In recent years, the intestine has been one of the most frequently discussed health topics in the media. And rightly so! If they are not functioning well, there is no question of feeling well, being immune to disease or going to the toilet regularly. What can I do to help my gut function at its best? The intestine is the part of the digestive system responsible for two basic functions – absorbing nutrients (mainly the small intestine) supplied with food and processing leftovers in the large intestine – in such a way that the body can excrete them.
The so-called probiotics, or bacteria colloquially known as “good” or “useful”. These terms can be a little confusing though, because suggest that these bacteria are just some optional additive. Meanwhile, these microorganisms are absolutely necessary for the proper functioning of the intestines and should be supplied to the body with food.
- They are responsible not only for the fermentation of the food content, but also for combating bacteria strains that are unfavorable to the intestines.
- Unfortunately, the work of the intestines may be disrupted due to many factors.
- What can we do to prevent this or, if we are already in trouble, restore our gut health?
The intestines begin their proper functioning as soon as we are born. Therefore, the method of feeding chosen by their parents is of great importance to them. According to researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in a 2014 article describing the links between diet and gut flora, breast milk contains the perfect mix of ingredients to keep the digestive system working properly, and so far it has not been possible to create a mixture that is identical to natural food.
In addition to the probiotics necessary for the proper functioning of the intestines, there are also so-called prebiotics, e.g. oligosaccharides. These – undigested – travel through the entire digestive system, to the colon, where they nourish the microorganisms that the intestines need. What’s more, the proteins contained in the colostrum (i.e. the milk that appears in the mother’s breasts right after delivery) protect against the destruction of cells lining the intestines. That is why it is worth considering – whenever possible – to consider natural feeding to ensure a healthy start to our baby’s intestines.