Keeping your gut healthy will do more to help you avoid colds and the flu this season then you think…Did you know that you have billions of bacteria living in your gut? These bacteria are classified as either “good or friendly” or “bad/unfriendly” bacteria. Good bacteria are called probiotics (meaning “for life”). These good bacteria help maintain a healthy gut and fight illness and disease. Ideally, a healthy gut contains 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria. Unfortunately, most of us have the exact opposite ratio!
There are many factors which can cause an imbalance in your gut. The most likely factors are an unhealthy diet high in processed food and sugar, high stress, chlorinated water, and antibiotic use. When your gut contains more unfriendly bacteria than it should, your immune system suffers. To strengthen your immune system, increase the amount of probiotics in your diet.
Initial symptoms of an unhealthy gut include constipation, bloating, gas, and poor absorption of nutrients. This can lead to more serious illnesses and diseases such as candida, heart disease, or diabetes.
Certain foods naturally contain probiotics, including plain yogurt, raw sauerkraut and fermented soy products such as tempeh and miso. If you feel your natural gut flora may be out of balance, it will be difficult to get the amount you need directly from food sources. You should consider seeking out high quality probiotic supplements to increase your friendly bacteria. Look for a probiotic supplement that contains billions of live bacteria including the bifidobacteria and lactobacillis strains.