Fall is here, and that means that cold and flu season has arrived. Have you ever noticed that some people rarely get sick? Or maybe you have wondered why after being exposed to the same virus, one person gets ill while the other remains well.
The reason usually lies in the strength of the immune system. And the strength of your immune system is largely dependent upon the condition of your digestive system. I talk a lot about your digestive system because a lot of what is going on in other parts of our bodies stems from our digestive system.
When you or I are exposed to bad bacteria or viruses, it’s up to our immune system to protect us from being infected. If our immune system is strong, our body will fight off the threat. If our immune system is weak or compromised, we may end up sick.
(Don't feel like reading? No worries - just watch the video above - the same information is covered there.)
Microbes: the good, the bad, and the ugly
Inside our digestive system are many microbes. Microbes are live organisms that affect our overall health.
Some of these organisms are beneficial and protect us from disease. These good bacteria recognize when illness-producing intruders enter our body; they promptly attack the intruders so we do not get sick.
If we do not have enough good bacteria in our gut, we will be more susceptible not only to infections such as colds and stomach flu, but we will also be at risk for autoimmune diseases such as colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.
Ideally you have a large supply of these good microbes living in your gut. But they can easily become depleted. If you have recently taken antibiotics, you have had not only the bad bacteria wiped out, but also the good bacteria.
Antibiotics are not selective in their destruction.
Antibiotics are not the only way that good bacteria become depleted in your digestive system. The chlorine in your drinking water can destroy them, as can the pesticide residue on the food that you eat.
Once the supply of beneficial microbes in your intestines dwindles, bad microbes such as yeast, fungi and disease-causing bacteria begin to take up residence. When the scale tips in favor of the bad, your immune system becomes compromised.
If you think you might be deficient in good microbes, it is not difficult to remedy the problem. The solution is to take probiotics. Probiotics are good microbes that you can consume in your diet. They then settle in your digestive system and get to work protecting you from illness, and destroying the bad bacteria that may be living there.
Probiotics are available in capsule form, but you can also replenish the good microbes by eating foods that contain probiotics, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, kimchi or kombucha.
Now if you don’t regularly eat or drink any of the foods I just mentioned, then it’s a good idea to take a probiotic supplement. Chances are, some of the foods I mentioned sounded like I was speaking another language - I get it.
Check the label on your yogurt that you buy to make sure it says that it contains active cultures - those are the good bacteria that you need to eat, and please check the label for the sugar content, because if it’s high in sugar, you’re defeating the purpose. Bad bacteria feed on sugar. So keeping your sugar as low as possible will do wonders for your digestive system and therefore, for your immune system.
By taking action now you’ll get a head start on this year’s cold and flu season. You can get ahead of the game by improving your gut function and fighting illness.
If you have any questions or comments be sure to leave them below.
Also, be on the lookout soon for a FREE 5-Day Sugar-Free Challenge that I’ll be offering soon.
It will be the perfect way to get a head start on boosting your immune system and fighting off those nasty germs and viruses.
May Anne xo
Today I want to talk to you about Digestion, and the significant role it plays in not only weight loss, but in so many illnesses and disease.
Don't feel like reading? That's ok, I've created a video (above) with the same content, for those who prefer to watch and not read :)
Our digestive system is where our nutrients get assimilated and absorbed (or not.) And I say ‘or not’ because if our digestive system isn’t functioning well, then we’re not absorbing all of the nutrients we’re taking in. This is where you often see someone deficient in a nutrient, even though they consume plenty of it.
Some signs that you may have an imbalance in your digestive system include: headaches, bowel issues like constipation or diarrhea or a combination of both, bloating & gas, especially after eating, depression, being overweight, bad breath and low energy. It can also cause you to feel unwell and uncomfortable after eating. You may also have been diagnosed as having IBS by a doctor.
An underactive digestive system can also promote weight gain and inhibits fat loss. When the body becomes over-toxic, it works inefficiently, slowing down the elimination process.
The immune system and other vital functions also begin to slow down.
