Lingering Cough? Get Rid of It, Naturally

We’ve all been there…you just got over a cold. However the annoying lingering cough after cold remains. The good news is, your body’s own immune system may be the key to ending that lingering cough. And Del-Immune V®, an immune supplement for immediate immune support and better respiratory health, could be the natural cough remedy you’ve been looking for.

Easy, Practical Solutions for a Lingering Cough lingering cough

Elin Ritchie, M.D., is a medical doctor trained in Canada at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. She is a Board Certified member of the American College of Family Practice (ACFP). Dr. Ritchie currently practices integrative medicine in Taos, New Mexico, and she shares her thoughts below.

In my practice, I see a wide range of patients who complain of a lingering cough after a bout with a cold, or bronchitis, or allergies. I suggest a number of ways to treat this. First, I make sure they drink plenty of water as water moistens the throat and helps the tissues heal quickly. I also recommend they use a humidifier. Similar to water you drink, humidity in the air can reduce the itchy irritation of the throat and reduce the amount of coughing, allowing healing to occur quickly.

In addition to a cold, bronchitis and other bugs, allergies can be a significant contributor to a lingering cough. One of the most effective ways I have found to reduce your exposure to allergens is to start with your bedroom. Some people go so far as to replace wall-to-wall carpet with tile floor and area rugs that are easily cleaned. If you live in a damp place, make sure there is no mold or mildew behind the head of the bed or in the wall of the bedroom. If you have pets, keep them in another part of your house away from where you sleep. These efforts reduce your exposure for 8 to 10 hours a day, and that makes a big difference!

Another easy way to address a lingering cough is something I myself have relied upon. A few years ago, I was struggling with a dry tickle cough. I would have coughing fits in front of my patients, coughing uncontrollably, turning purple, even gagging at times. Now I carry strong peppermint oil with me. Just a dab of it on my tongue will stop a coughing fit immediately.natural remedies for a persistent cough

A Healthy Immune System…The Best Approach

Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Del-Immune V® can help strengthen your immune system to lessen your chances of picking up respiratory bugs in the first place and in turn help you avoid a lingering cough. A healthy immune system is also better equipped to deal with allergies. I recommend Del-Immune V® immune supplements to all my patients seeking relief from lingering coughs.

 

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Feeling Sick and Tired? Try This

It seems that when we’re sick with a common cold or other bug, we take it for granted that we should also feel tired. But that does not have to be the case. YesFeeling Sick and Tired? Try This, it’s true that when we don’t feel well, our bodies demand more energy to enable our immune system to battle the illness…however by strengthening our immune system, we can substantially lessen the feeling of fatigue.

Del-Immune V®, a nutritional supplement resulting from more than 50 years of medical and scientific research, provides immediate immune support. And studies have shown that by building up the immune system, and helping it respond faster to illnesses, we can feel less tired.

Your Immune System: What You Should Know

When we’re sick, our immune system works overtime to fight the illness and ultimately make us feel better. Specifically, our immune system creates immune cells and proteins to do battle with the bodily invaders that are causing the illness.

As you would imagine, in performing these duties the immune system requires energy. But if the immune system is able to do its job of thwarting illness-causing germs and other harmful agents more efficiently, chances are we will use less energy and not feel as tired when we’re sick.

The Importance of Immune System Support

Physicians throughout the United States and in many other countries have recommended Del-Immune V® to their patients as a way to enhance immune function. Del-ImmuFeeling Sick and Tired ne V® supplements have been shown to aid in healthy immune support, which can be pivotal in helping people feel less tired, especially when they have a common cold or other ailment that may be draining their energy.

Why not try Del-Immune V®? It might just be what you’re looking for to feel less tired – not only when you’re sick, but in your daily life as well.

