Why Probiotics are Key to Staying Healthy This Winter
This post was created in partnership with New Chapter Inc. All thoughts and opinions, as always, are my own. Thank you so much for supporting the sponsors that keep Nourished by Nutrition going!
The colder months are upon us! This can be such a magical time of year filled with snowfall, snuggling up by the fire, holiday parties and quality family time. But unfortunately, along with the winter months comes cold and flu season. There is nothing worse than being plagued with a runny nose and cough or catching the stomach-bug that’s traveling around your kid’s school or the office.
When it comes to staying well during the winter there are several preventative measures you can take. There’s the obvious washing your hands, eating well and getting enough sleep. Those are all great and I highly recommend them. But the truth is, the key to staying healthy has more to do with the health of your gut!
Find out how to keep your gut healthy and immune system strong with diet, lifestyle, and taking a probiotic like New Chapter’s All-Flora.
Gut Health and Immunity
Your gut is home to over 100 trillion - yes, TRILLION - different bacteria. More and more research is showing just how important these bacteria are in contributing to your optimal health. Our gut bacteria are key players in digesting food, regulating metabolism, helping reduce inflammation and supporting the immune system, just to name a few. Considering more than 70% of our immune system is found in the gut it’s essential to keep your gut microbiome in tip-top shape.
How to support gut health
In order to have a strong immune system, we must keep the bacteria living there healthy and thriving. Our gut bacteria acts as the first line of defense against harmful bacteria, helping to prevent absorption of any pathogens that can make us sick. Keeping our gut healthy involves keeping a proper balance of good versus bad bacteria and reducing our exposure to various conditions that disrupt this balance. A poor diet, chronic stress, not enough sleep and the overuse of antibiotics and antibacterials can all destroy the beneficial bacteria, making us more susceptible to various illnesses.
Fortunately, there are many ways to support a healthy gut microbiome! Diet and lifestyle changes, along with taking a probiotic like New Chapter’s All-Flora, can make a huge difference in the health of your gut and in turn keep your immune system strong.
Eat well - eating a plant-centric diet that is high in fiber has been shown to contribute to a healthy balance of gut bacteria. In addition, certain prebiotic-rich foods feed the good bacteria in your gut, keeping them happy and thriving. These include aloe, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, oatmeal, and legumes.
Reducing the amount of sugar, processed foods and alcohol you consume can also contribute to better gut health as they kill off the good bacteria and promote the growth of the bad bacteria.
Take Action: Including probiotic-rich food like tempeh, kimchi, yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, and kefir is a great way to keep your good bacteria in balance. I recommend trying to incorporate one of these probiotic-rich foods daily.
Hydrate - staying properly hydrated is extremely important, especially in the winter. When our bodies are properly hydrated they function optimally. This means they are able to flush out the toxins and waste, preventing them from building up and negatively impacting your immune system.
Take Action: I recommend drinking at least 80 oz of water or other hydrating liquid like tea daily. For an extra immune boost of vitamin C, add half a lemon to your water.
Sleep - our bodies need adequate amounts of sleep. Our body repairs and recovers while we sleep. When we cut our sleep short, our bodies aren’t able to fully restore themselves. This takes a toll on our immune system. We end up feeling tired, drained and are more susceptible to illness. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Take Action: If you are having trouble falling and staying asleep, check your nighttime routine. You may find getting off your screen at least 30 minutes before bed helpful in falling asleep more easily.
Stress management - this may be more important than ever. We have mile-long to-do lists and pressing deadlines. Throw the holidays on top of it and we are setting ourselves up for extreme overwhelm. We’re basically stressed-out to the max and have no time to chill.
Managing stress with self-care is crucial. Burning the candle from both ends not only takes a toll on you mentally but also takes a toll on you physically, leaving you drained and your immune system weak.
Take Action: Incorporating meditation, scheduling in a workout or some alone-time, journaling, or simply asking for help can make this busy time of year much more manageable.
Supplement with probiotics - probiotics are one of the easiest to support your gut health and immune system. Probiotics are the good type of bacteria that help keep the proper balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut. While the research on probiotics is relatively new, more and more studies are showing that probiotics help reduce the incidences, severity and duration of colds and flu.
