What is intestinal activity?
Intestinal health, which has been a hot topic for several years, aims to balance the intestinal flora, which is a collection of intestinal bacteria, to improve intestinal function and maintain a healthy state.
Due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus, intestinal activity has once again attracted attention as a way to boost immunity.
Approaching the intestine, which is an organ that absorbs nutrients, is effective not only for so-called stomach problems such as constipation and diarrhea, but also for the prevention and improvement of medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, allergic diseases, obesity, dementia, and depression. It is said to help manage the health of the entire body.
What kind of intestine is the “good intestine” we aim for through intestinal activity?
It is said that there are over 30,000 types of bacteria in our human intestines. It is said that there are more than 1,000 trillion pieces, and they weigh 1 to 2 kg.
There are three types of typical bacteria: ``good bacteria,'' ``bad bacteria (harmful bacteria),'' and ``opportunistic bacteria (intermediate bacteria).''
Beneficial bacteria are said to be useful bacteria, and include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
It is said to have an effect on infection defense, immune stimulation, promotion of digestion and absorption, improvement of stool properties, health maintenance, and anti-aging.
Bad bacteria are harmful bacteria and include Clostridium perfringens, Staphylococcus, and Escherichia coli.
It is said to cause the production of carcinogens, gas production, health problems, disease triggers, and accelerated aging.
Opportunistic bacteria are the most common type of intestinal bacteria. Although they are usually quiet, they are bacteria that favor those with a numerical advantage between good and bad bacteria. When good bacteria become dominant, they join the good bacteria, and when bad bacteria become dominant, they join the bad bacteria.
The balance of these three bacteria is
2 good bacteria: 1 bad bacteria: 7 opportunistic bacteria
is said to be ideal.
By the way, you can find out what the bacteria ratio in your intestines is at a hospital that performs intestinal flora tests. (Costs vary depending on the medical institution)
Even if you don't know specific numbers, you can tell whether your intestines are in good condition by looking at your physical condition, the frequency and shape of your stools.
If the following guidelines are met, your intestinal environment can be said to be good.
Frequency of stool: Once a day Color of stool: Yellow or yellowish brown Condition of stool: Banana-like condition
Even if you have bowel movements every day, if they are dark, too soft, too hard, or have a bad odor, the balance of bacteria in your intestines may be disrupted.
5 effects (benefits) of intestinal activity
Depending on your intestinal activity, your body may experience the following changes:
Improved bowel movements
It is said that bowel movements such as constipation and diarrhea become more likely to occur when the proportion of bad bacteria in the intestines increases. Intestinal activity increases the proportion of good bacteria in the intestines, making constipation and diarrhea less likely to occur.
If you are a person with constipation, whether it will come out or not will vary from person to person, but it may be relatively easy to feel the effects because the condition of your stools will change.
Increases immune function
It is difficult to feel that your immune system has improved, and it takes time. If you feel like you have fewer complaints or feel less tired, it may be because your immune system is increasing through intestinal activity.
There are also cases where symptoms of allergies such as hay fever have been reduced.
Allergies are symptoms that occur when the immune system, which works to eliminate foreign substances such as viruses and bacteria, overreacts to substances such as food and pollen.
The immune response is a reaction to protect the body from foreign substances, but if the intestinal environment is disrupted, the immune balance is disrupted, which is thought to be a factor in the development of allergic diseases.
Suppress aging (anti-aging)
Research has revealed that there is a deep relationship between aging and the intestines. Suppressing the aging of the intestinal tract has an impact on health and longevity.
In an experiment using elderly mice, there was a report that increasing the number of butyric acid bacteria in the intestine suppressed aging of the cranial nerves, and I look forward to future research.
Improvement of skin problems
Intestinal activity that can also be expected to have a skin-beautifying effect.
If the intestinal environment is poor and stool cannot be excreted smoothly, bad bacteria will proliferate and produce harmful substances that can irritate the skin. It is said that it travels through the bloodstream and into the body, causing skin problems.
Age is clearly visible on the skin. Firm, healthy and beautiful skin may lead to anti-aging.
