An organism lives in and around our body. A natural force of good bacteria that lives on and in your body and which you unconsciously take care of. An organism of countless bacteria and microbiota. The largest part, namely 95%, lives in your gastrointestinal tract and 80% of that microbiota lives at the bottom of the large intestine. You can see your gut flora as your own ‘ecosystem’.
How does your intestinal flora develop?
Your intestinal flora is given by your mother at birth and mainly develops in the first three years of life. The way of giving birth and whether or not breast-feeding determines a large part. After that, the intestinal flora is determined by your lifestyle, dietary habits, the culture you live in, how much you exercise and rest, but also by things like stress. Your intestinal flora is as unique as a fingerprint, on the understanding that your intestinal flora is subject to change.
The richer and more diverse your gut flora throughout life, the more resistant you are to external threats. The intestinal flora represents an ecosystem that is continuously tested by many factors such as an unbalanced diet, stress, antibiotic use or unwanted visitors in your body.
Lots of bacteria
In a healthy gut, the microbiota consists of about 99% good and useful bacteria and 1% of harmful bacteria. Together these are countless bacteria, as many as a hundred trillion, with about ten thousand different unique species. More than ten times the number of cells and one hundred and fifty times the number of DNA. With an estimated weight of two to three kilos!
When is your gut healthy?
If you have a healthy intestinal flora, the beneficial and harmful bacteria are in balance. The inside of the intestinal wall is completely filled with good bacteria. They ensure proper food intake and proper functioning of the intestines and help with the development of the immune system. Because the intestinal wall is completely occupied, there is no room for the harmful bacteria to multiply. The importance of healthy gut and bacteria between the host and gut flora is essential to optimally carry out metabolism and immune functions and to prevent the development of minor to major problems. A healthy and varied diet is therefore extremely important. In addition, exercise and rest, drinking enough water and proper breathing are also important for a healthy intestinal flora.
Symptoms of a disturbed intestinal flora
Abdominal complaints may seem harmless at first, but before you know it, they greatly affect your life. If your intestinal flora is disturbed, abdominal pain is often the first sign. You can also notice it in the shape, smell or color of your stool, your bowel movements that change, a bloated stomach, fatigue, poorer skin, maybe the condition of your hair or your nails is less. But often you also just have a ‘GUT FEELING’ that something is not right.
Causes that negatively affect your intestinal flora
Antibiotics, wrong diet and drinking pattern, irregularity, obesity, laxatives / diet pills, heavy metals, surgery and stress. Try to avoid stress! Your gut is called your second brain because there is a direct connection. The brain-gut axis. Stress such as tension, nervousness, disaster, it all has a direct effect on the intestines. So that’s your GUT FEELING’.
Causes that positively influence your intestinal flora
Our distant ancestors were herbivores by nature. The word ‘flora’ therefore stands for plant, but scientists prefer to use the term gut microbiota. Your gut bacteria are nourished by the food you ingest. You can strengthen your intestinal flora yourself through several things. If you are really talking about food for a healthy intestines, then you should of course eat a variety, lots of vegetables and enough fruit. Eat broccoli or an artichoke more often because they contain a lot of vegetable fibers that are super food for your good bacteria. Or how about an avocado? Very useful because of the fiber and fatty acid content. Or a coconut, which is secretly a fruit, but has 30% saturated fats with a lot of lauric acid. And that is good for your immune system!
Also don’t forget to chew well. By chewing well, the food is better mixed with saliva, so that the nutrients can be better absorbed by your body. If you like to eat meat, make sure this is honest meat from the wild.
The magic word is balance!
So always provide good nutrition to keep your intestines healthy, eat a varied diet and drink plenty of water. Just like the earth, your body is made up of 70% water. Water is life! Lifestyle adjustments can also strengthen the intestinal flora. More exercise, more regularity, rest and relaxation and having a stable life.
Also check your stool
Your stool can already give you a good indication of whether your intestinal flora is healthy. The University of Bristol created a stool scale in the 1990s that is divided into seven categories.
Type 1: Loose hard droppings
Type 2: Like a sausage, but lumpy
Type 3: Like a sausage, but with cracks on the outside
Type 4: Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft
Type 5: Soft droppings with clear edges (easy to excrete)
Type 6: Soft bits with ragged edges, a mushy discharge
Type 7: Watery, no solid bits. Completely liquid
Types 1 and 2 indicate constipation , 3 and 4 are the “ideal stools, with the richest intestinal flora”. Types 5–7 have fewer bacterial species and are therefore more likely to develop inflammation.