By Lauren Cooper, Contributing Writer
As we enter the season of warm coats, hats and gloves, it is important to keep in mind that our immune system needs protection, too! During the cold winter months, there are multiple chances for catching unwanted germs and harmful bacteria. Some people take vitamin C to help boost their immune systems and ward off illness. We are living organisms and our bodies’ intestines hold many different strains of bacteria. As it turns out, we are all more bacteria than human. It is crucial to have a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics. Nutritional health coach Brooke Seiz says, “I take probiotics every day. Everything is rooted in the gut.”
When we have more bad bacteria than good, it can have a negative impact on our digestive system. Scientists discovered that changes in our natural intestinal flora, such as antibiotics can have a negative effect on the immune system. It is mindful to stay on track with a probiotic supplement, your gut will thank you in the long run. Most good basic multi-strain probiotic supplements can be found at your local natural or health food store. Another source of ingesting probiotics is through foods such as yogurt. They provide healthy bacteria as well as fermented foods, such as sauerkraut or kimchi, a Korean dish made from fermented vegetables.
Maintaining a healthy enzyme balance is another great way to boost digestion. “The pancreas creates enzymes that are released into the intestines,” says Seiz. “If you aren’t making enough enzymes you could experience some discomfort during digestion. If you experience bloating, gas and indigestion after eating, you could greatly benefit from an enzyme supplement.
Enzymes play a major role in digestion balance because they help to break down the food and provide energy for our cells. They are also important because without them we would not be able to absorb the nutrients from the food we eat. Enzyme supplements help to break down carbohydrates, many forms of sugar, protein and fat. It is important to focus on raw foods or taking an enzyme supplement to help prevent depletion. Some foods that are high in enzymes include: avocados, papayas, pineapples and bananas.
Lauren Cooper is a health & beauty manager at Natural Grocers
Source: Natural Grocers literature file, 2014 & 2017, Phyllis A. Bach. Prescription for Nutritional Healing.