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Gut Health: Why Is It Important And How To Achieve It?

Intestinal health influences the functioning of the entire human body. The intestine is our second brain and has very important functions for our nutrition and the body’s defenses.

A healthy gut ensures our well-being and maintains beautiful skin and mental health. This organ has about 100 million neurons connected to the brain region.

Therefore, taking care of the intestine is taking care of integral health. However, it is a pity that many people do not know the importance of this organ and do not maintain habits that help it to function well. 

According to data from the World Gastroenterology Organization, 20% of the global population suffers from some intestinal problem. 90% of these people do not seek medical advice, resorting to self-medication or just ignoring the problem. 

Want to know more? So, read on!

How Important Is Gut Health?

The intestine absorbs most of the nutrients we eat in meals. This process occurs in the small intestine, while the large intestine absorbs most of the water. 

Food travels through the digestive system at an optimal metabolic rate when the intestine functions normally. Thus, the food mass and fecal cake are not retained in any part of the path for longer than necessary and are eliminated at the appropriate time.

The smooth functioning of the intestine also ensures good immunity. About 70% to 80% of all immune cells in the entire body are found in the intestine. This organ also collaborates with producing vitamins, such as vitamin K and other B-complex vitamins. 

Another function of the intestine is to help the brain function properly; 90% of tryptophan is synthesized in the intestine. The brain uses this essential amino acid along with vitamin B3 to help the body produce serotonin, which coordinates many functions in the body, including mood and sensations, both physical and emotional.

The fact is that a deregulated intestine influences the health of the entire body, but what causes this malfunction? The secret to a healthy gut is in our habits. Poor diet, little physical activity, little water consumption, and unregulated sleep harm gut health and, consequently, the whole body and mind 

Microbiota And Intestinal Health

The intestinal microbiota, or intestinal flora, is the set of millions of microorganisms that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract, such as viruses, fungi, and bacteria. 

Its proper functioning is linked to the whole organism, participating in the production of enzymes, vitamins, and various components necessary for cell renewal. 

The microbiota regulates the absorption of nutrients and minerals, controlling and increasing pathogenic bacteria and strengthening the immune system. 

The microbiota can also extract some nutrients from foods that the organism cannot digest, as is the case with insoluble fibers that are transformed into energy. 

This intestinal flora or microbiota begins to form shortly after birth. In principle, the mother is the first source of microorganisms for newborns. Some studies suggest that the colonization of bacteria can begin even before childbirth, that is, still in the mother’s womb. 

Certain bacterial profiles in the intestine are related to psychic and psychiatric disorders. This refers to the influence of the brain on cardiovascular protection. As you can see, the intestinal microbiota is very important for our health.  

What Are The Functions Of Microorganisms That Live In The Intestine?

Our intestine is made up of several parts. However, the two main ones are the large and small intestines. Virtually all of the bacteria that make up our gut are found in the colon, in the central part of the large intestine. 

Each bacterium is a single cell with hundreds of different species. It is estimated that about 700 to 800 species are in the large intestine. 

Bacteria are essential for producing some vitamins and are essential factors in several metabolic pathways. 

Vitamin deficiency generates metabolic blockages, making it difficult to lose weight, increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and leads to autoimmune diseases. It also increases the risk of cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. 

Microorganisms also ferment dietary fibers. In this process, short-chain fatty acids are produced, regulating metabolism in glucose and fat rates. 

They are responsible for protecting the body against potential allergens such as pollen and also against pathogens capable of causing several diseases, such as cancer. 

When gut health is impaired, the body goes through a process called dysbiosis, i.e., an imbalance in which there are more bad bacteria than good ones. 

In this situation, the protective barriers of the intestine are impaired. This containment wall, which is formed by several epithelial cells, evaluates everything that comes from the external environment and decides what does or does not enter our body. 

However, this protective barrier has its limitations. The excessive consumption of processed, processed, industrialized, allergenic foods, simple carbohydrates, saturated fats, salt, and sugar significantly alters the number of microorganisms and the composition of the intestinal flora. Consequently, this wall does not resist, and our organism becomes more vulnerable.

The number of good bacteria also decreases in the gut with habits like smoking, overuse of antibiotics, and health problems like depression and stress. This increases the number of pathogenic bacteria capable of causing disease. 

The imbalance of the intestinal flora reduces the ability to absorb nutrients, causing a lack of vitamins and inflammation. Among the symptoms of this condition are belching, nausea, bloating, gas, and alternating periods of diarrhea and constipation.   

What Habits Promote Gut Health? 

To maintain intestinal health, it is essential to maintain a healthy diet. For this, avoid processed, embedded, and canned foods. Eat fiber-rich foods, such as cereals, fruits, and vegetables, and invest in hydration (about 2 liters of water daily). 

The use of functional foods, such as probiotics and prebiotics, is also a strong ally of intestinal health, as they stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine and inhibit the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria, helping to strengthen immunity. 

Also Read: These 5 Foods Ensure A Healthy Gut

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