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
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.