Back-to-school means back to germs. It’s no wonder that cold and flu season starts shortly after the school year begins! Dr. Brenda Watson, New York Times bestselling author and host of the PBS health show The Road to Perfect Health shares a few tips on how we can ward off those sick days. A digestive care expert and founder of Renew Life (a supplement company located in Oakville, Ontario), she strongly recommends taking a probiotic supplement daily to strengthen our immune systems.
The term probiotics is derived from the Greek pro (for) and bios (life) with the resulting meaning “for life” or “life-promoting.” Simply put, they are the good bugs that help keep our gut healthy. Considering 80% of our immune system is found in our bodies’ digestive tract this means if your gut is imbalanced… so is your immune system. Probiotics help to balance intestinal environments and inhibit growth of pathogenic organisms.
Many people think eating yogurt is enough to rebalance the good vs. bad bacteria. It’s true that all yogurt is cultured with probiotics, but not all contains live cultures in the finished product. This is because yogurt must be pasteurized or heated to kill off potentially pathogenic bacteria. Unfortunately, this also kills off the beneficial bacteria the yogurt was cultured with. Taking a probiotic supplement can be a much more effective way to rebalance good digestive tract bacteria.
If you’re wondering how much probiotic you should be taking daily, Dr. Watson suggests taking a minimum of 2 billion cfu (colony forming unit) to maintain good health. She also advises doing the following to further support immunity.
• Wash your hands regularly
• Get plenty of sleep
• Drink lots of water
• Eat a healthy diet of whole foods like fruits, veggies, grains, nuts, seeds and lean meats. (A diet based on whole foods delivers the vitamins, minerals and fiber your body needs)
• Avoid processed foods and sugar (as mentioned, sugar in any form quickly suppresses the immune system by paralyzing white blood cells)
• Supplement with a good multivitamin
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Stop smoking
• Reduce and manage stress
Visit www.renewlife.ca to see her comprehensive line of probiotic supplements and to find out which probiotic is right for you. Go to www.brendawatson.com and follow Dr. Watson on twitter/facebook, get expert advice and stay up-to-date with the latest natural health news.