a healthy and balanced intestinal flora.
Background: What you should know about a disturbed intestinal flora.
Before we deal with the tips and tricks for a healthy intestinal flora, you should read through the background of a disturbed intestinal flora.
In the following section we want to answer these frequently asked questions.
How does a disturbed intestinal flora manifest itself?
Since the intestinal flora consists of different types of bacteria, various internal and external environmental factors can unbalance the intestinal flora. Stress, medication, cigarettes and too little exercise can also put the intestinal flora out of sync. Another important factor is the diet of the intestinal flora, because if it is not balanced and healthy, it can become disturbed.
This means that our immune system is weakened and pathogens can spread easily. Accordingly, there can also be further and worse health consequences, such as inflammation or chronic intestinal diseases. A disturbed intestinal flora can be recognized by impure skin, food intolerance, flu infections or intestinal diseases.
A disturbed intestinal flora weakens the immune system and can have serious consequences. Therefore, pay attention to your diet and be physically active.
If the intestinal flora has been thrown out of balance, it will not regenerate itself. We have to actively help by paying attention to certain things that are good for the intestinal flora and build it up again.
What are symptoms of a disturbed intestinal flora?
If the intestinal flora is disturbed, the immune system deteriorates and this can damage your well-being. In addition, if one does not pay attention to the warning signs, various diseases can also occur.
Possible symptoms are:
- Constipation, diarrhea or bloating(12)
- Allergies and food intolerances(13)
- Skin diseases such as acne or neurodermatitis
- hay fever
- mental illnesses such as depression(11)
- fungal diseases
These symptoms are important indicators of a disturbed intestinal flora and many of the things listed can be prevented with simple tips.
What can you do if the intestinal flora is disturbed?
First of all, it is important that you find out exactly whether your intestinal flora is disturbed. You can do this with your family doctor or with a specialist. Then you can try to optimize your disturbed intestinal flora with the help of nutrition.
Try to only eat foods that are healthy and keep your intestinal flora in balance.
Try to pay attention to what you eat and which foods are good for the intestinal flora. Eat more probiotic foods like yogurt or sauerkraut. You can also take prebiotics such as flaxseed, psyllium and the like to boost your digestion and activate the important bacteria that keep your intestinal flora in balance.
Below we explain exactly what probiotic and prebiotic foods are and what they are good for. These foods are necessary to keep our intestinal flora in balance and to stimulate digestion.
Another important point is that you should also drink enough fluids. Water, mineral water or unsweetened tea is best and you should drink at least 1.5 liters per day. In addition to diet, regular exercise is also important for a healthy intestine. That's why you should also do a bit of exercise to boost your digestion and regenerate the intestinal flora.
How can the intestinal flora be rebuilt?
There are different ways to rebuild the intestinal flora. On the one hand you can do this with the help of an intestinal cleansing or with natural home remedies such as probiotic foods. On the other hand, you can get a probiotic that your specialist doctor recommended or that was recommended to you in the pharmacy.
In order to rebuild the damaged intestinal flora, no complex therapies or drugs are usually required. A varied diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables and regular exercise is enough. This boosts digestion and helps keep your intestinal flora healthy. Below we explain which foods are suitable for a healthy intestinal flora and which are harmful to your intestines.
However, if your intestinal flora is already damaged to such an extent that it cannot be built up by taking probiotic and prebiotic foods, then after consultation with your family doctor, intestinal cleansing can make sense.
Which foods are good for the intestinal flora?
As already mentioned, nutrition plays an important role in a healthy intestinal flora. It is therefore essential to use fresh and natural products to do something good for your intestines.
For a varied diet, you should primarily eat fruit and vegetables, but also dairy products, yeast and fermented products such as sauerkraut. These foods are probiotics and have a health-promoting effect.
Furthermore, high-fiber foods such as whole grain products, flaxseed or vegetables are just as good for a healthy intestinal flora and help with digestion. As a result, you should also distort these products regularly.
Which foods are bad for the intestinal flora?
In addition to the good foods for a healthy intestinal flora, there are also bad foods that are not good for the intestines at all. However, many of these bad foods are consumed in high amounts on a daily basis.
Bad foods include:
|Trans fats (4)||These are formed during industrial processing or when polyunsaturated fatty acids are heated to high temperatures and are used in junk food or as frying fat. When distorted, these enter the body and can promote inflammation throughout the body.|
|Fructose (5.6)||If fructose is consumed in large quantities, this can also trigger an inflammatory reaction in the intestine. This is mainly present in sugar and sweets.|
|Cereals or gluten(7)||Gluten, a protein found in grains, is bad for the gut because it attacks and damages the gut wall.|
|Products from factory farming||These products contain an above-average number of omega-6 fatty acids, which have a pro-inflammatory effect in the body. These products can also contain residues from pesticides, antibiotics, and stressors, which are also bad for the gut and body.(8,9)|
|Alcohol(10)||Alcohol also triggers inflammatory reactions in the small intestine when ingested. It is therefore recommended to consume as little or no alcohol as possible.|
As you can already see from the table, many foods that you consume every day are not good for your body or your intestinal flora. On the one hand, they can be harmful to your intestines if you consume them in large quantities, and on the other hand, your intestines can only digest these foods with difficulty or hardly at all.
