Foods (to avoid) and other causes of gut dysbiosis
Knowing the factors that influence gut microbiota imbalance is essential for good digestive health.
The gut microbiota is made up of trillions of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, viruses, phages and other microorganisms that live in the gastrointestinal tract and perform their metabolic, immune, neural and protective functions properly when in balance (eubiosis). But this ecosystem can be affected by different factors, causing an imbalance known as intestinal or gut dysbiosis.
As Ana Mayor, an internist and expert in Digestive Health at SHA Wellness Clinic, tells us, “the intestinal microbiota is maintained in a delicate balance and, when this balance is broken and the resilience of the bacteria is exhausted, it stops doing what it’s supposed to do and is no longer able to preserve the health of the host”.
Beyond the gut, the microbiota interacts bidirectionally with many of the body’s organs and systems. So, while unhealthy nutrition is one of the main causes of gut dysbiosis, it is by no means the only one.
As Dr Mayor explains, “diet is one of the factors that has the greatest impact on microbiota composition and diversity. A diet high in refined fats and sugars, rich in ultra-processed foods, red meat and sausages, can rapidly alter it. In contrast, the Mediterranean diet, rich in Omega 3, is very beneficial for maintaining a healthy microbiota. Eat fresh and, if possible, seasonal fruit and vegetables, whole grains, fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut and tempeh, and foods that provide the body with resistant starch, like pulses and sweet potatoes”.
Lifestyle also plays a key role in the health of the gut microbiota. “Toxic habits, age, poor management of stress and emotions, poor sleep hygiene and taking certain drugs, such as antibiotics or cytotoxic drugs, are determining factors in the imbalance of the microbiota. In addition, regular moderate physical exercise is essential for good digestive health. A sedentary lifestyle deprives the body of the hormonal stimulation that comes from exercise, which is an important factor in dysbiosis”, concludes the expert.
To find out more about how emotional and digestive health are interconnected, Click here