Healthy Intestinal Flora
A healthy digestive system can help to improve the quality of our lives and bring about bountiful health. Our digestive systems flourish when the flora of our intestines is balanced. This flora is composed of over three hundred different types of microorganisms that live in our system and aid in the process of digestion and nutrient absorption. Many people consume too many concentrated sweeteners in their diets, thus leading to an imbalance in their flora. Some examples are sugar, evaporated cane juice, corn syrup, molasses, fruit juice concentrates, maple syrup, honey, and even agave nectar. It is not just sugar though, too much vinegar, yeast, yeasted breads, potatoes, alcohol, dairy, eggs, ham, red meat, and nut butters can also lead to an imbalance in flora. This imbalance can cause digestive problems like gas, bloating, bad breath, abdominal pains/distention, and mucous in the stools.
Often the imbalance is related to the use of antibiotics, which not only kill the bacteria that cause infection, but also the healthy bacteria that live in our digestive system. Overuse of antibiotics can cause a severe imbalance in intestinal flora that can actually weaken our immune system, which can lead to catching colds more frequently and open the door to a number of unwanted health conditions.
Many foods can help return balance to our flora. These include parsley, kale, collard greens, dandelion, chard, watercress, cabbage, kelp, and alfalfa greens. Mung beans, adzuki beans, radishes, beet tops, raw garlic and carrot tops can help too. Taking bioculture supplements such as acidophilus and bifidus or eating small amounts of bioculture-fermented vegetables such as raw,unsalted sauerkraut can help to restore balance as well.
Maintaining a proper balance of intestinal flora helps to ensure that our intestines will absorb an optimal amount of nutrients from the foods we eat. This in turn can help prevent disease and promote healthy aging. The general rule is moderation in all things. Often all we need is to eat a little less of certain foods and a little more of others to restore the natural balance of our flora. The healthier our flora the better we feel. Eat well, eat smart, and live a happy healthy life.