Stating that our acquaintance with friendly bacteria that protects our immunity begins with normal birth, Assoc. Dr. Mehtap Kılıç, Member of the Turkish National Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (AID) said, “Avoiding products with high chemical content, reducing unnecessary drug use, and a healthy and balanced diet are the first conditions to protect our flora.”
Our body has a community of microorganisms that try to maintain our natural balance and prevent the growth of disease-causing microbes. The protection process of these friendly bacteria, called flora, starts with normal birth, then continues for life with healthy nutrition. Stating that protecting our flora is important for a strong immunity, Assoc. Dr. Mehtap Kılıç, Member of the Turkish National Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (AID) shared her suggestions on the subject.
How does our flora change?
Vaginal birth introduces baby to friendly bacteria
Noting that our flora has started to come into contact with the external environment since its birth, Assoc. Dr. Mehtap Kılıç, Member of the Turkish National Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (AID), made the following statement, “The diversity of flora, which started in the womb with the contributions of the genetic background, encounters a large number of microorganisms both through respiration and nutrition over time. The mode of birth plays an important role in the healthy formation of the flora at the very beginning of life. The flora diversity of the baby born with the vaginal flora of the mother and the baby born by contacting the skin flora via cesarean section will not be the same. Again, while feeding with breast milk supports the continuity and development of healthy flora, the flora is shaped in different ways depending on the content of the foods used when necessary. For this reason, many foods today are supplemented with probiotics that enrich the flora. Intestinal flora, which constitutes the basic and largest part of our flora, undergoes negative changes in relation to unhealthy diet and drug use, especially antibiotics.”
Why is our flora important?
Our flora in the skin and intestines protects us from diseases
Declaring that every inch of our skin contains more than one million bacteria that help protect the skin, Assoc. Dr. Mehtap Kılıç said, “The flora on the skin functions as a broad and dynamic interface that cooperates with the immune system. It works as a physical barrier against the external environment and prevents the internal invasion of disease-causing pathogens, irritants and allergens.” Underlining that the flora in our intestines provides a similar effect inside, Kılıç said, “Intestinal flora, which is accepted as the second brain today, plays a significant role in the prevention of many diseases. Because the deterioration of the barrier here causes many disease-causing factors to leak from the intestine and spread to the body and start unwanted inflammatory events. Allergic diseases are just one of them.”
How do we protect our flora?
Prebiotics ensure the healthy reproduction of our flora
Emphasizing the importance of preferring normal birth in our first step to life, except for emergencies, Assoc. Dr. Mehtap Kılıç said, “Providing nutrition as breast milk is very important for the baby to start with a healthy flora.” Adding that diet is the most important environmental factor that determines the intestinal microbiota content, Kılıç made the following statement, “Healthy and balanced nutrition is the first condition for protecting the flora. A diet rich in foods that ensure the healthy reproduction of our flora, which we call prebiotics, must be provided. The main prebiotic -containing foods are blueberries, raspberries, pears, apples, bananas, watermelon, spinach, chard, broccoli, peas, leeks, artichokes, asparagus and whole grains (wheat, barley, bulgur, oats). The amount of fiber in the diet should also be increased with foods such as leeks, artichokes, bananas and apples. Again, consumption of fermented products such as yoghurt, kefir and pickles should be supported.”
Chemical ingredients should be avoided!
Drawing attention to the need to stay away from products with high chemical content, Assoc. Dr. Mehtap Kılıç said, “Because the products we frequently use in our daily life, such as cosmetics, antibacterials, soaps, shampoos, perfumes and deodorants, also disrupt the balance of our flora, so care should be taken to avoid such products.”
Pointing out that one of the factors that most disrupt the healthy flora today is the use of antibiotics, Assoc. Dr. Kılıç recommended the use of probiotics when using antibiotics when absolutely necessary, as antibiotics that cannot distinguish between disease-causing and healthy bacteria in our flora will cause serious losses in our friendly bacteria. Assoc. Dr. Kılıç said, “Since many stomach drugs that affect stomach acidity can complicate the living conditions of our healthy flora and pave the way for the increase of pathogenic ones, it is important to pay attention to the careful use of such drugs when necessary.”