How Probiotics Can Boost Your Immune System During Cold and Flu Season
As the colder months approach, so does the start of cold and flu season. It’s easy to catch a cold or flu during this time, especially if you have a weakened immune system. One way to strengthen your immune system and prevent illness is to take probiotics.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. You can find them in certain foods or take them as dietary supplements. Probiotics can help balance the bacteria in your gut and keep your digestive system functioning properly.
How Do Probiotics Boost Your Immune System?
Your gut is home to about 70% of your immune system. When you have a healthy balance of good bacteria in your gut, your immune system can function better and be more effective at fighting off viruses and bacteria that can cause illness. Probiotics can also help reduce inflammation in your body, which can be beneficial for those with autoimmune disorders.
Which Probiotic Strains Are Best to Boost Your Immune System?
Not all probiotics are created equal, and some strains are better than others at boosting your immune system. Here are some of the best strains to look for:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus: This strain can help stimulate your immune system and may help reduce the severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms.
- Bifidobacterium bifidum: This strain can help enhance the production of antibodies in your body, which can help protect against cold and flu viruses.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus: This strain can help reduce the risk of respiratory infections and may help reduce the severity of symptoms.
How to Get More Probiotics in Your Diet
You can get more probiotics in your diet by incorporating these foods:
- Yogurt: Look for yogurt with live and active cultures, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum.
- Kefir: This fermented milk drink is similar to yogurt and also contains live and active cultures.
- Sauerkraut: Made from fermented cabbage, sauerkraut is a good source of live culture bacteria.
- Kombucha: This fermented tea drink contains live culture bacteria and yeast.
- Miso: A traditional Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybeans, miso is a good source of probiotics.
When to Take Probiotic Supplements
If you aren’t able to get enough probiotics from your diet, you may want to consider taking supplements. Look for supplements that contain a variety of strains, including the ones mentioned above. It’s best to take probiotic supplements on an empty stomach or with a small amount of food, as this can help the bacteria survive the acidic environment of your stomach.
During cold and flu season, it’s important to take steps to strengthen your immune system and prevent illness. Probiotics can be a helpful tool in this effort, as they can help balance the bacteria in your gut and boost your immune system. By incorporating probiotic-rich foods into your diet and considering supplements when necessary, you can help keep yourself healthy during this time of year.