Why is a Healthy Intestine So Important?
The microbes in the intestine train the human immune system and keep pathogens in the digestive tract in check. This works best when there are many intestinal bacteria in the gut. In a healthy intestine, this can be up to 1000 different species of bacteria.
A weakened intestine weakens the immune system and vice versa, a weakened immune system can also cause digestive problems.
The Intestinal Immune System
The so-called gut-associated lymphoid immune system (GALT) is part of the lymphatic system. It specifically marks and destroys foreign substances already in the intestine. 70% to 80% of human immune cells are located in the GALT and produce antibodies against pathogens.
At the same time, the gut-associated immune system (GALT) must also tolerate the body’s own cells, nutrients, and microorganisms of the intestinal flora. The information learned in the gut is passed on to other defense centers in the body via the blood and lymphatic systems. In most cases, a healthy intestine simultaneously stands for a strong immune system.
- Tips for a Healthy Gut
- What Harms the Intestine?
- Listening to the Rhythm of the Gut
- Dietary Fibers Against Constipation
- Healthy Intestinal Bacteria: Intestinal Cleansing with Probiotics and Prebiotics
- When to See a Doctor with Intestinal Complaints?
- How the Food You Eat Affects Your Gut? – Video
- How To Improve Your Gut Health? – FAQ
Tips for a Healthy Gut
Eating healthy food protects the intestines. While this is not a panacea for chronic bowel disease, it often relieves symptoms and prevents new flare-ups.
Rich in dietary fiber – a bowel-healthy diet
Dietary fiber is an important food source for the valuable microorganisms in our intestines, and thus maintains a favorable bacterial balance. Dietary fiber swells in the intestines and increases stool volume. This shortens the time that the stool remains in the intestine.
Foods particularly rich in fiber are Whole grain cereal products, flaxseed, psyllium, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Twenty-five grams of fiber should be consumed by everyone per day. With a diet rich in fiber, more harmful substances are excreted.
Drink Plenty and Eliminate Harmful Substances
Water and unsweetened tea are excellent ways to drink enough during the day. When it comes to water, still water is more suitable because it puts less strain on the intestines than carbonated water.
Two liters per day are ideal. Then, dissolved harmful substances are also transported out of the body more easily and quickly.
Healthy Fats are Good for the Gut
Unsaturated fatty acids protect against colon cancer. They are found in rapeseed, safflower, and olive oil, for example.
Animal fats should only be used sparingly.
The polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, such as those in fish oil, are an exception.
Healthy Intestinal Flora Through Sufficient Exercise
People who get plenty of exercises stimulate their metabolism and intestinal activity. Even a daily walk helps and is an important measure if you have a tendency to constipation.
Endurance sports such as jogging, walking, cycling, or swimming are particularly recommended. Studies say that regular exercise can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
Stress Harms Gut Health
Stress is bad for people. The intestine, brain, and digestive tract are closely connected. Many nerve cells are located in the intestine. Hormones are also produced there.
However, stress can bring unrest to the digestive tract. Indisposition, diarrhea, flatulence, or constipation are the result.
Sufficient sleep helps the body to regenerate at night and to cope better with stress.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain abundant secondary plant compounds that are thought to prevent colon cancer. The plant substances are particularly found in Brussels sprouts, broccoli, tomatoes, onions, citrus fruits, and legumes. Three portions of vegetables and two portions of fruit are recommended daily.
Avoid Ready-Made and Fatty Foods
Heavily processed foods and convenience products should be avoided. They often contain additives that not everyone can tolerate.
Natural foods, on the other hand, are free of unknown additives.
Eat Only as Much as Necessary
If it tastes good, people like to eat more than necessary. However, this means more work for the intestines. It is, therefore, better to eat smaller portions on a regular basis. This makes digestion easier for the intestines.
Sour Makes Bacteria Happy
Probiotics are living microorganisms that help maintain or restore a healthy balance in the intestines. Probiotics are found in kefir, natural yogurt, apple cider vinegar, miso, kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut.
What Harms the Intestine?
Diet has a great influence on the well-being of the intestine. The following should rather be avoided:
Too many simple sugars from white flour and refined sugar. Gut bacteria love easily digestible carbohydrates. But this also causes the intestinal bacteria that break down the simple sugars to multiply more quickly and crowd out the specialists for the complicated sugars.
However, the most diverse intestinal flora possible is the basis for healthy digestion.
Avoid too much cured or smoked meat and highly processed sausages. These foods have landed on the list of carcinogens.
In moderation, however, there is no danger. The guideline is 500 grams per week.
Antibiotics destroy not only the harmful target bacteria but also the beneficial intestinal bacteria. After antibiotic therapy, it takes up to half a year for the intestines to regenerate.
Margarine, mayonnaise, and lard contain saturated fatty acids and strain the intestines. Better tolerated are unsaturated fatty acids.