 

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Sinusitis Pain? Here Are Several Remedies

If you’ve been searching high and low for natural remedies for sinusitis and a sinusitis treatment that actually works, here’s some information to keep in mind. By definition, sinusitis is an often painful inflammation of the sinuses. There are many causes of sinusitis, including viral and bacterial sinus infections. Among the most crucial factors in easing the effects Sinusitis Pain? Here Are Several Remediesof sinusitis is the ability of the body’s own natural defense system…its immune system…to respond quickly and effectively to eliminate viral and bacterial pathogens.

Del-Immune V® is a nutritional supplement that provides immediate immune support. Doctors and medical researchers agree that by enabling immune function to occur faster, the immune system is able to more effectively perform its vital task of battling maladies such as sinus infections.

 

Fight Sinusitis, Naturally

Here are 10 natural remedies you can use to treat sinusitis.

Remedies for Sinusitis Pain

  1. Grapefruit seed extract. A natural antibiotic, grapefruit seed extract can help to clear mucus and prevent other microbial contaminants from taking up residence in your nasal passages.
  2. Salt water rinse. This can help wash out thick or dried mucus, helping to keep nasal passages open.
  3. Spicy hot foods. Certain spicy foods, especially those containing hot peppers or horseradish can assist in clearing sinuses.
  4. Turmeric. Available at almost all pharmacies and health food stores, turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can help relieve inflammation in the sinuses.
  5. Apple cider vinegar. A cure-all for many ailments, apple cider vinegar can help thin congestion associated with sinusitis.
  6. Oregano oil. Given its status as a powerful anti-fungal and antimicrobial, using oregano oil as a natural home remedy may help relieve or resolve problems associated with sinusitis.
  7. Fermented Cod Liver Oil. Rich in vitamins A and D, plus Omega-3 fatty acids, fermented cod liver oil can help remedy the chronic inflammation many people experience with sinusitis.
  8. Enjoy something hot. Soup and tea are two great possibilities.
  9. Sleep with your head elevated. Either propped up with extra pillows or with leg extenders attached to your bed frame…these remedies can help drain sinuses and relieve sinusitis symptoms.
  10. Take Del-Immune V®. As discussed above, making the immune system stronger and enhancing the speed of immune response can play crucial roles in the immune system’s ability to fight bodily invaders that can cause sinusitis. On its own, the body could take 5 to 10 days to mobilize its fight against a sinus infection. Del-Immune V® has been shown to generally begin working to assist the body in activating its immune defenses in just six hours or less.

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Treating Seasonal Allergies with Diet, Lifestyle Changes and Probiotics

Treating your seasonal allergy symptoms requires a multi-pronged attack, one that addresses your diet, lifestyle and natural treatments.

Underlying Causes of Seasonal AllergiesNatural ways to treat seasonal allergies

Are you aware that your risk of suffering from allergy symptoms increases significantly if you have certain underlying medical conditions? Unmanaged stress, asthma, deviated septum, recent trauma or illness, pregnancy and food allergies can increase your risk of allergies.

These conditions can adversely affect your immune system and how it functions.  Your allergy symptoms occur when our bodies release a histamine in response to an allergen.  A strong immune system is key to fighting seasonal allergies.

According to Johns Hopkins, allergies are disorders of the immune system.  Your body over-reacts to harmless substances and produces antibodies to attack the substance.  This is what causes your symptoms.

Your immune system is especially susceptible after a physical trauma or surgery, underlying illnesses or when you are under emotional and physical stress.  Lack of sleep can even exacerbate the problem. Lack of sleep also weakens your immune system.avoiding stress

Stress plays a big part in the immune system.  Unmanaged stress can lead to allergy symptoms.  According to the British Institute for allergy and Environmental Therapy, stress can make allergies worse but once the stress is managed, the symptoms of hay fever and seasonal allergies improve.

There are foods that you should avoid during allergy season.  Any foods that you are sensitive or allergic to should be avoided. If you aren’t sure how excessive your food allergies are, try an elimination diet to help you identify foods that can make your allergies worse.

