Microbiota is the collective name of billions of micro-organisms, in prevalence bacteria, that are in the digestive tract. Many recent studies deal with the microbiota. Doctor Beatrice Salvioli, gastroenterologist at Humanitas, spoke about its importance in an interview for Radio 24’s programme “Heart and money”.

“Nowadays the microbiota is the real protagonist in our body. It is mainly composed by bacteria, but also by viruses, mycetes and fungi. Its highest concentration is in the colon and it weights about a kilogram or so”.

The role of the Microbiota

“Even though our knowledge about these microbial populations has really increased in the last few years, we still only know about the 60%. Thus, we have much to discover, but we can nonetheless see important connections, such as those between abdomen and brain. In fact, these micro-organisms work as mediators between intestine and brain and vice versa.

Moreover, their main functions concern the immune system. A good, balanced flora can defeat diseases, because these “good” bacteria stop the invasion of pathogens, that are harmful agents. In addition to this, the microbiota also regulates our metabolism and digestion, and it affects our behavior”.

Keep your Microbiota Healthy with the Mediterranean diet

“You should really care for your microbiota, also by means of nutrition. Italy is blessed, in terms of food culture, because the Mediterranean diet has always been the reference point for all the other diets. So, eat vegetables, fruit, legumes, non-refined cereals (that are poor in simple sugars) freely. This kind of nutrition also helps us give our body the probiotics it needs, that do not get absorbed and instead go directly to the colon, helping the production of good bacteria. Foods rich in probiotics are chicory, onions, leeks, bananas and artichokes”, Doctor Salvioli says.