Constantly exhausted, tired, sickly, and plagued by digestive problems? Then the cause could be in the intestines. Also if you have problems with losing weight despite a strict diet, the intestinal bacteria might be involved.
Disturbed intestinal flora – reason for many complaints
The intestine is a completely underestimated organ and plays a decisive role in whether we go through life vital and balanced. The composition of our intestinal flora influences health, mood and even weight. The intestine is home to a large number of bacteria – known collectively as the microbiome – which influence our immune system to such an extent that scientists even call it a “superorgan”. And this is no exaggeration, if you take a look at the list of ailments and diseases that a disturbed intestinal flora can cause:
- Irritable bowel
- Skin Diseases
- Chronic fatigue and exhaustion
- Rheumatic diseases
- Susceptibility to infections
The intestine and the psyche
Not only physical complaints can often be traced back to a disturbed intestinal flora, but also psychological problems are directly linked to intestinal health. A classic example: stress, overload and lack of sleep damage our intestines. But also problems in the partnership or quarrels with friends or family can literally hit us on the stomach and bring the intestine out of step. Often, the constant grumbling after eating, sluggishness and exhaustion is accepted as “normal” or fought with stimulants. Fatal, because in this way the intestine is weakened more and more – a creeping process that slowly but steadily impairs the overall well-being more and more.
Slim with intestine?!
Even if losing weight may not work despite a strict diet, you should take care of your intestinal health. Because it is proven that the bacterial composition of people with overweight differs greatly from that of a healthy person who is not suffering from overweight. If an imbalance prevails – for example caused by an unhealthy nutrition and way of life, the taking of certain medicines such as antibiotics, missing movement, alcohol or stress – the good germs are pushed back and the bad ones multiply over the measures. Since the intestinal bacteria influence the utilization of food, this can lead to the fact that one person draws much more energy from the food than another. With the correct nutrition and way of life it applies to feed therefore the “good” bacteria in the intestine and to program the intestine in such a way on “slim” and “healthy”.
10 tips for a healthy intestine
- Use of probiotics and fermented foods
- Avoid sugar, fast food, and industrially produced food with preservatives and other additives
- Avoid alcohol, nicotine and other drugs
- Exercise regularlty – ideally in the fresh air
- Include plenty of dietary fibre in the diet
- Drink plenty of water.
- Eat slowly and chew carefully.
- Consume regularly high-quality fats with a high content of omega-3 fatty acids (linseed oil, rapeseed oil or walnuts)
- Polyphenol-containing foods such as raw cocoa or high-quality coffee also provide food for the good intestinal bacteria to multiply.
- Targeted relaxation and stress reduction – for example with yoga, Pilates, meditation or relaxation exercises.
Leaky gut syndrome – permeable bowel
The importance of intestinal balance is also evident in the case of Leaky Gut Syndrome. Due to a disturbed balance of the bacteria, (foreign) substances enter the body through the barrier, which do not belong there: The intestine literally becomes impermeable (English: “leaky”), which activates the immune system. This then causes small inflammatory reactions in the body to keep the intruders in check. The immune system is active non-stop, which makes us more susceptible to pathogens and can also have a negative effect on our mood. Body fat is also stored faster. A small vicious circle.
How does a permeable bowel develop?
On the one hand, our modern lifestyle with a lot of stress, industrially modified food and numerous environmental toxins often leads to an imbalance in the unstable ecosystem of intestinal bacteria. However, other factors can also lead to a bacterial colonization of the intestine, among others:
- Cesarean section births: Since the newborn child does not get an initial supply of intestinal bacteria by the vaginal milieu of the mother at birth.
- Stress and lack of sleep
- Malnutrition (too many carbohydrates, sugar and fats)
In order to restore the balance in the intestine, it is advisable to avoid incompatible foods for the time being. Particular attention should be paid to incompatibilities that have not yet been noticed – usually dairy products and wheat products. Also chamfered has itself as entrance into the nourishing conversion in many cases worked satisfactorily.