Foods to Avoid During Allergy Season:

  1. Wheat/Glutenavoid gluten or wheat products - gluten free
  2. Soy
  3. Shellfish
  4. Alcohol
  5. Caffeine
  6. Dairy (Conventional)
  7. Chocolate
  8. Peanuts
  9. Processed foods
  10. Bananas
  11. Melons
  12. Cucumbers
  13. Artificial Sweeteners
  14. Sugar
  15. Sunflower Seeds

The foods to avoid may make you feel a loss, but there are some great tasting foods that will help relieve your symptoms as well as strengthening your immune system.

Enjoyable Foods to Eat During Allergy Season:Raw Honey

  1. Raw local honey
  2. Wild caught fish
  3. Hot and spicy foods
  4. Bone broth
  5. Pineapple
  6. Apple Cider Vinegar
  7. Lemons
  8. Fresh organic vegetables
  9. Free range poultry
  10. Grass fed meats
  11. Ginger
  12. Garlic
  13. Horseradish
  14. Onions

Bone broth from chicken, lamb or beef can help to ease respiratory problems and help expel excess nasal mucus. It also helps reduce inflammation in the body and boosts the immune system. The enzyme bromelain as well as the vitamins B, C and other nutrients found in fresh ripe pineapple can help reduce the reaction to seasonal allergies.  Apple cider vinegar helps to boost the immune system, helps to break up mucus and supports lymphatic drainage. Three times per day, mix one tablespoon of ACV with one tablespoon of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and a half-tablespoon of local raw honey and drink. Ginger can be particularly helpful, as it helps to warm the body and breakdown toxins in your system.

Lifestyle Changes During Allergy Season:staying hydrated

  1. Keep doors and windows closed. When the pollen count is high, or the day is particularly dusty, if you keep your doors and windows closed it will limit the exposure.
  2. Stay Hydrated by drinking eight to ten glasses of water every day. When you get dehydrated, mucus will become more difficult to expel.
  3. Wash clothes and bedding often. Fresh clean bedding and clothes reduces your exposure to allergens.
  4. Shower before you go to sleep. You may have dust or pollen on your skin or in your hair and it can make your symptoms worse.
  5. When your pets come indoors after being outside, wipe them down. They often come in covered in pollen. If you wipe them down with a damp cloth it will help to limit your exposure.
  6. Tidy Up. Clutter around your house collects dust and allergens that make your symptoms worse. Pay close attention to your bedroom.
  7. Replace carpets with hard surfaced flooring. Carpets attract and retain dust and pollen that is difficult to remove. By replacing carpets with easy to clean surfaces, you could benefit significantly.
  8. Try to limit your exposure. On days that the pollen count is high, wear a mask and try to limit your time outdoors.

Allergy medications only relieve symptoms.  Natural remedies for allergies often work better and are much healthier for your body.  Treating allergies takes patience and a combination of tactics. Start by removing the foods you are sensitive to, eat foods that boost your immune system and then incorporate supplements into your routine to help eliminate the cause of your allergies.

The immune system starts in your gut and 80% of your immune function is stored in your gastrointestinal tract (GI). So it’s no wonder that research keeps linking probiotic use to reduced risk of allergies. By populating your gut with the right probiotics, it could be the key to easing your allergy symptoms.

Read More about how Del-Immune could be the key to easing your allergy symptoms.

Order your Del-Immune and Delpro Probiotic Formula Today!

Resources for Probiotics and allergies:
  1. Ouwehand, Arthur, “Antiallergic effects of probiotics,” Journal of Nutrition, Mar 2007.
  2. Ozdemire “Various effects of different probiotic strains in allergic disorders: an update from laboratory and clinical data” PMC US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
  3. Gui Yang, Zhi-Qiang Liu, and Ping-Chang Yang, Au “Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis with Probiotics: An Alternative Approach” PMC US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

 

Suffering from Seasonal Allergies? 4 Steps to Natural Allergy Relief

Natural Ways to Treat Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

Helpful allergy info, including allergy symptoms, allergy treatment, & more.Suffering from Seasonal Allergies? 4 Steps to Natural Allergy Relief

According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, an estimated 50 million Americans, or one in every five people suffer from some type of allergy. Most people who suffer from allergies take over-the-counter-medications or go to the doctor to be treated and are given pharmaceuticals from acetaminophens to antihistamines. Unfortunately, those medications can aggravate the allergy symptoms they are attempting to treat.

