We are what we eat

Food

The intestinal flora is a collection of microorganisms in our digestive system in symbiosis, i.e. in mutually beneficial coexistence, especially bacteria, fungi and other unicellular organisms that contribute to the maintenance of our health. Interestingly, the bacteria that make up the gut flora well outnumber the cells that make up the human body. As the saying goes, “we are what we eat” – so let’s learn about the intestinal flora’s effects on our bodies from Dr. Rose Private Hospital’s dietitian, Nóra Galló.

Bacteria in the gut perform a number of functions, including digestion, the production of vitamins (vitamins B and K), the protection against pathogens and the regulation of the immune system. We have known for a few years now that around 70-80% of the immune system is found in the digestive system!

However, the balance of the intestinal flora is unfortunately very sensitive and easily upset, whereby the ’good’ bacteria can perish and the pathogenic, or disease-causing, bacteria can predominate. In this case, the intestinal flora is unable to perform its function and its protective function is also weakened.

So, what kind of factors damage the intestinal flora?

Improper eating habits (too much sugar, eating processed foods, low-fiber diets and eating habits lacking variety, inadequate fluid intake, etc.)
Pleasurable substances such as alcohol, smoking tobacco
Lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyles
Use of antibiotics and other medicines such as antacids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (painkillers and fever-reducing medicines), certain high blood pressure medications, birth control pills, etc.
Stress

It’s not hard to see that today’s modern lifestyle and habits are not really conducive to supporting our intestinal flora. An upset intestinal flora can cause a wide variety of symptoms and complaints, including gastrointestinal complaints (e.g., bloating, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea), bodyweight problems, chronic fatigue, mood swings, and migraines. In recent years, there is growing evidence that upset gut flora can lead to certain diseases.

Restoring the intestinal flora and maintaining its balance is actually aimed at eliminating these damaging factors. The more we support the gut flora, the sooner we can achieve improvement. It is a misconception that the use of probiotics alone would suffice, and often, if we do not choose the appropriate composition, we could even harm ourselves.

If you would like to know what you can do to protect your own gut flora and health, then get in touch with us for dietary advice.

Ask us about our three- and five-appointment consultation passes and get to know more about our Complex Dietetic Examination package! For further information and to make an appointment, phone: +36 1 377 6737.

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