Expert asked: Gut-friendly or hostile - What helps the gut flora and what harms it?

Intestinal friend or enemy? What is good for the digestive tract and what harms it

In the course of a lifetime, the intestine creates incredible things. He digests 30 tons of food - the average weight of a fully grown humpback whale. In addition, it plays a crucial role in the defense against pathogens. Accordingly, it is advisable to pay special attention to the sensitive organ. "Extensive, greasy food, little fresh fruit and constant stress overload the intestine and lead to far-reaching problems," emphasizes Prof. (Univ. Chisinau) Dr. Dr. Stefan Hillejan, phlebologist and proctologist from the practice clinic for venous and rectal diseases in Hanover and chairman of the professional association of qualified medical experts in Germany. If you want to avoid complaints, you should treat the intestine with special care.

Three intestinal friends

Basically: don't overexert yourself after eating, but still move. Laborious sports during the digestive process, for example, lead to unpleasant reactions such as side stinging. However, the popular afternoon nap right after eating also has a negative effect on the intestine, as the body moves into a horizontal position and acids flow back into the esophagus and cause uncomfortable belching and a burning sensation in the throat and chest area can. Instead, a short walk is recommended. This fulfills several purposes. On the one hand, it promotes blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract, which speeds up digestion. On the other hand, walking upright prevents gastric acid from flowing back.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are beneficial for the intestines. For example, bananas contain vitamins, starch and potassium. The latter regulates the fluid balance and thereby reduces the risk of intestinal illness. In addition, blueberries have an antiseptic effect, apples have an anti-inflammatory effect and vegetables such as beetroot support natural detoxification and provide the body with fiber and antioxidants that strengthen the intestinal wall. Finally, liquid is one of the most important pillars of healthy digestion. About two liters of water a day ensure optimal consistency of the chair and thus simplify excretion.

Three enemies of the intestine

With its 100 million nerve cells, the intestine is in permanent contact with the brain. If the body is under a bit of a mental load, this also has a negative effect on the digestive tract. For example, stress reduces the number of lactic acid bacteria, which make up a vital part of microflora due to their resistance to gastric acid and bile. The stress-related release of adrenaline also leads to a reduction in bowel activity, which in extreme cases leads to constipation. Also harmful to the stomach: excessive and high-fat food.

The more and the more fatty the meal, the more likely the intestine will be overloaded. Regular meal breaks and drinking a lot counteract this. Especially on birthdays or on public holidays such as Easter and Christmas, people with intestinal problems should take care not to have greasy and sweet foods readily available to protect the digestive tract. Because intestinal bacteria break down the sugar and cause bloating.

Ultimately, excessive alcohol consumption is probably one of the intestine's greatest enemies. It triggers a multitude of reactions that have unpleasant consequences in the short and long term. The alcohol content of beer, wine and spirits is converted practically 1 to 1 into body fat. At the same time, alcohol upsets the water and salt balance because, like coffee, it drives the kidney's fluid and therefore mineral excretion excessively. Indirect consequence: irritated mucous membranes and the increased probability of diarrhea. (sb, pm)

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