It is important to understand that when the body is working to combat an allergic reaction, from a skin allergy like eczema to something more complex like a food allergy, it is due to something not being right in your body. So your body can’t fight off the allergen with its own defenses, which triggers allergy symptoms.

When we take prescribed medications for allergies, they upset the natural process and PH balance of our immune system. So we will always have to take a drug to alleviate the symptoms from whatever allergy we suffer from. Unfortunately, with all of these allergy medications and creams, all they do is treat the symptoms. But the actual problem in our body that caused the allergic reaction still exists.

That is why it is so important to give your body a break from the toxic pharmaceuticals and instead use natural remedies to relieve allergies. We should watch what we eat, get plenty of pure water and take the natural route to allergy relief. This will provide our body with what it needs to repair itself, to bring it back into balance and fight off the allergy we are suffering from.

1. RAW LOCAL HONEYRaw Honey
Raw honey contains bee pollen, which wards off infections, allergies and boosts our immunity. The bees in your neighborhood are going from flower to flower collecting pollen. By eating local raw honey, we build up our immunity to the pollen allergies where we live. A couple of tablespoons each day can relieve your itchy watery eyes, congestion and the general hay fever symptoms. In a study by the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, patients who consumed honey had better control of their allergy symptoms than people on conventional allergy medications.

2. PROBIOTICS Probiotics for Seasonal Allergy Relief
The immune system starts in the gut. More than 80% of your immune function is stored in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. So it shouldn’t be surprising that research keeps surfacing that links probiotic use to reduced risk of allergies. In the Journal of Pediatrics, they discovered that women who regularly take probiotics during pregnancy significantly reduce their child’s risk of developing allergies.

3. APPLE CIDER VINEGARapple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar helps to boost the immune system, helps to break up mucus and supports lymphatic drainage. Three times per day, mix one tablespoon of ACV with one tablespoon of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and a half-tablespoon of local raw honey and drink.

4. ESSENTIAL OILS
Essential Oils – Diffusing essential oils including menthol, eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint oil helps to open up the nasal passages and lungs, improves circulation and relieves stress. Try a Homemade Vapor Rub when you have excess congestion and mucus. (Homemade Vapor Rub for Children)

Probiotics are a natural way to treat your seasonal allergy symptoms and they have these positive effects on your body:

  • Improve function of mucosal lining of the intestines
  • Hinder growth of pathogenic (bad) bacteria
  • Stimulate production of immune enhancing substances
  • Direct influence on immune response

If you populate your gut with probiotics, it could be the ticket to easing your allergy symptoms.

Read More about how Del-Immune could be the ticket to easing your allergy symptoms.

Order your Del-Immune and Delpro Probiotic Formula Today!

What is Brain Fog? Symptoms, Causes, and How to Beat Brain Fog

A Definition of Brain Fog

Most people have experienced brain fog at one time or another. It’s that feeling of confusion, fatigue, and lack of clarity that leaves you frustrated and wondering why you can’t seem to focus on the task at hand. If you’re feeling like you can’t string a coherent thought together, but can’t attribute your foggy state to a known underlying medical cause, you’re probably suffering from a case of brain fog.

Symptoms of Brain Fog

The symptoms of brain fog can vary from person to person. In reality, brain fog is likely a symptom of another condition — not a condition in itself. When you’re experiencing brain fog, you might notice signs and symptoms such as: brain fog

  • Forgetfulness
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of clarity and focus
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Headaches
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feelings of hopelessness or depression
  • Anxiety or irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia

In general, if you feel as though you’re “spacey” and can’t concentrate or think clearly, you’re suffering from brain fog. There are some things you can do to alleviate brain fog, but the most effective way to reduce this troublesome symptom is to identify and treat the underlying cause.

