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It’s no secret that if you want to strengthen your immune system (something we all want to do at this time of year), you have to start with your gut. Your intestines are the key to great health, and when you provide a good home to your good bacteria, you’re subsequently telling the bad bacteria to get lost,
While there are many factors that determine just how healthy your gut is at any given time, an ideal ratio of good to bad bacteria is essential. That is, you need more good than bad and that can be difficult to attain at this time of year. Wintertime is full of bugs, booze, and baking: things bad bacteria thrive on.
So let me help you out. Here are 5 ways to increase the good guys, decrease the bad ones, and give your gut a great start to strengthen your immune system :
This is SUCH an easy way to increase the good guys in your gut. A daily dose of good quality probiotics can make a huge difference in your gut health.
Tip: buy probiotics that are displayed in a refrigerator, and make sure to keep them cold at home, too. These supplements are full of living bacteria and have a very short shelf life once they reach room temperature.
Excess sugar depletes the immune system. It’s completely unnecessary, and over consumed by just about everyone. Food that contains naturally-occurring sugars are fine; things as fruit and whole grains. But abstain from candy, baking, chocolate, alcohol, fruit juice, and anything else that is loaded with added sugar. Believe me, you’ll thank yourself for this move: you’ll feel better, have more energy, clearer skin, and a much healthier immune system. (Not to mention losing a few post-holiday pounds!)
This has nothing to do with losing weight. When you eat more than you need to, it creates strain on your digestive tract and throws your organs into a panic. For good bacteria to do its job properly, it needs to work what’s within its limits, and overeating on a consistent basis does not help these guys. If you want the good bacteria to thrive, then feed it what it can handle.
Tip: Don’t eat until you feel full; eat until you don’t feel hungry anymore. When you reach 80%, stop. (This is also a good tip for those with IBS.)
I DO NOT MEAN BOOZE, PEOPLE! Fermented foods come in the form of sauerkraut, good quality, plain Greek yogurt, kombucha, organic miso, organic tempeh, and kimchi. By adding these probiotic powerhouses to your meal plans, you will increase the number of enzymes you consume, which will aid the good bacteria.
Yep I mean in the bathroom. When you become constipated and stool backs up, friendly bacteria become completely overrun with the bad guys. Bad bacteria LOVE poop. Don’t let them have it make sure you are using the toilet at least once a day to keep the bad guys in check, and the good guys happy.
Tip: Upon waking, drink one liter of room-temperature water before putting anything else in your body. This will kick-start the digestive process.
There you have it! 5 ways to improve the health of your gut, ASAP. xo