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Although the benefits of aloe vera for the skin are very well known today, they’re not the only ones. You’re probably already familiar with the refreshing Aloe vera drink, and you’ll know that it’s rich in vitamins A, B, C and E, as well as calcium, magnesium and zinc. But did you know you can also use Aloe vera for intestinal problems? Specifically, it’s good for taking care of your gut microbiome.
What is it and why is it important to take care of your gut flora
Gut flora makes up part of the bacteria that live in our body. Not only do we have beneficial bacteria in our bowels, but we also have them in our mouth, nose, and on our skin. However, 95% of them are found in the colon, which is why they’re so well known. They’re part of us from the day we are born.
Gut flora, or the microbiome, lives symbiotically in our body. In other words, we live off each other. Do you want to know why it’s so good for us? The main reasons are the following:
• It helps digestion. To be able to absorb nutrients from food, we need them to be broken down into their basic parts. This way, they can pass through the small intestine’s walls and reach the cells. Not only are digestive juices necessary for this, but bacteria are also needed. They also prevent discomfort in the digestive tract while promoting a smoother digestion.
• It influences insulin levels. Gut flora helps carbohydrates to ferment naturally in the gut, maintaining insulin at the desired level. In this way, it prevents diabetes.
• It protects against infections. These “good” bacteria compete against the “bad” kind, keeping those that cause gastroenteritis away.
• It produces vitamin K. This is a vitamin that is necessary for proper blood clotting.
• It strengthens your immune system. As well as preventing intestinal infections, these bacteria strengthen your white blood cells to fight against other types of infections.
Taking antibiotics eliminates both “good” and “bad” bacteria in the gut. This is why many people suffer from diarrhoea or intestinal pain after taking them. Taking Aloe vera or other probiotics after finishing the treatment is a good way to restore the gut microbiome.
Foods that help to regulate gut flora
We now know the relationship between Aloe vera and its properties for the gut. Yet, there are other types of food that can help to regulate intestinal flora.
Fruits and vegetables
On the one hand, they regulate bowel transit thanks to their fibre content. Fruits, vegetables and even whole grains help your gut flora considerably, but not all of them are equally beneficial.
Vegetables with the highest probiotic content include artichokes, onions, garlic, chicory and asparagus. As for fruits, the richest in probiotics are apples, pineapples, cranberries, red berries and oranges.
These are fermented foods, such as different types of yoghurt, kefir and sauerkraut. Any kind of yoghurt is good, it doesn’t necessarily have to be fermented with a specific type of bacteria. While it’s not necessary to eat probiotics several times a day, it’s good to consume them regularly, whether we prefer having one yoghurt a day or a bit of sauerkraut with our meals.
These consist of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) or fructans, resistant starch, maltodextrin, lactulose and galactooligosaccharides (GOS), found in breast milk. These foods have a beneficial effect on the gut microbiome.
This is because they contain inulin, a prebiotic that has proved to be efficient against constipation in the elderly, as it helps to restore bifidobacteria that lessen with age. Prebiotics can also contain fructans, which keep the bacteria in our gut healthy. They are present in dandelions, garlic, onions, artichokes, asparagus, chicory and agave. Prebiotics are also found in bananas and other fruits, honey, leeks, soy and other pulses.
On the other hand, whole grains and seeds are all very good for gut flora and we should regularly include them in our diet. In particular, wheat or oats, as well as other grains.
Starchy foods, such as potatoes and sweet potatoes, provide us with probiotics, but only if we consume them in a certain way: they must be left to cool after cooking them. In this way, resistant starch is produced, which is a source of probiotics.
One of the main properties of Aloe vera is that it balances gut flora. Yet this doesn’t mean that you can drink the leaves’ juice directly, since it requires prior preparation in order to be healthy.
For example, you can make a healthy drink using Aloe vera for the colon, with one leaf from the plant, the juice of one lemon and one litre of water. Cook the Aloe vera, lemon juice and a glass of water until they boil, and then leave the mixture to rest for 10 minutes. Then add the remaining water and stevia, if you want it sweeter, and leave it to cool.
What’s more, we can use aloe vera juice for constipation. This is very important for our well-being, since constipation causes other problems such as colon cancer, anal fissures and rectal ulcers, among others. Taking Aloe vera for bowel transit and maintaining a balanced diet rich in fibres can prevent them.
Acemannan, a substance found in the leaves, is responsible for the benefits of Aloe vera for the immune system. It increases our defences, adding to the effect of probiotics to strengthen your immune system.
To this we add that, by helping to reinforce gut flora, Aloe vera promotes digestion and the absorption of nutrients in the digestive tract. This also facilitates bowel movements, thus preventing gas problems and abdominal pain.
So, include this wonderful plant as a supplement for a healthy diet and check out the properties of Aloe vera for intestinal problems. You’ll also see how you suffer from less illnesses and you’ll get the most out of the nutrients in food. In addition, in Finca Canarias you can get products with aloe vera in a simple way. Summing up, you’ll feel better!