Causes of Brain Fog

Brain fog can be caused by myriad health conditions, ranging from simple exhaustion (from lack of sleep, illness, or a busy schedule) to serious chronic health conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Sometimes, brain fog is an isolated incident, but it’s always worth mentioning to your doctor. And, if you’re experiencing other troublesome symptoms along with brain fog, you should seek medical attention right away.

At the most basic level, brain fog has been linked to high levels of inflammation in the body as well as out-of-balance serotonin, dopamine, and cortisol — all hormones that play a role in your overall mood, happiness, and energy and focus.

Other common causes of brain fog may include:

  • Dietary deficiencies (Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies are common culprits)
  • A diet high in carbohydrates, sugar, caffeine or other unhealthy substances
  • A low-fat diet (yes, your body needs fat!)
  • Dehydration
  • A lack of sleep
  • Stress or persistent anxiety
  • Food additives
  • Environmental toxins
  • Certain medications
  • Out-of-whack blood sugar

In addition to multiple sclerosis, brain fog can also appear as a symptom of other underlying health conditions such as:

  • Cancer (and cancer treatments as well)
  • Pregnancy
  • Food allergies
  • Menopause
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Lupus
  • Low-grade infections

In other words, brain fog can be caused by a great many things. You can (and should) receive treatment to address underlying health conditions, but if your brain fog is caused by diet or lifestyle factors, you can take steps to eliminate it right away. If you do suspect that brain fog could be a warning sign of a serious underlying medical condition, it’s best to talk to your doctor to rule out any other underlying causes.

How to Get Rid of Brain Fog

Brain fog caused by diet and lifestyle factors is easily rectified by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Make sure you’re getting enough rest, that you’re eating a healthy, well-balanced diet rich in essential vitamins and nutrients, and get regular exercise to help ward off fatigue.

Practicing meditation can also be a helpful way to manage brain fog. Meditation is a powerful relaxation technique that can help you combat stress, improve focus and concentration, and make you happier and more resilient.

Take a daily multivitamin to help restore essential vitamins and minerals and prevent future deficiencies. For Vitamin D, nothing is more beneficial than spending a bit of time in the sun. Take a walk outdoors as weather permits, a few times each week, or take up an outdoor hobby. Immune supplements will bolster your body’s immune system to help you ward off colds and viruses that can leave your body feeling drained and your brain foggy.

Don’t skip meals and be sure to eat ample complex carbohydrates and other low-glycemic foods. These foods digest more slowly, helping to keep your blood sugar levels more even, whereas simple carbohydrates are digested more rapidly, causing a spike in blood sugar followed by the “sugar crash” that’s often associated with brain fog.

Finally, eliminate environmental toxins from your home and workspace to the extent possible. Cut back on the use of harsh chemicals, don’t smoke (and don’t allow others to smoke in your home), and keep your home clean and free of dust. Drink plenty of water to flush toxins from your body, and avoid eating highly processed foods with additives and sugar substitutes. Finally, when possible, consume whole foods that are close to their natural state. You’ll get more nutrients by eating whole foods and less toxins — and, your brain will thank you for it, too, with increased clarity and mental focus.

 

How to Improve Gut Health: 25 Ways to Prevent and Heal Leaky Gut, Promote Healthy Gut Bacteria, and Improve Your Health and Well-Being

The gut is often referred to as the body’s “second brain,” because like the brain, the gut impacts virtually every bodily system in one way or another. Poor gut health is linked to fatigue, inflammatory disease, skin conditions, a variety of chronic diseases, and even mental health. It’s vitally important to be mindful of digestive health and take steps to preserve the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut.