Food for Healthy Intestinal Flora
The intestine is particularly active in the morning. That’s why a high-fiber diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes is best for it. All this prevents painful constipation. Since the metabolic process slows down at the end of the day, there should be light food in the evening. Fish, poultry, and salad are recommended here.
Take Time for Eating
Take your time when eating. Chew thoroughly and do not gulp, so that not too much air gets into the intestine.
Give Your Intestines Time Off
You should also give your intestines regular rest periods. According to experts, eating three meals a day is optimal. There should be four to five hours between each meal. Don’t go overboard, but eat only as much as you need to feel full. Longer meal breaks – keyword interval fasting – or regular fasting days allow the intestine to recover additionally.
The menu should include fiber-rich swelling agents such as psyllium, flaxseed, or bran several times a week, as these help digestion along. Dried fruit such as figs, dates, and prunes also stimulate digestive activity.
An Apple a Day
Apples are also good for the intestines. The fruit’s ingredients can even repair damaged cell layers of the intestine.
The polyphenols contained in the fruit ensure that the spaces between the cells of the intestinal wall close.
As a result, harmful substances can no longer enter the blood. These bioactive substances occur naturally as colorants or flavorings in fruit, vegetables, or cereals and are considered to be beneficial to health. They scavenge harmful radicals in the body, reduce stress, and inhibit inflammation. Therefore, it is best not to peel apples, but only to wash them, because the health-promoting substances are in the peel.
Yogurt for a Healthy Intestinal Flora
Billions of beneficial bacteria live in a healthy intestine. They help with digestion and keep our immune system on its toes. Lactic acid, in foods such as yogurt, kefir, or sauerkraut, keeps the intestinal flora healthy in a natural way. There is no need to resort to expensive probiotic products. Even a normal whole milk yogurt contains plenty of lactic acid bacteria.
Avoid Carbonic Acid
If possible, avoid sparkling water, cola, lemonade, sparkling wine, or beer. This is because carbonated drinks can cause flatulence. The acid releases carbon dioxide into the stomach. As a result, the body contains more gases than it can break down. As a result, the stomach bloats.
Avoid Foods That Cause Flatulence
If you are prone to a bloated belly, eat as few flatulent foods as possible. Raw onions and garlic, beans, cabbage, and raw vegetables are stressful to the intestines and cause sulfurous gases to be produced. Greasy foods can also promote a bloated belly. Wolfing down a salad during lunch provokes air in the belly. It is better to resort to light foods such as turkey and cooked vegetables.
Good to know: A disturbed intestinal flora is often the cause of intestinal complaints. But also an intolerance to certain foods and substances (gluten) can cause discomfort and lead to digestive disorder.
Exercise is Good for the Intestines
In addition to diet, exercise is also important. This is because lack of exercise makes the intestinal muscles slacken, which can lead to constipation. Sports walks and any other form of exercise activate the metabolism and stimulate bowel activity.
Just 15 minutes of exercise support bowel activity in a completely natural way.
Make sure you get enough sleep. According to new findings, lack of sleep increases the risk of colorectal cancer. For example, people who sleep less than six hours a night on average are significantly more likely to have colon polyps than those who sleep seven hours or more. Colon polyps are benign growths that can develop into malignant tumors.
Warmth Helps with Indigestion
If stomach or intestinal complaints nevertheless occur, many rely on the soothing effect of a hot water bottle. In fact, heat can relieve abdominal pain caused by diarrhea or constipation. The heat relaxes the abdomen and thus relieves the pain.
Drink chamomile or anise-fennel-cumin tea for stomach cramps, abdominal pain, or nausea. The latter also has a soothing effect on flatulence.
What few people know: Peppermint tea is anything but beneficial for gastrointestinal complaints. Its menthol and essential oil content further irritate the stomach lining.
But self-treatment with natural home remedies has its limits. If the intestinal complaints persist for a long time or are accompanied by symptoms such as severe pain during bowel movements, dyseptic complaints (digestive pain in the upper abdomen), fever, or blood in the stool, a doctor should be consulted. Doctors also advise this for patients who have to push hard when defecating.
The intestine not only processes our food, but also communicates with our brain. Healthy intestines – healthy people, that’s how many doctors see it. The best recipe for this: is a balanced diet and plenty of exercises.
How the Food You Eat Affects Your Gut? - Video
How To Improve Your Gut Health? - FAQ
A diet that’s high in fat and sugar and low in fiber can kill certain types of gut bacteria, making your microbiota less diverse. Limit the use of antibiotics, which can wipe out healthy bacteria along with problematic bacteria, to only when necessary as determined by your doctor.
- You have an upset stomach.
- You feel tired more often than not.
- You have trouble sleeping in general.
- You are intolerant to some foods.
- You have extreme food cravings, especially sugar.
- You have unintentional weight gain or loss.
- You have skin irritations.
We recommend staying on the diet for at least 3-4 weeks, as it will take about that long to “heal the gut.” Some people may take up to 3 months to re-establish a normal functioning intestinal mucosa.