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A word I’ve noticed being constantly thrown around lately is microbiota otherwise known as gut flora. Have you noticed the same? This is because there have been more and more studies about it and evidence shows that many health problems, even serious diseases, originate in the intestines. Many of these diseases could be prevented if we had optimal gut health, thanks to microbiota.
So, What is Microbiota?
Microbiota are non-harmful bacteria that live in the intestine, in fact, they are beneficial to our health! They help digest food better thus helping us to also absorb nutrients better. They’re essential in synthesizing vitamin K and some complex B vitamins. Good bacteria promote a healthy immune system, protect us from disease, detoxify the body, and even help us to maintain a healthy weight. That is, as long as the bacteria in our bodies are the good ones.
Which brings us to bad bacteria, they are the ones that cause inflammation and promote obesity and chronic diseases. Taking care of our bodies’ microorganisms is very important. They tend to be very sensitive to antibiotics – which destroy them – and depending on what we eat and how we lead our lives, they can regenerate periodically.
How Can We Take Care of Our Microbiota?
Nothing changes overnight. However, these tips will help you to have an environment that is healthy for your gut.
- Avoid foods that cause problems: wheat, gluten, sugar, yeast, processed foods, fast food, soy, and modified corn are the ones that usually negatively affect most people. Surprised? None of these are considered healthy. One reason is because they promote bad bacteria which feed on the starches when the food is broken down during the digestive process.
- Eat natural fresh foods like fruit, vegetables, and good fats. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, chard, and good fats like avocado, chia, flaxseed, walnuts, and coconut all promote a healthy gut, reduce inflammation in the gut, and act as prebiotics.
- House and cultivate good bacteria through food. Probiotics such as artisan (homemade) yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha are all naturally fermented foods that host good bacteria. By eating them, we transfer those good bacteria to our gut, promoting a healthy microbiota aka gut flora.
- Chew your food well. It seems these days that we’re programmed to go full throttle: work more, restless, eat quickly, walk and so on. We’ve forgotten the importance of taking our time and being in the moment. Chewing is the first step in digestion and, by swallowing our food almost whole, we cause bad bacteria to then be able to feed on it, causing inflammation and poor absorption of nutrients.
- Rest as needed. Stress and bad sleeping habits greatly affect the digestive organs, which need to regenerate and detoxify during sleep. Sleep is also important to keep our digestive hormones balanced and healthy.
Keeping our microbiota healthy is keeping ourselves healthy. We simply do this by spending more time outdoors, getting some exercise, controlling our stress levels, and lastly but most importantly, nourishing our bodies the way they should be.