It becomes difficult to gain weight
Many of the foods that are said to be good for intestinal health are healthy, so depending on what you eat, you will naturally be less likely to gain weight, but it is said that the type and proportion of intestinal bacteria also has an effect. I am.
In the intestines of overweight people, there are many obese bacteria that want to store energy, and in the intestines of underweight people, there are many lean bacteria that do not like fat and sugar. It is determined by the balance of bad bacteria and good bacteria.
Obesity is the cause of lifestyle-related diseases. This may also help suppress the aforementioned aging process and help you stay healthy.
Intestinal activity method ① Adjust your intestines through meals
There are three main types of foods you should consume to improve your intestinal environment: fermented foods, dietary fiber, and oligosaccharides.
Let's introduce the typical foods of each type.
It contains many beneficial bacteria such as lactic acid bacteria, bifidobacteria, yeast, and koji mold.
・Natto, kimchi, miso, yogurt, bran pickles, cheese, etc.
<Water-soluble dietary fiber>
Due to its viscosity, it moves slowly through the gastrointestinal tract. When it is fermented and broken down in the intestines, bifidobacteria and other bacteria increase, promoting intestinal regulation.
・Hijiki, okra, moroheiya, prunes, figs, avocado, etc.
<Insoluble dietary fiber>
It has a high water retention capacity and expands in the stomach and intestines, promoting bowel movement. In addition, the fermentation and decomposition of these foods increases the number of good bacteria such as bifidobacteria, improving the intestinal environment.
・Nuts such as burdock, radish, broccoli, prunes, avocado, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, etc.
Oligosaccharides serve as food for good bacteria, so they can effectively work on good bacteria.
・Soybeans, burdock, asparagus, onions, garlic, bananas, etc.
Simply consuming these foods blindly will not provide sufficient intestinal activity.
Each bacteria has its own characteristics. Combination is also important to obtain high effects.
Oligosaccharides and dietary fiber, which feed the good bacteria, and lactic acid bacteria, which contain the good bacteria, are compatible, so the combination of these can enhance the effectiveness of the menu.
For example, we recommend the following menus that are easy to incorporate into your daily diet.
Amazake soup with wakame and root vegetables
Amazake fermented by Koji bacteria is attracting attention for its effect on intestinal activity.
You can easily incorporate it into your menu in place of your daily miso soup.
<Ingredients for 2 people>
・Wakame, burdock, radish, onion ・Dashi stock 200ml
・Miso 1 tablespoon
・Salt (appropriate amount)
<How to make>
1. Place the stock, wakame, burdock, radish, and onion in a pot and heat until the ingredients are soft.
2. Stir in the miso and add the amazake.
*Be careful not to let it boil.
3. Adjust the taste with salt.
We recommend using the ingredients listed above that contain dietary fiber, but feel free to add your favorite ingredients or seasonal vegetables to your menu as if you were making miso soup every day.
Adding ginger will warm your stomach.
honey banana yogurt
Just top yogurt with banana, honey, and nuts! This is a simple intestinal health recipe.
However, the key is the time you eat.
It is said that the intestines become active 15 to 19 hours after waking up.
In other words, if you wake up at 7 a.m., your intestines will be active from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. the next day.
We recommend honey banana yogurt as a dessert after dinner.
Dinner and dessert are important meals to keep your intestines active, as they are the meals you eat right before your intestines become active.
Kestose, a type of oligosaccharide, is also useful for intestinal activity.
Kestose is a sweet component found in onions, asparagus, sugar beet, etc. It reaches the large intestine and serves as food for intestinal bacteria, helping to nurture the good bacteria, lactic acid bacteria, and bifidobacteria in the intestines.
Another important feature of Kestose is that it does not become food for bad bacteria.
It has a mild sweetness that does not interfere with the taste of the food, so you can use it by mixing it with the amazake soup or yogurt.
Intestinal activity method ② Drink hot water (water) when you wake up
When you wake up in the morning, drink a glass of water before breakfast. This is to wake up the sleeping stomach and intestines and activate peristaltic movement.