We’ve put together list list of 25 ways to improve gut health to help you start taking action today to promote a healthy gut, increase your energy levels, reduce the risk of disease, eliminate skin conditions and other inflammatory conditions throughout the body, and improve your overall well-being. If you’re looking for ways to foster a healthy gut, here are 25 tips to get you started (click on a link for more detail):

  1. Consume a diversity of foods.
  2. Follow the four Rs.
  3. Limit your use of antibacterial soaps and alcohol-based sanitizers.
  4. Take probiotics to restore the gut’s optimal bacterial flora population.
  5. Eat whole foods that contain an abundance of good bacteria.
  6. Avoid overuse of antibiotics.
  7. Laugh a little.
  8. Take other steps to reduce stress.
  9. Limit high-fat and processed foods.
  10. Prebiotic-rich foods (such as high-fiber foods) provide a hospitable environment for healthy but bacteria.
  11. Pay attention to indicators of toxin buildup.
  12. Try intermittent fasting.
  13. Learn how your body responds to different foods to customize your diet.
  14. Avoid inflammatory foods.
  15. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and yogurt promotes bacteria diversity in the gut.
  16. Bone broth can promote gut healing.
  17. Play in the garden or snuggle with your pets.
  18. Eat foods containing polyphenols.
  19. Check your hormones.
  20. Cut back on caffeine and alcohol.
  21. Find out what effect gluten has on your body (and mind).
  22. Cut back on added sugars.
  23. Kombucha has a healing effect on leaky gut.
  24. Add yellow and green vegetables to your diet.
  25. Eat clean and practice the 80/20 rule.

Ready for improved health and well-being thanks to a healthier gut? Read on to find out how you can start implementing these tips today for a healthier gut and improved overall health.

"Generally speaking, a diverse microbiota is considered to be a healthy one. This is because the more species of bacteria you have, the greater number of health benefits they may be able to contribute to." - Dr. Ruairi Robertson

1. Consume a diversity of foods. “There are hundreds of species of bacteria in your intestines. Each species plays a different role in your health and requires different nutrients for growth.

“Generally speaking, a diverse microbiota is considered to be a healthy one. This is because the more species of bacteria you have, the greater number of health benefits they may be able to contribute to.

“A diet consisting of different food types can lead to a diverse microbiota.

“Unfortunately, the Western diet is not very diverse and is rich in fat and sugar. In fact, it is estimated that 75% of the world’s food is produced from only 12 plant and 5 animal species.

“However, diets in certain rural regions are more diverse and rich in different plant sources.

“A few studies have shown that gut microbiota diversity is much greater in people from rural regions of Africa and South America than those from Europe or the US.” – Dr. Ruairi Robertson, 10 Ways to Improve Your Gut Bacteria, Based on Science, Authority Nutrition; Twitter: @AuthNutrition

2. Follow the four Rs. “In Functional Medicine, there is a very successful protocol called the 4Rs, which stands for Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, and Repair. There are many resources for learning more about the 4 R’s. I like Raphael Kellman, M.D.’s book, The Microbiome Diet: The Scientifically Proven Way to Restore Your Gut Health and Achieve Permanent Weight Loss. You can also listen to my interview with Dr. Kellman on my radio show, Flourish.

“The beautiful thing about the 4Rs protocol is that it doesn’t have to be followed in order. Once you remove the processed foods and toxins from your diet, you can start doing all of the remaining 3 steps together. Unless you suffer from a serious digestive disorder or other condition, you can follow the 4Rs on your own. Or, find a practitioner who can tailor the protocol to your specific needs.” – Christiane Northrup, M.D., How To Improve Your Gut Microbiome in A Day, DrNorthrup.com; Twitter: @DrChrisNorthrup

"Most of the gut experts say we ought to be picky about the household cleaners we use to disinfect our homes. Most of them are like antibiotics: they obliterate everything, which includes some of the helpful bacteria we need to stay sane." - Therese Borchard

