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Caring for your intestinal flora

29 May 2018
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Come Spring, our digestive tract demands lighter fare. What if we took the opportunity to look after our microbiota?

Upon the publication of Giulia Enders’ bestseller Gut: the inside story of our body’s most under-rated organ, numerous studies explored the topic of intestinal flora and microbiota and have examined the influence of the billions of bacteria on our overall health. This “second brain” is developed in early childhood and is based on nutrients, genes and environmental influences. It consists of micro-organisms (fungi, bacteria and parasites) whose main tasks are to protect us from pathogenic bacteria, aid digestion and to produce vitamins. This army which never sleeps, has an influence on our weight, our mood and appetite, sleep and the predisposition towards certain illnesses or allergies. Therefore, it’s important to adopt a varied diet, rich in fibre, which guarantees a great diversity of bacteria, as advised by scientist Rasnik K. Singh, scientist of the U.C.L.A (1).

 

Beneficial fibres

Present in whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables (dry and fresh), fibres are microscopic pieces of undigested cells which can ferment and aid gut movement or form a gel which protects the intestinal wall from harmful substances. Rye is at the fore, followed by wheat and oat bran, coconut, dried figs, dates, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and pistachios. Lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas and soy beans are a good source of fibre and play an important role in the TAKINOA grain salads.

In terms of fruit, raspberries are the champions, followed by quince, khaki, persimmon, currants, black currants, blackberries, banana, kiwi, plums, cranberries and pears. Some of these fruits are part of the TAKINOA «Quatre Fois Tout» smoothie, the super food juice «Capoeira» and the fruit juice «Pink Lady». Artichokes, leeks, fennel, celery and avocado are vegetables with a high fibre content, as is kale, which is part of one of the TAKINOA wraps. The meals can also be enriched by kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and miso which can aid the intestinal flora with useful bacteria, last but not least, the superspices such as cinnamon, ginger, curcuma and curry shouldn’t be forgotten.

 

Take note

Many foods, products or substances can limit the diversity of the microbiota, and thus reducing its regular function. The intestinal wall may then become more permeable, presenting an open door to pathogens. This is especially the case, if we overdo it with processed foods, white sugar, sweeteners, GMOs, meat from industrially raised livestock and alcohol.

 

Get some exercise

Recently, scientist Jeffrey Woods and his team from the University of Illinois were able to prove, that physical activity affects the quality of the gut microbiota. Sporty people have more and more diverse bacteria than people who are mostly seated. So, come on, grab your sneakers!

Sabrina Faetanini

 

Sources:

1) Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and implications for human health : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5385025

2) Exercise changes gut microbial composition independent of diet : https://blogs.illinois.edu/view/6367/586206

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