The term microbiota refers to several billion microorganisms, mostly bacteria, present in the digestive tract. In recent times, the microbiota has been the subject of numerous studies. Dr. Beatrice Salvioli, a gastroenterologist at Humanitas, spoke of its importance in an interview with Cuore e denari on Radio 24.
“The microbiota is considered the true protagonist in our organism today. It is formed not only by bacteria, but also by viruses, and fungi; its concentration is higher at the level of the colon and as a whole it weighs about one kilo.
The role of the microbiota
“Although our knowledge of these microbial populations has increased considerably in recent years, it still stands at around 60%, so there is a lot that is unknown, but we can already see very important connections, such as the connection between the belly and brain. These microorganisms act as mediators between the intestine and brain and vice versa.
In addition, their main functions concern the immune system: a good balanced flora can defeat diseases, because these “good” bacteria prevent the invasion of pathogens, harmful agents. The microbiota also regulates metabolism and digestion and influences our behavior.
A healthy microbiota with the Mediterranean diet
“It is very important to take care of our microbiota, even from the nutritional point of view. In Italy we are very lucky in terms of food culture, because our Mediterranean diet has always been taken as a reference point for all diets. Therefore, I give the green light to abundant vegetables and fruit, legumes and unrefined cereals (with limitations to refined ones, rich in simple sugars). This type of diet also helps us to ensure that our body has prebiotics that are not absorbed and go directly into the colon, thus helping to produce good bacteria. Some of them include: chicory, onions, leeks, bananas and artichokes”, concludes Dr. Salvioli.