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Towards better gut flora

THE ASIAN AGE. | DR ASWINI SAGAR
Published : Jan 20, 2020, 12:59 am IST
Updated : Jan 20, 2020, 12:59 am IST

To know what type of food is good for your gut, it is essential to know what both an unhealthy gut and a healthy one feel like.

Gut microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms.
 Gut microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms.

Nutritionist Aswini Sagar tells us how to improve gut flora without medication.

To know what type of food is good for your gut, it is essential to know what both an unhealthy gut and a healthy one feel like.

“An unhealthy gut experiences digestive disturbance and difficulty in absorbing nutrients, as a result of which there is bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhoea etc. This happens because the gut is devoid of healthy flora or micro-organisms called microbiome, the presence of which is linked to the food we eat. A high-fat, high-sugar diet allows growth of only a certain species of microbes, which increase inflammation, insomnia, fungal or yeast infections, decreased immunity and food tolerance,” says Aswini.

On the other hand, when the gut is healthy, “digestion and absorption of nutrients are at their best, the immune system is strong, healing is good, and there’s no digestive distress” she explains.  

So what do you need to know about the gut microflora and how to improve them?

Gut microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms.

Its main function is to improve digestion, metabolism, absorption, immunity and nerve impulses.

The first 1000 days of a child’s life are very important, as that’s when gut microbiomes get established in the intestines. Breastmilk plays a major role in this.

Many factors influence the existence and establishment of gut flora, including genetics, medication, lifestyle and food.

Two factors are very crucial in stabilising gut flora — one is prebiotics and the other probiotics. While probiotics are a group of organisms, prebiotics serve as food for these organisms.

Starches are major nutrients digested by gut microbiome. The list of beneficial foods includes whole grain, cereals and pulses (rice, wheat, oats, bean, pea, lentils etc), fruits (berries, banana, apple etc), vegetables and tubers (cucumber, sweet potato, potato, asparagus, gourds etc.) and onion and garlic.

Probiotics are naturally available in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, tempeh etc.  “Diets high in sugar or fats do not allow healthy microbiome growth.

Make sure you eat nutritionally balanced food, stay hydrated, indulge in sufficient physical activity and get adequate sleep in order to keep gut flora healthy.

Tags: gut flora
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