How to improve intestinal flora

Diet to regenerate damaged intestinal flora


How should a diet improve the intestinal flora?

High-fiber foods

Highfiber foods encourage the growth of good bacteria in the gut: fruits, vegetables, tubers, pulses

Microbiota or intestinal flora is composed of a series of microorganisms that feed on the fiber we consume in the diet, mainly carbohydrates, such as fibers and starches.

If we want to efficiently repopulate our gut flora or healthy microbiota, our diet must provide:

  • Prebiotics: Eating foods high in fermentable prebiotic fiber for bacteria. The microbiota feeds on this fiber (not all fiber has a prebiotic effect). The best source of fiber are fruits and vegetables (soluble fibers like pectin, FOS, …).
  • Antibiotic foods: Plants that act against infectious bacteria, such as garlic or onions (raw), ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, pepper, etc.
  • Probiotics: Probiotic supplements may be recommended, with healthy bacteria that help populate the intestines and improve its composition. Especially recommended after enteritis, infections or certain affectations (consult your doctor).

Who can have the intestinal flora weakened?

  • People with stress, flatulence, swollen belly, inadequate nutrition, dietary changes (travel, vacation, etc.), old age.
  • Treatment with antibiotics or other medicines
  • Abuse of laxatives
  • Celiac disease or gluten allergy
  • Infections, diarrhea, gastroenteritis, candidiasis
  • Intestinal diseases (pancreatitis, diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel)
  • Operations such as gastric bypass, stomach reduction, cholecystectomy (gallbladder surgery), etc.

Food to regenerate the microbiota or gut flora damaged or weakened

In the diet to improve the intestinal flora, the daily consumption of the following foods it is recommended:

Resistant starches for microbiota

Cream of pumpkin

Cream of pumpkin with potatoes and algae. Fiberrich foods have prebiotic effect

Resistant starches are a type of prebiotic fiber much needed to feed the intestinal microbiota. This type of fiber is found in cereals and tubers.

Therefore, in a diet for intestinal flora, we can not completely suppress the consumption of complex carbohydrates, which is increasingly common with fashion diets or Dukan dissociative type. In addition, these foods are rich in starch with demulcent properties to care for digestive walls.

It is recommended to usually include rice, potato, oats, buckwheat, etc. Sweet potato is highly recommended since, as well as fiber, it provides many beta carotene to help improve the state of the intestinal mucosa.

Green banana is a fruit rich in pectin and resistant starches. It is considered to be and great prebiotic. (Boil and eat as a vegetable or delicious desserts. Truffles with cocoa, flourless brownie, etc)

Initially it is recommended NOT to take whole grains because they can have a laxative effect. If whole grains are taken, presoaking these cereals overnight is recommended .

Do not eat too much bread or do not eat hot bread just after baked, because yeast is still active at that temperature.

Vegetables and fruits, prebiotic foods to improve the microbiota

Grated carrot with lemonGrated carrot with lemon. simple but very nutritious and healthy recipe

Vegetables and fruits: They are doubly healthy. On the one hand, they contain dietary fiber that is fermented when reaching the intestine. On the other hand, they stimulate the proliferation of beneficial bacteria (prebiotic effect).

The following foods are especially recommended because of their prebiotic effect : baked apples, applesauce (no sugar added) and cooked carrots (as carrot cream)

Other prebiotics (fermentable fibers)

Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, and in general, winter vegetables have active substances that protect against colon cancer.

  • Brown algae, like kombu, wakame seaweed and arame, are rich in mucilage, laminarin, alginates, fucanes and cellulose fibers. They are also recommended.
  • Dried fruit is also very good choice. It contains up to 5 times more fiber than their fresh varieties: Prunes, raisins, dates, figs bread, etc. They Those that contain sulfites should be avoided, such as orange dried apricots.

Eating these vegetables, plus prebiotic effects, provides many antioxidants such as vitamin C and carotenes, fighting the formation of carcinogenic substances in the intestine, such as nitrosamines. Also they contain vitamins that improve the state of the digestive wall and help general health and body defenses.

  • Initially it is recommended to avoid taking spinach and orange juice, as these foods produce the expulsion of bile into the digestive tract, with consequent irritation and laxative effects.

