The intestinal microbiota plays a decisive role in the health of the digestive system, and of the organism as a whole. It is made up of 10 million bacteria and its balance is essential for our health.
On 29 May, the World Digestive Health Day. If last year they focused on the importance of the intestinal microbiome, this year, they want to raising awareness of another pandemic, that of obesity. But what does this problem have to do with gut health? Internal belly fat can affect the functioning of our immune system.
When adipocytes can't accumulate any more fat, they start to release molecules that promote tissue inflammation and therefore, there may be a constant activation of the immune system.. This leads to an increased likelihood of autoimmune disease. In these cases, our immune system is not triggered by an external threat but by a misinterpretation of the adipocyte response.
The increase of obesity in Spain is causing a increase in associated chronic diseases. This pathology affects antibody secretion and cellular immunity. In addition to obesity, there are other aspects that affect our intestinal health.
How does the microbiota work and what are its functions?
The microbiota does not spread homogeneously throughout the intestine. In the stomach, the density of bacteria is minimal. In fact, the highest concentration is found in the colon. During the first months of life and after 70 years of age, the greatest diversity of species inhabiting it occurs.
One of the most important functions it performs is that of facilitating the digestion of food. The microbiota ferments them in the colon, providing short-chain fatty acids. It also acts as a protective barrier against dangerous bacteria, preserving the proper functioning of the body. Last but not least, the gut microbiota stimulates the immune system.
Gut health: irritable bowel syndrome
The irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder which affects the large intestine. It can be caused by a wide variety of factors, such as stress, or a serious infection. Certain abnormalities in the nervous system can also cause great discomfort when the abdomen is stretched by stool or gas.
Although symptoms may vary from patient to patient, the most common symptoms are pain in the abdominal area, bloating and a change in the shape and colour of the stool. More serious signs include nocturnal diarrhoearectal bleeding, unexplained vomiting and weight loss.
This disease is more common in women under 50 years of age with a history of irritable bowel syndrome. Treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms and improving the patient's quality of life. It is advisable to acquire certain new habits such as eating foods with a high fibre content, drinking plenty of water, sleeping well and exercising.
Most common intestinal discomforts due to bad habits
You can suffer from intestinal discomfort, such as bloating and flatulence, if you engage in a number of bad habits. One of the worst is consuming substances or foods that are poorly tolerated by the microbiota. We are talking about industrial pastries. It is a food with no nutritional value and a high saturated fat content.
In addition, it is important that you follow certain guidelines when it comes to eating. Ideally, you should eat five smaller meals a day in order to facilitating intestinal transit. Take it easy, chewing your food well so that when you swallow your mouthfuls they are well processed.
Fruit and vegetables are indispensable. Nutritionists recommend eating five pieces a day, and if they are in season, so much the better. Although diet is the basis for good bowel health, other factors also play a role, such as, for example, the stress. Stress is one of the most common illnesses nowadays, and if you suffer from it too, it is a good idea to take some herbal tea or a calming supplement and to do some activity such as yoga or meditation.
The health The intestinal flora has a major influence on food digestion and metabolism. It is therefore necessary to take care of it. You should foods with prebiotics to promote the growth and development of bacteria that are beneficial to the body. The probiotics are also very helpful, and are present in fermented foods.