If the water is too cold, it will chill your stomach. Try to drink room temperature water or plain hot water.
Alternatively, herbal tea or brown rice tea are also recommended. This is because it is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are said to be good for intestinal health.
If you are constipated, it is best to avoid foods that contain caffeine, such as coffee, green tea, and black tea. Because it has a diuretic effect, it may make your stools hard.
Intestinal activity method ③ Adjust your intestines through exercise
It is said that you can feel more effective by not only dieting but also moderate exercise.
It seems that lack of exercise and stress can also cause constipation, so even if you don't have a habit of exercising, please take a chance to move your body.
When you feel moderately fatigued by moving your body, you can fall asleep smoothly at night. Good quality sleep is also said to be effective for intestinal activity.
Even so, it can be difficult to suddenly start playing a sport. Why not try doing some stretches to wake up your intestines, even if it's just 5 minutes a day, in between work or study?
Let's try an external approach to increase intestinal peristalsis.
1. Waist twist stretch
Stretch your stomach and slowly twist your entire body from your waist. Move so that your shoulder is pulled back from the direction of the twist.
You can do it while sitting on a chair or standing up. Breathe slowly and feel your stomach and sides stretch.
2. Stretching around the pelvis
Place your hands on your hips (imagine holding your pelvis) and rotate your hips. Do this about 8 times clockwise and 8 times counterclockwise.
It also stretches the base of your feet, and for those who spend a lot of time standing or sitting, you can expect it to be effective in relieving swelling of your feet.
Be careful as there are disadvantages if you do too much.
I have introduced the method of intestinal activity.
But you have to eat this! I have to do this exercise! If you make strict rules for yourself, it will become painful to continue.
There is no point in blaming yourself for not being able to eat and exercise in accordance with your intestinal health, and end up feeling stressed. This is because stress has a negative impact on the intestinal environment.
If you experience abdominal pain or symptoms of diarrhea even though you are exercising your bowel movements, it may be because your mind is feeling some kind of stress.
Also, it is not a good idea to continue to eat only certain foods just because they are good for your intestinal health. Make sure to get a well-balanced diet from a wide variety of foods.
Incorporate it into your daily life and continue with it!
It is important to continue your intestinal health. The ideal is to be able to live a life where you don't even think about having a healthy bowel movement.
As your body becomes healthier through intestinal activity, your body becomes more sensitive to small inconsistencies such as eating too much junk food or drinking too much alcohol. By doing so, you will naturally avoid binge eating.
Let's make intestinal life a habit in a style that suits you without overdoing it.
What is intestinal activity that regulates the body? Its effects and how to continue without strain ②
Can you feel the change in your intestinal activity within 2 weeks?
It is said that effects can often be seen as early as two weeks after starting intestinal activity. If you feel even the slightest effect, your motivation will increase.
There are individual differences in how easily the effects are felt, but I often hear people say that their stools have changed significantly.
Your bowel movements, which used to be once a week, will now be once every two or three days, and before you know it, you will be having bowel movements once a day...and this will likely improve your constipation.
Also, some people who have bowel movements every day may not notice any particular changes. However, it is said that it is desirable to have a so-called ``easy stool'' without straining. If you are able to pass stool easily and there is no feeling of incomplete stool, it can be said that the intestinal environment is changing for the better.
Some people also say that their chronic headaches have been alleviated.
When the unnecessary things that have accumulated in the body are removed, the body may move in a positive direction.
However, if you stop doing intestinal activities just because they are effective, your body will quickly return to its normal state. It is important to continue your intestinal health, which is linked to your daily lifestyle.
Let's check the condition of the intestines
How can I tell if my intestinal activity is having an effect?
As mentioned above, you can check your intestinal flora at the hospital, but you can tell whether your intestinal environment has changed just by observing the condition of your stool without going to the hospital.
5 check points for changes in stool due to intestinal activity
1, Number of bowel movements
For people who only had a bowel movement once a week when they started their bowel movements, it can be said that their intestinal environment has improved if the frequency increases to three or more times a week.
