Keeping the intestinal flora in balance is essential for the proper functioning of the digestive system. In addition to this, the microbiota creates a protective barrier that prevents other viruses and bacteria from developing in the intestine and becoming harmful to health.
What is the intestinal flora and what is it for?
The intestinal flora, also called microbiota , is the set of bacteria that live in our body, in the digestive tract. These microorganisms can be: bacteria, fungi or viruses, among other forms.
Up to 2,000 different species of bacteria can be found in the digestive tract, and the vast majority are safe for us. Only a hundred of these bacteria can be considered dangerous for the body if some factor is misaligned that causes them to multiply in quantity and affect us.
The bacteria that make up the intestinal flora are necessary and beneficial for our body since they are responsible for breaking down food during digestion, they generate vitamins B and K and absorb the necessary nutrients, discarding those that are not. Therefore, it can be considered that the balance of the intestinal flora is directly linked to our health.
For all these reasons, we can establish that, mainly, there are 3 functions of the intestinal flora : nutritional, protective and immunological.
Symptoms of damaged intestinal flora
Having a damaged intestinal flora is something that causes damage to the mucous membranes of the intestines, among other effects, and that is reflected in various ways. Here are some of the main symptoms of damaged intestinal flora :
- Gas or abdominal swelling.
- Belching and flatulence.
- Unpleasant odor in stool.
- Cramps or intestinal spasms.
- General discomfort.
- Joint pain.
- food intolerances
- Digestive problems.
How to recover the intestinal flora naturally
One of the times when our microbiota is most damaged is after periods of stomach viruses, taking antibiotics or diarrhoea. Knowing how to recover the intestinal flora after diarrhea or recover the intestinal flora after taking antibiotics is essential to maintain the balance of the digestive system and the body. To do this, you can use food supplements that include probiotics, as long as the doctor advises medications for damaged intestinal flora that include probiotics or take them with food. Without a doubt, the best way to restore balance to the body is through probiotic and prebiotic foods. If you want to know what are the home remedies to recover the intestinal flora , you just have to keep reading.
Foods to recover the intestinal flora – probiotics and prebiotics
Prebiotic foods are mainly carbohydrates that are fermented by the intestinal flora and form part of dietary fiber. These are substances that encourage the growth of good bacteria for the intestine. Prebiotics must be substances that do not degrade as they pass through the digestive system and must undergo a beneficial fermentation for health.
They are usually found in plant-based foods and in breast milk. In addition to these, these are some of the main sources of prebiotics:
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms for health that are found naturally in the body. These microorganisms are also present in some products such as fermented ones. This type of food helps the correct balance of the intestinal flora . Some of the main ones are:
- soft cheeses
- pickled aubergines
- Dark chocolate
- sourdough bread
- Pickled cucumber
How to recover the intestinal flora in children
Children are one of the groups that can suffer the most damage from a damaged intestinal flora after a period of illness with diarrhea or after taking antibiotics. Here are some tips on how to recover the intestinal flora in children :
- Drink dairy products that are high in live bacteria, such as fermented dairy products (yogurt).
- Increase the intake of prebiotic foods such as: garlic, carrot, onion, artichoke, leek, quince, apple and banana.
- In the case of infants, breast milk is one of the best options to recover the intestinal flora in children, since it is a symbiotic food, that is, it is a food that combines prebiotics and probiotics. This is also the case with infant formula milk.
- If the pediatrician considers it appropriate, it may be recommended to take probiotic or prebiotic supplements for a faster recovery.
Here we show you some home remedies for stomach pain in children that you may also find useful.
How long does it take to recover the intestinal flora
It is normal that when we find ourselves in this situation we wonder how long it will last and when we will begin to be better. The truth is that the question of how long it takes to recover the intestinal flora does not have a clear and concise answer.
The time it will take to feel better and to fully recover the intestinal flora can vary from a few days to a few weeks . This will depend on whether it is very affected or not, on the treatment we follow and on whether we have any other health problem or complication.