It weighs a total of about 2 kilograms and has over 3 million genes. It is the bacterial flora, a set of good bacteria in our body. Let’s find out together what it is and why it is so important for our health.
What Is the Good Bacteria inside Our Body?
It consists of colonies of microorganisms – over 1,000 species of bacteria, fungi and protozoa – that live in our digestive system. The bacterial flora, or gut microbiota, is a valuable ally for our health. First and foremost, it prevents the proliferation of pathogens and synthesises useful substances such as Vitamin K. In addition, it digests the most complex molecules and keeps our immune system in “training”.
Scientists are studying the role of the microbiota in the most widespread human diseases. However, there is still much to do. In the meantime, they have understood that enriching the intestinal microbiota with “good” bacteria at the expense of “bad” bacteria leads to a state of general wellbeing in the body. However, there is no ideal and equal microbiota for everyone. In fact, our genes, personal history and individual characteristics help to create a specific formula for each of us.
The Role of Gut Microbiota
In any case, we must try to keep these good bacteria healthy. We can do this with our daily diet, which allows us to provide energy and nutrients to intestinal microorganisms. We feed the bacteria and they help us to make the digestive system and the immune system work properly.
And in fact, these bacteria play a primary role in our immune system. Bacteria contribute to stimulate and train the immune system, which would otherwise have no way of developing and strengthening itself. In the small intestine alone, 70% of our body’s immune system cells are regulated by the microbiota. Therefore a healthy microbiota helps developing and maintaining a healthy immune system.
But there is more. The microbiota also has a crucial function for our metabolism. Just think that the colon, with its microbiota, is responsible for about 30-40% of our metabolism. A healthy microbiota will therefore contribute to a “healthy” absorption of nutrients.
How to Keep Good Bacteria Healthy
The first step to allow bacteria to develop in a healthy way is to follow a proper diet. In particular, you need to eat fibre and cereals, limit animal fats and proteins and be careful with cooking. You should also try to consume only organic and seasonal products. Speaking instead of carbs, it would be good to avoid refined flour, and prefer kamut or whole grain flour.