If you have always had a bowel movement every day, be sure to pay attention to whether the bowel movements come out without force or if there is a feeling of incomplete bowel movements.
It is also important to have your bowel movements at roughly the same time each day.
2, Hardness of stool
The stools commonly found in people with constipation are hard and lumpy, resembling rabbit stool. Conversely, people with diarrhea tend to have loose stools that are too soft.
The ideal hardness is said to be smooth, soft, and banana-shaped.
Stool hardness and shape are divided into seven grades on the Bristol Scale. Stages 3 to 5 are considered normal stool types.
What is the Bristol Scale?
It was developed in 1997 at Bristol Royal Infirmary in the United Kingdom as a clinical assessment tool. It is used to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments for various intestinal diseases and to supplement clinical communication.
3, color of stool
You may not be able to take a close look at it, but to check your intestinal environment, check not only the frequency and sensation, but also the color. It is important to know what kind of stool is being excreted when your body is in good condition by observing it every day.
Stool color is influenced by bilirubin, a component produced by bile. Changes in the color of bilirubin also change the color of stool.
If your intestines are acidic, your stool will be yellowish in color, and if your intestines are alkaline, your stool will be dark brown.
When the intestinal environment is in good condition due to intestinal activity, there are many good bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria, so the intestine becomes slightly acidic. In this case, the color of the stool will be yellowish.
In other words, when the intestinal environment is good, stools are yellowish-brown to brown in color.
4, Smell of stool
When we think of stool, we tend to think of something smelly, but it is said that when the intestinal environment is in good condition, the smell of stool is not so bad. (Of course there are individual differences)
When the intestinal environment is not good, there will be an abundance of bad bacteria, and odor-causing substances such as ammonia and indole will rot and produce odors.
Bad bacteria multiply by feeding on protein and fat. This may be the reason why your stools and farts are smelly the day after eating a lot of meat.
If your stool doesn't smell that bad, it may be a sign that your intestinal health is working.
5, Flight time
It is also important to have a rhythm in which your bowel movements occur at a fixed time every day.
Intestinal activities may have helped to improve the intestinal environment, and it can be said that intestinal activities have created a healthy lifestyle rhythm.
Diseases that can be prevented or improved by improving the intestinal environment
It is said that adjusting the intestinal environment through intestinal activity has various positive effects on the body.
Prevention and improvement of lifestyle-related diseases
When the intestinal environment is adjusted through intestinal activity, nutrients from food can be properly absorbed.
The absorbed nutrients are said to have the effect of making the blood thinner. When nutrients are absorbed without wastage, immunity is also improved, which can be expected to reduce the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.
Reduced risk of colorectal cancer
Research has shown that there is a strong relationship between intestinal bacteria and colorectal cancer.
When the number of bad bacteria increases, the number of harmful substances increases and the immune system decreases. This means that the immune system of the intestine itself is weakened, and its resistance to carcinogenic substances is also weakened.
On the other hand, when the number of good bacteria increases, the harmful substances produced by bad bacteria become harmless.
When there are a lot of good bacteria, the intestines are kept slightly acidic, and bad bacteria that don't like acidity decrease. Beneficial bacteria feed on dietary fiber and produce lactic acid, acetic acid, butyric acid, etc. It has also been discovered that the butyric acid produced here has the ability to suppress the development of cancer. In other words, increasing and nurturing good bacteria can help prevent colon cancer.
The gut is also called the second brain. Depression is often thought of as a mental problem caused by excessive stress, but the number of enteric nerves in the intestines, said to be about 100 million, is said to be second only to the brain.
The human body is controlled by the brain, but the intestines seem to have the ability to make decisions on their own. This is why it is called the second brain and may be a cause of depression.
In fact, many patients suffering from depression also suffer from irregular bowel movements, diarrhea, and constipation.
If you've ever heard someone say that your stomach hurts when you're nervous, you may need to be careful.
When the brain feels stress, abnormalities occur in the intestines, and when the balance of the intestinal environment is disrupted, that stress is transmitted to the brain and can cause you to become unwell, or if it persists, you may be diagnosed with depression.