Not so long ago, relatively little was known about the bacteria in the intestine, which are collectively known as intestinal microbiomes. Today we know that the intestine with its countless bacteria is a real superorgan and is largely responsible for whether we can go through life healthy and vital. Reason enough to take a closer look and learn how intestinal bacteria control our immune system and how we can support them!
The intestine regulates digestion and immune defence
Did you know that the intestine is the largest internal organ of the human being? It grows to a length of up to eight meters and with its millions of villi, bulges and folds inside the multiply wound tube, it gives a surface area of 400 to 500 square meters. And with good reason, because its large surface area allows it to optimally absorb all the useful nutrients from our food. At the same time, however, it also provides a surface for numerous pathogens to attack. One of its main tasks is therefore to defend itself against bacteria and germs, for which it has around 80 percent of our defense cells at its disposal. This makes the intestine the main player in the immune system.
Immune cells in the intestine keep bacteria in check
Immune cells in the intestine have the important task of differentiating between good and bad foreign substances. Useful food components, microorganisms and the body’s own cells are supposed to tolerate them, but to fend off pathogens. They get support thereby from numerous intestine bacteria, which stand quasi in constant exchange with the immune cells. The intestine bacteria train and stimulate the immune system over signals, so that it can differentiate between good and bad foreign bodies and react accordingly. Without microbiom the immune system would be lost. For the complex system to function properly, the intestinal flora must be in balance.
How the composition of the microbiome determines health
The microbiome refers to the totality of all microorganisms, the “intestinal microbiome” consists of several hundred species of bacteria, which can vary greatly from person to person. Nutrition, fitness, lifestyle affect it just as much as taking medication or negative habits such as smoking or alcohol. A diverse colonization is crucial for a healthy intestinal flora, but if the balance is disturbed, inflammations and diseases are promoted.
What we can do for our microbiome
With our way of life we can influence the composition of our intestinal bacteria both positively and negatively. These things have a positive effect on the intestinal microbiome:
- Dietary fibre: Whoever wants to do something good for his intestines should rely on foods rich in dietary fiber. They promote the colonization of the intestine with Bifidobacteria, which displace various types of bacteria that cause illness. 30 gram ballast materials should be it per day, most lie far under it.
- Probiotics: Probiotic microorganisms reach the intestine and support the intestinal inhabitants already resident there by displacing unwanted germs and preventing the penetration of harmful bacteria. Probiotics are contained in lactic acid products such as yoghurt, buttermilk or sauerkraut.
- Breastfeeding: Already at birth the individual colonization of the microbiome is determined. And the first two years of life are also crucial in the development of a healthy microbiome. The oligosaccharides contained in breast milk have a particularly positive effect.
- Movement: Regular exercise also has a positive effect on the microbiome. Exercise in the fresh air is ideal – and even a walk through the park has positive effects.
This harms the microbiome
- Highly processed food: Fast food, convenience products and other industrially produced meals are usually bursting with salt, fat and artificial additives, which are all poison to our good intestinal bacteria. That’s why we prefer to cook fresh – keyword “Clean Eating” – and use them as snacks with fruit and vegetables.
- Alcohol and nicotine: stimulants, especially alcohol and nicotine, damage the microbiome considerably and should be reduced as much as possible.
- Antibiotics: Especially antibiotics are poison for the microbiome, because they not only kill harmful pathogens but also a large part of the useful bacteria in the intestine. This brings the intestinal flora out of balance and inflammatory reactions are promoted. Therapy with antibiotics should therefore only be carried out if there is no gentler treatment option from a medical point of view.
- Cesarean section: Caesarean section children have up to three times less bacteria density in the intestine, as the initial colonization of the intestinal microbiome in the newborn is prevented. Researchers suspect that this could promote diseases in later childhood and adulthood.