So if you want to do something good for your intestinal flora, try to avoid these foods or eat as little as possible. A balanced diet is balm for your intestinal flora and soul.
Which drug is good for building up the intestinal flora?
However, if you decide to use medication to rebuild your intestinal flora, you can have your family doctor prescribe you good probiotics or prebiotics.
If you don't want to see your family doctor, you can also find out about good probiotic medicines at the pharmacy. The specialist staff there can also recommend products that can help you build up your intestinal flora.
How to build up the intestinal flora after an intestinal cleansing?
If the intestinal flora is damaged to such an extent that the build-up of the intestinal flora by taking the probiotics is not sufficient, then after consultation with your family doctor you can take a course of treatment lasting several weeks to cleanse the intestines. The digestive system is detoxified and cleaned.
In the case of an intestinal cleansing, the digestive system is detoxified and the intestinal flora can recover as a result.
Debris, toxins and hardened feces are removed. The harmful intestinal bacteria are deprived of an important basis for life and the intestine can recover a little. By cleaning the intestinal flora, it is weak and needs probiotics and prebiotics to build up. This can be done in the form of a probiotic from the pharmacy or with natural home remedies such as psyllium, flaxseed or healing earth.
After the intestinal cleansing, it is advisable to eat a balanced and healthy diet and to avoid the bad foods mentioned above.
Healthy intestinal flora: The best tips & tricks for a healthy intestinal flora
To avoid a disturbed intestinal flora, you can use these tips and tricks. These can prevent a disturbance of the intestinal flora and can also improve your lifestyle.
These tips and tricks are explained in more detail in the following paragraphs.
Probiotics are living organisms that have a health-promoting effect on the gut. These contain good strains of bacteria that settle in the gut and fight the bad bacteria. It is therefore the food we eat that determines the composition of our intestinal flora. And this, in turn, influences how we use food.
In addition, probiotics help stimulate intestinal movement and produce the important vitamin K. You can find these microorganisms mainly in lactic acid foods.
Here is a list of probiotic foods:
- natural yoghurt
- Apple Cider Vinegar
It is important here that these foods should be consumed in large enough quantities to get into the intestines. Only then can the effect unfold.
The lactic acid bacteria in probiotic foods help build a healthy intestinal flora and strengthen the immune system.
In addition to probiotics, prebiotics are also necessary for a healthy intestinal flora. Prebiotics are fibers that provide high-quality nutrition for the good bacteria in your gut. They are the concentrated feed for the probiotics and give them enough energy.
Dietary fibers are important for a healthy intestinal flora as they serve as food for the microorganisms. Therefore, try to eat as different types of fiber as possible in order to have a diverse microbiome. (Image source: by Dan Gold /Unsplash)
Prebiotics are found in many foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. We have also compiled a list of prebiotic foods for you below.
- whole grain products
- Linseed, psyllium
- cold potatoes
Dietary fibers serve as a food source for the intestinal bacteria and ensure a species-rich microbiome. Certain fibers also contain inulin, which stimulates the growth of beneficial bifidobacteria.
Although fiber improves the intestinal flora, excessive consumption is not very beneficial. Because when the prebiotics are processed by the microorganisms, gases are produced and this can lead to flatulence and abdominal pain.
Healthy intestinal flora through exercise and meditation
In addition to a healthy diet, a healthy lifestyle is also essential for optimal intestinal flora. It is therefore important to exercise regularly in everyday life or during sports. The movement massages the internal organs and the mechanical processing of the food is stimulated by the muscular contractions in the digestive tract.
Sport and meditation are not only important for our psychological well-being, but also for our intestinal flora.
If you want to combine sport and meditation, you can try yoga. Here you move enough and beyond that you bring your spirit into harmony with yourself. Meditation helps to get rid of stress and relaxes all the muscles in the body. In addition, the breathing is much more intense in yoga and helps with meditation.
Another essential point for a healthy intestinal flora is to reduce stress. This can be done through breathing exercises or meditation. Because active methods of relaxation reduce the stress that can hit the intestines.
Taking medication and preparations can also help you to prevent a disturbed intestinal flora. However, you can usually only obtain this through a prescription from a specialist.
Pharmacies also have professionals who can help you choose medications or preparations for a healthy intestinal flora.
These preparations are available in different forms and have a specially composed combination of numerous bacterial cultures with different properties. These are available in either capsule, powder or liquid form.
A disturbed intestinal flora can have unpleasant consequences. Furthermore, stress, too little exercise, medication, cigarettes and the wrong diet can damage the intestinal flora. It is important to know how to build up the intestinal flora and keep it healthy.
A positive aspect is the uncomplicated structure of the intestinal flora. Just a few steps are enough to make it healthy again. This requires a balanced diet, daily exercise units and enough rest. Probiotics and prebiotics are also essential for a healthy intestinal flora. Therefore, try to consume them from your diet at best. Because if your intestinal flora is healthy and intact, your immune system is also strengthened.
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