Depending on the cause, it can be difficult to eliminate the stress your mind is feeling, including identifying the cause.
You can start working on your intestinal health right away. Adjusting the intestinal environment may help balance the autonomic nervous system and prevent depression.
Intestinal bacteria are also said to send serotonin and dopamine to the brain. The brain that receives serotonin and dopamine may feel happy, be mentally satisfied, and have a stable mind.
The key to intestinal activity is nurturing the bacteria inside you.
What happens in the intestines when we engage in intestinal activity through food, perfecting our daily rhythms, and exercising?
Fermented foods, dietary fiber, and oligosaccharides that are said to be good for intestinal activity each have their own role.
Fermented foods are probiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms that work beneficially to balance intestinal flora.
It is found in fermented milk such as yogurt, which contains bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria, which are representative of good bacteria, as well as natto, miso, and kimchi. However, Bifidobacterium is weak and it is said to be very difficult to deliver it alive to the large intestine.
Even if the animal is not delivered alive, it is important to continue taking it. This is because even if lactic acid bacteria die, they can serve as food for other bacteria.
Furthermore, the following prebiotics help with this function.
Dietary fiber and oligosaccharides are prebiotics
Prebiotics serve as food for intestinal bacteria and encourage their growth.
Oligosaccharides are well-known, but the most notable is kestose , a naturally occurring carbohydrate found in onions, pumpkins, and asparagus.
The major feature is that it reaches the large intestine without being digested as a nutrient source for useful bacteria. This allows the bacteria already in your intestines to grow and multiply.
Even if you work on your intestinal health, it is not easy to increase the number of bacteria in your intestines. Let's nurture the good bacteria that are already in the intestines and improve the intestinal environment.
Bad intestinal habits that worsen the intestinal environment
Irregular eating habits/unbalanced meal menu
When your eating habits are disrupted, the intestinal environment, which is directly connected to food, is also disrupted. Eat a regular diet that includes foods that are known to be good for intestinal health, and try to stabilize the state of your intestines.
Eating too quickly is also not good. If you eat in a hurry because you don't have time, it will not be effective even if the intestinal menu is designed to be difficult to digest.
In addition to bifidobacteria, lactic acid bacteria, and butyric acid bacteria, it is said that there are approximately 1,000 types of bacteria in the intestines. In order to maintain that number, it is said that it is necessary to have a multi-item meal menu.
Make sure to set aside regular meal times and take your time to just eat.
Smoking is thought to cause an increase in bad bacteria.
It is said that it not only affects the bacteria in the intestines, but also the bacteria in the oral cavity.
drinking too much alcohol
It is believed that excessive consumption of alcohol can also increase the amount of bad bacteria. Bad bacteria in the intestines increase and the intestinal flora is disturbed.
Lack of sleep
Lack of sleep leads to disturbances in the autonomic nervous system. As I mentioned in the depression prevention section, it is said that there is a close relationship between the disturbance of the autonomic nervous system and the intestines. Continuing lack of sleep can cause disturbances in the intestinal environment.
Also, even if you have a good amount of sleep, if your day and night are reversed, your body clock will be thrown out of sync, which is not good.
Among the autonomic nervous systems, if the sympathetic nervous system, which transmits exciting stimuli throughout the body, continues to be dominant, it can lead to disturbances in the intestinal environment. It manifests as symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Lack of exercise
If you don't move your body, your bowel movements will slow down. When the peristaltic movement of the intestines becomes weak, digestion becomes difficult and puts a strain on the digestive system. It can also have a negative impact on the intestinal environment.
Lifestyle that changes with intestinal activity
Intestinal health requires a multifaceted approach, including diet, lifestyle, and exercise.
If you incorporate it as a part of your life wherever you can, it will lead to a chain reaction that will cause you to review your entire lifestyle.
If you make a few changes to your diet, you may no longer tolerate large amounts of alcohol, or you may find yourself drinking more water when you exercise or going to bed earlier.
If your body naturally moves in a comfortable direction, I think you will be able to continue your intestinal activity without any difficulty.