Surely on more than one occasion you have heard about the intestinal flora and how important it is to protect it to enjoy good health. Well, what is commonly known as intestinal flora, is what in scientific terms is known as the intestinal microbiota. The meaning of this term is basically a (huge) collection of microorganisms that live in the intestines.
The gut microbiota is made up of trillions of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even parasites. Among the functions of the microbiota are that of absorb calcium and iron, produces energy and protects us from invasion from other bacteria and germs that can become pathologies. In addition to fulfilling various functions on the development of the immune system.
What is the gut microbiota and how is it formed
The gut microbiota is completely different in each person, a unique composition that is formed during childbirth. The mother transfers all kinds of microorganisms at the time of delivery, through the vagina and stool when it comes to a vaginal delivery. Or microorganisms that are in the environment when it comes to a cesarean delivery. That is, the microbiota begins to form from the moment of birth.
However, at that moment begins a process that will take years to complete. During the first 3 years of life, the microorganisms that make up the intestinal microbiota diversify. And until adulthood this diversification and stabilization will continue, which it will deteriorate and degenerate as it reaches maturity. The functions of the microbiota are essential and therefore it is very important to improve and protect it throughout life.
The functions of the microbiota for human health are fundamental, in fact, it is considered as a functional organ of the body. This composition of microorganisms works in conjunction with the intestine and it fulfills four great functions.
- Facilitate digestion: helps the intestine to absorb nutrients like sugars, vitamins or essential fatty acids, among others.
- It is essential in the development of the digestive system: During the first stage of infancy and in babies, the microbiota is still weak and the digestive system immature. Therefore, special care must be taken with bacteria that can enter the baby's system through food, water or contact with dirty surfaces.
- Forms a protective barrier: versus other bacteria that threaten organisms coexist in the human body.
- Strengthen defenses: the intestinal microbiota helps strengthen the immune system, which protects us from bacteria and viruses.
How to improve the microbiota
There are several ways to improve and strengthen the intestinal microbiota, since it is about creating a kind of influence on this community of microorganisms, improving their health so that they can fulfill their functions correctly. The way to improve intestinal flora es the sum of the following guidelines:
- feeding: The consumption of natural foods, free of harmful substances that can damage the health of the microbiota. Follow, continue a varied, balanced, moderate diet where natural foods abound, is the best way to maintain health at all levels.
- Probiotics: are foods or supplements that contain live microorganisms that serve to improve and maintain the intestinal flora.
- Prebiotics: in this case it is food with a high fiber content that provide nutrients for the intestinal microbiota.
The body is full of living microorganisms that live in different parts of the body, such as the tongue, ears, mouth, vagina, skin, lungs, or urinary tract. These beings are there because they have a specific and essential function in each case and for to enjoy good health it is necessary to protect the bacteria in the body. Follow a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, as well as foods with soluble fiber, since it favors the growth and activity of the microorganisms of the intestinal microbiota.