Take Action: I recommend taking one probiotic with live microorganisms and at least 10 billion CFUs daily, like New Chapter’s Probiotic All-Flora.
Benefits of Probiotics
As mentioned above, probiotics are the live bacteria and microorganisms that help keep the proper balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut. More and more research shows that the health of your gut and the types of bacteria in your digestive system are linked to overall health and disease prevention.
The benefits of probiotics go far beyond improving digestion and boosting immunity. Gut health has also been proven to affect your mood, symptoms of anxiety and depression, cholesterol and blood pressure, inflammation which can contribute to allergies and eczema, and even your weight.
This is why a daily dose of probiotics is more important than ever. In addition, we are exposed to environmental toxins, constant stress, pasteurization of our food, antibiotic use and high-sugar foods, which all destroy the beneficial bacteria in our guts. When we have an imbalance of good bacteria or an overgrowth of non-beneficial bacteria we are more susceptible to illness and certain diseases.
How to pick a probiotic
With so many probiotics out there, choosing a quality probiotic can make your head spin. How many strains do you need? Are more CFU’s better? How do you know if there even working?
Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered.
LOOK FOR these four factors:
Quality - look for probiotics that are third-party tested and have research to support their formula. New Chapter’s Probiotic All-Flora is DNA-tested to assure quality by delivering the exact, researched strains every time. Their Well Shield™ science proves that Probiotic All-Flora works at a cellular level, setting off a positive chain reaction for overall health and longevity.
Culture count - CFUs stands for colony forming units. This is the culture count and refers to the total amount of live bacterial culture in a single serving. Probiotic brands can range from 1 to 100 billion CFUs. But more doesn’t always mean better. New Chapter’s Probiotic All-Flora delivers 5 billion CFUs of friendly bacteria and 5 billion CFUs of beneficial yeast that replenish your healthy gut-flora, and reduce problematic yeast. This creates a perfect balance of 10 billion proven CFUs.
Number of strains - there are over 1,000 strains of beneficial bacteria in the gut. The most well-known and studied strains that prove to be beneficial include lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. New Chapter’s Probiotic All Flora is DNA-tested, so you can be sure you’re getting highly researched LP01 (Lactobacillus plantarum), BR03 (Bifidobacterium breve), and Saccharomyces boulardii.
Formula - Probiotics are the good bacteria but in order for them to stay alive and thrive, they need fuel. New Chapter’s Probiotic All-Flora is a 3-in-1 blend that delivers:
Prebiotics—unique fermented Aloe blend is food for the probiotics
Probiotics—clinically identifiable, DNA-tested & alive for the full shelf life
Postbiotics—beneficial compounds released during probiotic activity for complete gut health
Bacteria aren’t the only organisms in our gut, yet most probiotics only contain a variety of beneficial bacteria. New Chapter’s Probiotic All-Flora contains beneficial yeast, providing a more complete approach to supporting gut flora than just having friendly bacteria alone. Saccharomyces boulardii is the yeast found in New Chapter’s Probiotic All Flora and it’s been shown to reduce problematic yeasts, such as Candida, and replenishes healthy gut flora.*
New Chapter’s Probiotic All-Flora
New Chapter’s Probiotic All-Flora is formulated with probiotics in clinically relevant amounts that work. All you need is one capsule per day! Unlike other probiotics, this formula is shelf-stable and requires no refrigeration, which makes it perfect for taking with you while you travel.
I’ve been loving New Chapter’s Probiotic All-Flora and highly recommend this quality product. New Chapter is a brand that has a science-based, tested formula so you know you are getting what you pay for. Aside from the quality and unique formula, I love that this product is DNA-tested, non-GMO, certified gluten-free, 100% vegan.
Do yourself a favor and get your gut in tip-top shape this cold and flu season. Invest in a quality probiotic and make the little diet and lifestyle changes to help amp up your immune system. I’d love to know your thoughts on taking a probiotic and any of your immune-boosting tips. Share in the comments below and let’s get this conversation started!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.