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Start Taking This One Thing Now To Avoid The Flu This Winter
During the dog days of summer, the last thing anyone is thinking about are the upcoming flu shots that will be pushed on the public starting around October or the flu season, which typically starts in November.
However, the time to start thinking about how to avoid the flu, and that unnecessary flu shot, is right now! You can take steps right now to strengthen your immune system over the next few weeks and avoid not only that unnecessary flu shot, but the flu as well.
One of the most important tools at your disposal is probiotics.
About 80 percent of your immune system is found in the digestive system, so it only makes sense that by consuming plenty of these healthy bacteria, we can bolster our immune system.
Let’s not forget that a strong immune system is your first line of defense against ALL disease, not just viruses like the flu. To keep your immune system strong and healthy, you need to have a digestive system that is strong and healthy. You need a ratio of about 85 percent of the good bacteria and 15 percent of the bad bacteria, which keeps the good bacteria in check.
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Just how important is probiotics? Researchers in one study found that in a trial done with 3- to 5-year-olds who were given either a single strain of probiotics or a combination of probiotics twice a day, that when compared to the placebo group, these children had 53 percent fewer fevers and 73 percent fewer coughs; 62 percent fewer runny noses; and 84 percent less need for antibiotics.
Your immune system is a highly complex structure which defends your body from daily attacks, including different types of bacteria and viruses.
In another study, recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition, it was discovered that probiotics, especially the bifidobacterium bifidum strain, were very effective when it came to fighting off cold and flu viruses. This study was a double blind, placebo controlled study which looked at the effects of probiotic supplements and highly stressed out students. Psychological stress is one of the leading factors when it comes to inhibiting the immune system. This study found that students who were given B. bifidum probiotics had fewer sick days among the 581 subjects over the six-week study period.
Diet and lifestyle are two of the major components for keeping your immune system in top working order. Stress plays a huge part in our overall health, and not managing it properly is a sure way to leave yourself more susceptible to the cold or the flu.
In many cultures, foods and drinks that are rich in probiotics are frequently served. Foods and drinks such as sauerkraut, kefir, and lassi are served on a regular basis. Now, if you tend to eat a diet rich in fermented foods that have not been pasteurized (meaning they are homemade), then you most likely have a very healthy digestive system and don’t need to worry about the upcoming flu season.
However, for everyone else, chances are excellent that your gut bacteria, and therefore your immune system, is not in the best working order.
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This is not good news when you consider the importance of having a balanced digestive system. Good bacteria are essential for:
- The proper digestion of food
- The proper absorption of nutrients
- Protection from the over-growth of microorganisms, which can lead to disease
- The proper support and development of your immune system
Probiotics are also very important for numerous functions in the body including:
- Providing vital support for the immune system
- The digestion and absorption of carbohydrates
- Preventing allergies (Probiotics train the immune system to recognize the difference between non-harmful antigens, such as pollen, and real pathogens which cause disease)
- Removing toxins
- The proper absorption of minerals
- Keeping the bad bacteria under control
- Producing necessary vitamins
Of course there are other factors that can interrupt your immune system function including stress, antibiotics, and environmental toxins. However, since probiotics are mostly absent in our modern day diet, this is perhaps the simplest means of improving and strengthening your immune system.
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If you want to be virtually immune to the cold and flu virus this fall and winter, you need to start making healthy changes right now. Taking a probiotic supplement after you have the flu is too late to make any difference. It takes about six to eight weeks to strengthen your immune system so start making those changes today!
What else can you do?
- Find ways to manage your stress levels. Practice meditation, yoga, exercise, or get therapy if you feel that your stress is taking a serious toll on your health.
- Get plenty of vitamin D. Having optimal levels of vitamin D will help you fight all different types of infections and intruders. A very large study has shown that people with the lowest levels of vitamin D have more frequent bouts with the flu, colds, and other respiratory infections.
- Limit or avoid refined sugar. Sugar inhibits the immune function.
- Get plenty of rest. Most people need between 7 to 9 hours of rest each night. When your body is tired, it cannot fight off bacteria and viruses.
- Get at least some exercise most days. When you are exercising, you are increasing the flow of blood throughout the body. This means that certain components of your immune system also get circulated, which means that your immune system can seek out and find intruders before they get a foot hold in your body.
- Get your omega-3’s. Although many plants have omega-3’s, these are not fully converted by the body. If you don’t eat three servings of fish each week, take fish oil or krill oil supplement, which is vital for maintaining good health.
- Wash your hands, but not to excess. Washing your hands will greatly decrease your chances of spreading a virus to you or to others, but overwashing will remove the skin’s natural protective layer, and this will leave you vulnerable to infection. Also, don’t use antibacterial soaps, which are increasing the amount of super bugs in this world. Regular soap and water kills bacteria just as well.
Stay healthy naturally this coming flu season by consuming plenty of probiotics today.
Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov: ascorbic acid for the immune system