Intestinal bacterial flora: why so important?
One of the main roles of the intestinal bacterial flora is to protect us from viruses, bacteria and parasites through naturally releasing antibiotics, called bacteriocins. This can already make us understand how important their activity is to our body, acting just as a barrier against external agents that could attack our health.
Another very important function is that, together with gastric, pancreatic and bile juices, they participate in the digestion of foods through the production of digestive bacterial enzymes. In practice, they produce substances that make it possible to break up the food we ingest and assimilate nutrients that would not otherwise be taken.
Their deficiency can cause many disorders, including weakening of the immune system, predisposition to allergies and intolerances, susceptibility to coughing and candida. So who are the enemies of intestinal bacterial flora? Antibiotic abuse – primarily steroid anti-inflammatories; foods stored with sorbates and sulphur dioxide (look at labels, you can find them in the ingredients list) because they destroy our bacteria; the abuse of fried, overly spicy and salty foods. Not to be underestimated, then, the sedentary ness and the habit of consuming meals in a hasty way.
My advice to keep intestinal bacterial flora in good condition is to always prefer foods rich in soluble fibers: vegetables, such as fiber chicory, asparagus, artichokes and jerusalem artichokes, based on inulin (prebiotic fibers, in other words food for bacteria); legumes; dried fruits and fermented foods, such as yogurt. Fibers are an excellent ally for our intestinal bacterial flora, and it is interesting to know that the more numerous species of bacteria, the healthier a person will be.