I suffered for years with digestive issues like bloating and not feeling well after eating, and every doctor I saw chalked it up to IBS. It wasn’t until I started studying nutrition that I recognized that what I had was an underactive stomach and I needed to work on supporting my digestive system, so I could be free from the discomfort and bloating every time I ate.
The good news is, there are ways to support your digestive system, which will help with weight loss and help you to feel better.
I’m going to share a few of the tips that helped me the most:
Digestive system issues are one of the most common underlying problems that people have, and are a common reason why women are unable to lose weight easily.
When I do individual assessments with clients, digestive issues are often easily uncovered.
In light of Thanksgiving just around the corner, I’ve decided to offer a Thanksgiving special on my 3-month wellness plan until Thanksgiving Monday. I’ve included the link at the bottom of this page.
One of my favourite ways to work with clients is 1:1, where I can sit down with them either in person or via Skype and do a complete assessment with them. Since everyone one of us is unique with our own specific needs, health status and comfort level, a complete assessment allows me to make more personalized recommendations, and I can detect any system imbalances that may be present while working at the clients’ pace, with their goals, likes and dislikes in mind.
We can then work on supporting those system imbalances, so that they will no longer be in the way of them achieving their goals.
If you’re wondering if a personalized assessment might be right for you, but you’re not sure, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can chat about it and see if it’s right for you.
I hope you have a fabulous and healthy day.
May Anne xo
A common issue that I come across when coaching women is belly bloat and gas, caused by digestive issues. Aside from the inner discomfort, it can be downright embarrassing to walk around looking 5 months pregnant, when you’re not.
Click on the video above for tips to beat embarrassing belly bloat and gas.
If would like to be notified of the next start date for my 6-week slim-down program, just send me an email at email@example.com.
May Anne xo
A healthy digestive system is the key to overall health, and participating in regular exercise will help improve digestion and elimination.
Different types of exercise can play different roles in the body. While cardiovascular exercise strengthens the muscles of the abdomen and stimulates the intestinal muscles to move contents through the digestive system, extreme exercise like running can actually cause negative effects on the body.
So, to help support Digestion, choose light to moderate exercise that increases heart rate and breathing, which will also help produce more efficient bowel movements.
Today's challenge - if you have the option, why not take the stairs up and down a few times today instead of the elevator or park the car extra far away from the store? Every little step counts - literally :)
May Anne xo
Some of the most common digestive issues we face include heartburn and intestinal discomfort due to bloating and gas. While these symptoms can be associated with other conditions, most often they are due to the type of food we have eaten.
Heartburn, (gastric reflux), is a common gastro-intestinal symptom with a number of dietary triggers. These include coffee and other caffeinated beverages, alcohol, citrus fruits, tomato products, fatty foods and spicy foods. This burning sensation in the lower chest is the result of acid from the stomach entering the esophagus, causing irritation. Simple steps to avoid heartburn include identifying and removing trigger foods from your diet and not overeating.
With excess bloating due to intestinal gas, there are many potential sources. Over-eating and inadequate chewing of food are common causes.
In fact, a lot of our intestinal gas that can cause discomfort is due to swallowing air with the food we eat.
What can we do about it?
Take your time with meals and thoroughly chew food, which will contribute to less swallowed air.
Gas can also be produced by the intestinal bacteria that are fermenting undigested fibre and starches in our food. This happens in the lower gastro-intestinal tract. Ensuring a healthy balance of bacteria is an important step towards proper digestion. To boost these good bacteria, consider introducing a daily probiotic supplement, gradually. Give it a week or two for the healthy flora to become established.
Digestive health is essential to our overall health. A well functioning Digestive tract allows us to absorb the essential nutrients our bodies need to thrive. There are simple steps you can take to reduce your chances of common digestive issues like heartburn and bloating, and natural health products specific to digestive health can support your often overlooked inner ecosystem.
Here are some tips for supporting your digestive health:
May Anne Jordens-LaFlamme is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and the owner of "Wellness with May Anne." She is passionate about helping women look and feel their best, so they can live a more fulfilling life - without dieting, deprivation, relying on willpower or cooking separate meals for the family.