More and more people are talking about microbiota and its role in our health. Microbiota is pretty much the same as the intestinal flora we’re already familiar with. It’s simply a new term to better describe the array of micro-organisms that live in the digestive system.
Several factors can affect the health of your intestinal flora, notably what you eat, but also your levels of stress, any antibiotics you take, your lifestyle habits, etc. It’s well known that an imbalance in the intestinal flora has a negative impact on general wellbeing, you just need to think of the diarrhea usually associated with taking antibiotics. The microbiota is, among other things, responsible for the synthesis of some of the vitamins we need in order to live. It also helps reinforce our immune system and protect us from infections.
Foods from the alliaceous family are prebiotics, that means they feed the intestinal flora. That’s why so many people experience discomforts after eating them, it’s working hard in there!
Some examples of alliaceous foods: onions (yellow, red, white, green…), garlic, shallots (scallion) and leeks.
Jerusalem artichokes are worth looking into. They contain a large quantity of inulin, which the digestive system’s bacteria love. Inulin is part of the family of fructans, which can cause uncomfortable symptoms (bloating, gas, etc.) in those who are sensitive to it, like people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. Start by including it in small quantities. You can then increase the amount depending on your tolerance.
Sauerkraut, some soy products, lacto-fermented vegetables (gherkins, beetroot, etc.), kimchi… these are a few examples of fermented foods. Fermentation is carried out by micro-organisms, some of which are similar to those found in our digestive system. Although the organisms contained in these products don’t all reach the intestine, since they are destroyed by the stomach acids, they still promote a healthy microbiota diversity. It’s therefore beneficial to add them to our diet.