Antibiotic foods for intestinal flora


How garlic should be taken? The raw and crushed garlic is an excellent antibiotic

Garlic, onions, ginger, papaya , pineapple (pineapple), and in general all the herbs and spices have antibiotic properties against infectious bacteria in the gut (cloves, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, cumin, savory , oregano, cilantro and coriander, caraway, anise, peppers, …).

It is recommended to always add herbs and spices to help the body fight infectious bacteria.

For example, only when raw garlic is crushed all medicinal principles are obtained, as allicin, garlic principle, is formed by contact with oxygen.

A preparation with garlic that is very suitable is the ajoaceite sauce, made only with garlic and extra virgin olive oil. For garlic, onions and leeks have antiseptic properties, should be consumed raw, since cooking with principles lose.

Olive oil and nuts for microbiota

Ajoaceite sauce with raw crushed garlic.

Ajoaceite sauce with raw crushed garlic.

Only bad fats or fat in excess are harmful to the intestines. Too much fat intake causes a deterioration of the microbiota, which is sensitive to excessive dietary fat (fried, pastry, cream, cakes, sausages, chips, snacks, cookies, etc.).

Healthy fats do not damage the intestine and, in fact, they are necessary for good intestinal health. Eating olive oil and nuts provides omega 3 and vitamin E, antiinflammatory components, which protect the digestive walls and help keep the intestinal mucus.

Nuts, such as walnuts, can be taken in moderation (about 7 daily units), as they can be laxative. Nuts and seeds are eaten raw or lightly roasted, unsalted and without frying.

Legumes and proteinrich foods

Foods rich in protein are needed to improve intestinal health. Enterocytes (intestinal cells) regenerate very often, and therefore need a lot of protein to build new structures.

Legumes (lentils, chickpeas, etc.) Also contain fibers to improve intestinal transit and prebiotic fibers. They also have high nutritional value. They should be eaten with a long soak (overnight) and a longer cooking than usual, in order not to be indigestible.

Nonvegetarians can eat meat, being very suitable fresh fish (not canned), such as sardines; white meat (chicken, turkey, …) and eggs.

It has been described that undercooked meat (not too dry) have higher amounts of glutamine, an amino acid very much used by intestinal cells to improve membrane integrity.

AVOID red meat and processed meats (cold cuts, pates, sausages, etc.).

Alcohol, tobacco and stress also impairs the intestinal microbiota.

Probiotics to improve the intestinal microbiota


Yogurt contains certain amount of probiotics (healthy gut bacteria)

In the diet to improve the intestinal flora, we include a special section dedicated to the consumption of foods that provide probiotics naturally. The group of fermented foods is recommended. Examples of probiotic foods are daily yoghurts, add miso to nonboiling soups , sauerkraut cabbage, etc.

During this diet milk should be replaced with yogurt or kefir, for example, instead of drinking a glass of milk at breakfast, take yogurt with fruit and oatmeal or muesli.

Bifidus yogurt, besides lactic bacteria (Lactobacillus), also contains bifidobacteria (Bifidobacterium), other healthy bacteria.

People with lactose intolerance or milk allergy can take vegetable yogurt with lactic acid bacteria.

Oatmeal: Scientific studies have shown that taking oat bran has prebiotic effect, because it increases the number of healthy bacteria in the gut. Once you have normalized intestinal transit, you can take oat bran or oatmeal, for example, in yogurt and served with a glass of water.

Are ordinary foods good probiotics?

Professionals believe that ordinary foods are not good probiotics because in the stomach much of the bacteria containing die because they do not resist stomach acid.

The only way to ensure sufficient supply of bacteria and arrive intact in the intestine is taking good probiotic supplements.

Probiotic supplements

Some people need to take probiotics differently to foods rich in probiotics, because they found this foods ineffective as probiotics.

This may be due, for example, to heartburn or intestinal diseases.

The high acidity of the stomach destroys bacteria before they reach the intestine and can exercise their salutary effects. Supplements are often capsules resistant to the acidic medium, that are released into the intestine.

punto rojo More information on autoimmune disease diet and remedies.

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

20 October, 2021

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