By Yesim Sert Karaaslan
ANKARA (AA) - The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthy eating plans that contributes to the growth of microbiota – a colony of friendly microorganisms in the human body -- helping to perform various functions.
Experts believe that besides combining nutrition and culinary tastes, the Mediterranean diet that includes fresh produce, grain, legumes, fish and healthy fats, is an ideal form of nutrition for microbiota. The microbiota or microbes live in human body, especially in the intestines. They protect human body from many diseases and also help in the digestion of food. They breakdown fibers, proteins and carbohydrates into food vital for the functioning of human cells.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Head of Pediatric, Probiotic, Prebiotic and Microbiota Association, Ener Cagri Dinleyici, said some 95% of microorganisms live in intestines. He said the protection of microbiota is important for a healthy life. About 100 trillion of microorganism create a microbiota.
The consumption of industrial and processed products have a negative impact on their growth and thus affects the human body, which may include causing obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, depression as well as antibiotic resistance.
“Rather than popular recommendations, nutrition based on person’s own geography with cultural richness is more important,” he told Anadolu Agency, while counting the benefits of Mediterranean diet.
- Microbiota in babies
Dinleyici stressed that babies develop microbiota ahead of their birth. “Therefore, an expectant mother should follow a balanced diet, during pregnancy and have a healthy psychology.”
The leading pediatrician also recommended using natural birth techniques, cautioning that the cesarean section destroys the balance of microbiota in babies. Further, he said, breastfeeding up to two years also has a positive effect on baby’s microbiota, which lasts for entire life.
Recent studies have shown that there are different types of bacteria in human milk, which, together with probiotics, have positive effects on the baby's digestive and immune systems. The necessary use of antibiotics also damage microbiota, the expert said, stressing that they must be used only under proper medical supervision.
Leading pediatrician also suggested that children should spend time in nature for a healthy life. “The presence of dogs at home at the time of pregnancy also has a positive effect on the child's immune system,” said the professor, quoting several studies. A non-smoking parent also contributes to the health and growth of child’s microbiota.
*Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur