What foods restore the intestinal flora? Some of us prefer to not go overboard on medicine, and choose the right nutrition instead.
The intestinal flora has benefits on our general health and plays an essential role in the proper functioning of the digestive system.
Intestinal flora is essential for good digestion, a strong immune system, a good metabolism, and overall physical and mental well-being. Foods rich in fiber, probiotics, medicinal plants, and honey will all greatly contribute to a healthy gut, as will avoiding sugar and prepacked meals.
Moreover, an imbalance of the intestinal flora can lead to many disorders in our bodies and that’s why it’s important to take care of it!
There are simple and natural solutions to maintain the balance of the intestinal flora, notably by adopting a good diet.
Read on to understand how the intestinal flora works and what to eat to keep it happy.
Table of Contents
- 1 What foods restore the intestinal flora? Introduction
- 2 What is the intestinal flora?
- 3 Which foods are best for taking care of intestinal flora?
- 4 What foods should I avoid?
- 5 What foods restore the intestinal flora? Conclusion
What foods restore the intestinal flora? Introduction
What is the intestinal flora?
First let’s define intestinal flora before discussing the different foods to maintain a good one.
Also called intestinal microbiota, it represents all the micro-organisms and good bacteria in our digestive tract which take refuge in the small intestine and the colon.
Some bacteria are beneficial to health, such as lactobacilli, while others such as salmonella are harmful.
The organisms that make up the intestinal flora have many functions. They improve intestinal transit and contribute to the good functioning of the digestive system. In addition, they optimize the fermentation of undigested food residues.
These organisms also facilitate and accelerate the assimilation of nutrients by the body.
The intestinal microbiota also plays a protective role. Called the intestinal immune system, it fights pathogenic bacteria and stimulates metabolism. It helps eliminate and prevent excess weight.
Related: For a more in-depth explanation of how our gut keeps us healthy, check out our other article What is the role of the intestinal microbiota in the maintenance of health?
If the flora is unbalanced, bad bacteria multiply rapidly and gain strength. As a result, they will weaken the intestinal mucosa, and the intestine will have difficulty performing its functions.
Consequently, an imbalance of our intestinal microbiota will favor the development of many intestinal disorders. It will also deteriorate our immune defenses.
And this is exactly why we need to prevent such an imbalance.
Which foods are best for taking care of intestinal flora?
Several factors can affect the balance of the intestinal flora, such as food contaminants, stress and taking antibiotics.
Here is a list of some of the foods to consider:
Foods rich in fiber
A diet rich in fiber, consisting of fruits and vegetables, helps maintain the flora balance.
There are two types of dietary fiber:
- Soluble fibers: whose function is to feed the good bacteria. They are found in potatoes, carrots, citrus fruits, pears, asparagus, grapes, berries, and artichokes.
- Insoluble fibers: which are good allies against constipation. They are found in whole grains, legumes, and fermented cabbage. For example, choose whole wheat, kidney beans, lentils, sauerkraut, or white beans.
Consuming foods high in insoluble fiber should be limited for people with irritable bowel syndrome as they may cause bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Foods rich in probiotics
A probiotic is defined as a living bacterium present in the body. Its role is to improve intestinal flora and boost the immune system.
It is therefore recommended to increase the number of these probiotic bacteria.
These good bacteria are mainly present in:
- Dairy products
- Some cheeses such as Gruyere, Camembert and Roquefort
- The olives
- Smoked fish
- Soy sauce.
If you take antibiotics, the natural probiotics will decrease. This type of medication kills not only bad bacteria but also good ones. This is why it is essential to eat foods rich in probiotics.
Medicinal plants beneficial for the intestinal flora
To improve the components of the intestinal wall but also to boost immunity, consuming certain plants with therapeutic virtues is also recommended.
Bulbous plants used daily
Let’s mention the case of ginger, which has potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Garlic, onions, and leeks are also excellent sources of probiotics.
Medicinal plants with the power to detoxify the body and digestive tract
These plants are the roots of dandelion, fennel, black radish, and burdock.
The latter has purifying properties.
Honey is an excellent ally of the immune system and intestinal flora. Its antibacterial role is its main asset. Honey helps to rebalance the intestinal flora by expelling agents.
It is also considered a powerful natural antioxidant that can stimulate the production of many good-quality bacteria.
Honey also promotes the functioning of antibodies which are the best allies to eliminate viruses and bad germs that cause diseases.
In addition, honey is also an excellent alternative to sugar.
Green tea and kombucha
Doing a detox from time to time can help you improve your intestinal flora. You could do this by drinking green tea regularly, a very beneficial drink for the digestive system.
If you’re not into green tea, try kombucha, a fizzy drink made from the fermentation of bacteria and yeast grown in sweet tea.
What foods should I avoid?
It is advisable to limit the consumption of red meat to prevent intestinal disorders and ensure the balance of the intestinal microbiota. Indeed, red meat favors the proliferation of bad bacteria.
Foods high in sugar are also not recommended because they can damage the microbiota and cause other health problems.
What foods restore the intestinal flora? Conclusion
It is possible to take care of your microbiota by eating right with a good combination of foods.
A balanced diet is the best ally to stay healthy, so it is essential to know how to combine the right foods to stimulate the intestinal flora on a daily basis.
For example, for a balanced plate, put a reasonable portion of animal proteins, lots of green vegetables, and fermented foods such as cheese that will promote the regeneration of the microbiota.
By adopting a balanced diet, you can also avoid other pathologies such as obesity, diabetes, and various forms of cancer.
Did you know? The intestinal flora is also affected by our genetics! Read up all about it in our other post Microbiome and genetics: How our genes shape our gut bacteria