What should we eat to protect our gut health? †

Healthy guts are important for our health. It has a lot to do with the trillions of bacteria that live there. Two experts tell us how we keep our so-called microbiome happy.

Why is it so important to keep our gut healthy?

“Our guts absorb the good nutrients and largely keep the bad ones out,” says Ben Witteman, professor of gut health and nutrition at Wageningen University and Research. “It’s actually very smart. Our microbiome and our immune system, which is 70% around the intestines, take care of it.”

What exactly is this microbiome?

“Our intestines contain 1-2 kilos of bacteria, fungi and yeasts. In the past, this was often referred to as the ‘gut flora’. People with a healthy microbiome — one with many different types — are less likely to be overweight. diabetes, cardiovascular disease and intestinal disorders,” says GPs, lifestyle physician and author Tamara de Weijer, among others Eat better for your stomach and intestinesI

“If you were to put together a diet scientifically, you would roughly arrive at the Guidelines for Good Nutrition from the Nutrition Center.”

Ben Witteman, professor of nutrition and intestinal health

Can the microbiome be disrupted?

“This happens regularly, especially in people on the so-called Western diet – a fairly one-sided diet with a lot of processed foods, little fiber and few nutrients. “We see fewer types of bacteria in the guts of these people,” he says. De Weijer.

“More than a million people in the Netherlands suffer from a chronic intestinal disease such as irritable bowel, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease or celiac disease. Their microbiome is often disrupted. Moreover, antibiotics are bad for your microbiome because they also kill the good bacteria in the gut.”

can we have ours? Health Do we get better from what we eat?

“Certainly, especially by consuming fiber. There are two types: soluble, which is mainly found in fruits and vegetables, and insoluble in whole grains,” she says.

“Soluble fiber is converted into free fatty acids by gut bacteria. We know that it has beneficial effects on the intestinal mucosa and the immune system. Therefore, fruits and vegetables are beneficial, especially because they contain all kinds of vitamins and minerals. †

Can we do more for our guts?

De Weijer: “The more varied your diet, the better. Vegetables such as asparagus, chicory, chicory, sauerkraut, kimchi and Jerusalem artichoke are all good for your intestinal flora,” she says. “Drink enough too – 1.5 liters of water a day – and exercise. Water is especially important for insoluble fiber. It swells. and is better for bowel peristalsis. L Exercise is important to keep your bowels moving. Wait.”

Is it helpful to take probiotics every now and then?

“Probiotics in powders and drinks contain live bacterial strains that replicate the microbiome. I wouldn’t take them without gut problems,” she says.

“It is also advisable if you do not take antibiotics. Once disrupted, it can take a long time for your microbiome to reorganize. Or if you have intestinal disorders. If you suffer from gas or heartburn or have an upset stomach, probiotics can help. Get versatile probiotics.

In a nutshell: what is the ideal food for our microbiome?

Witteman: “If you were to draw up a scientific diet, you would pretty much find the Nutrition Center’s Guidelines for Good Food. These guidelines are designed to keep people healthy, but are also appropriate for those with medical conditions. chronic. (bowel) disease, which we have shown in recent research.

Source: NU