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Madeira Medical Center


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Prevent and Track. Always | National Digestive Cancer Day THE MICROBIOMA AND DIGESTIVE HEALTH

Having a balanced diet, exercising regularly, preventing and correcting obesity and making regular appointments with the gastroenterologist are the pillars to prevent diseases and ensure good digestive health, together with early diagnosis - given by tests, colonoscopies and endoscopies - considered the most effective way to reduce mortality, particularly from cancer.

With regard to food, its importance is related to the intestinal microbiome.

Similar to the human genome, the intestinal microbiome represents the genetic heritage of the microorganisms that live with us: an ecosystem of more than 100 trillion (mostly bacteria) that inhabit our digestive system; according to scientists, a value higher than the observable stars in the universe.

It is currently known that these microorganisms can help prevent and regulate infections throughout the body, from respiratory problems, metabolic, inflammatory, urinary tract, allergies, or even diseases of the intestine.

The composition of the microbiome evolves throughout life, being the result of different external influences. A diversified diet, associated with healthy lifestyle habits, will have a positive impact on the digestive system, favouring the increased presence of protective bacteria.

Also the consumption of prebiotics and probiotics helps to optimize the microbiome; prebiotics act as food for micro-organisms, being present in vegetables and fruits (eg garlic, onions, asparagus, tomatoes, bananas, plums, apples, walnuts, almonds, grains and cereals such as bran).

On the other hand, probiotics are micro-organisms that offer health benefits, from digestive comfort to the regulation of the immune system, compensating external aggressions such as stress, poor diet or taking antibiotics. Most probiotics originate from bacteria commonly used to ferment foods, such as those found in yogurt and fermented milk.

In this way, what we eat daily not only nourishes our body, but also nourishes trillions of microorganisms that inhabit our digestive tract and without which it would be difficult to survive.

30th September 2021

30, September 2021