3. Limit your use of antibacterial soaps and alcohol-based sanitizers. “Our obsession with sanitization is making us sick. Ironic? The Sonnenburgs cite a May 2013 study published in the journal Pediatrics that found that children whose parents cleaned their dirty pacifier by sucking on it instead of boiling it in water were less likely to have eczema than the kids of the sanitization freaks. Two years ago, a team of scientists discovered why children who grow up in homes with a dog have a lower risk of developing allergies and asthma — they help diversify the microbiome community, of course. The study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that dog ownership is associated with a kind of house dust that exposes us to important strains of bacteria, like Lactobacillus. I believe it, based on the substantial dust and hairballs that used to grace every corner of our home when we had two Lab-Chow dogs. Soil, especially, has wonderful healing elements that we need. Gardening or weeding can serve as a way of boosting our immune systems.

“Most of the gut experts say we ought to be picky about the household cleaners we use to disinfect our homes. Most of them are like antibiotics: they obliterate everything, which includes some of the helpful bacteria we need to stay sane. The Sonnenburgs suggest using less toxic cleaners such as vinegar, castile soap, and lemon juice. Limiting our exposure to such chemicals as chlorine can help protect our health as well. If you’re a swimmer with gut issues, like I was, you might want to think about swapping the activity with a more microbiome-promoting exercise such as yoga. And avoid antibacterial soaps and alcohol-based sanitizers if you can.” – Therese Borchard, 10 Ways to Cultivate Good Gut Bacteria and Reduce Depression, Everyday Health; Twitter: @EverydayHealth

4. Take probiotics to restore the gut’s optimal bacterial flora population. “This is done with the introduction of probiotics like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis. A probiotic is a good bacteria and is ingested to help reinforce and maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract and to help fight illness. In general a healthy lower intestinal tract should contain around 85% good bacteria. This helps to combat any overgrowth of bad bacteria. Unfortunately in most people these percentages are skewed and this allows for the gut health to drastically decline. The human gut is home to bad bacteria like salmonella and clostridium, which is fine as long as they are kept in order and don’t get out of control.” – Brad Sly, The Four Rs: How To Restore Optimal Gut Health, Breaking Muscle; Twitter: @BreakingMuscle

"When looking for probiotic-rich foods, avoid vinegar-based and/or pasteurized varieties, since these elements kill good bacteria." - Kris Carr

5. Eat whole foods that contain an abundance of good bacteria. “You can also eat whole foods that are fermented and contain large amounts of good bacteria. Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, microalgae and coconut kefir are fantastic plant-based probiotic-rich foods. When looking for probiotic-rich foods, avoid vinegar-based and/or pasteurized varieties, since these elements kill good bacteria. You want to pick up (or make!) lacto-fermented probiotic foods (FYI–this is a plant-friendly approach, no whey is necessary). If you’re interested in making your own probiotic foods, Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz is a popular book on the subject. Word to the wise: Get educated on fermenting at home before diving in–it can be risky if you don’t know what you’re doing!” – Kris Carr, How to Improve Your Gut Health, KrisCarr.com; Twitter: @Kris_Carr  

6. Avoid overuse of antibiotics. “Antibiotics kill bacteria. Although that includes the bad bacteria that can make you sick, it also includes the good bacteria your body needs. This disruption of intestinal harmony can cause a lack of diversity among bacteria that’s sure to affect your health.” – Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM, 5 Tips to Help You Restore and Maintain Your Gut Health, Global Healing Center; Twitter: @GHChealth

"Stress plays a role in almost every kind of gut flora problem – undergrowth, overgrowth, the wrong types of bacteria, lack of diversity, or whatever else might be troubling you." - Paleo Leap

7. Laugh a little. “There’s a reason why researchers talk about the ‘gut brain’ as a crucial part of your overall nervous system around 90% of the neurotransmitter serotonin, for example, is actually located in the gut. Brain health and gut health are connected. Stress or anxiety in your brain will rebound down to the gut: there’s a reason why Irritable Bowel Syndrome is so strongly associated with depression and mood disorders!

“Stress plays a role in almost every kind of gut flora problem – undergrowth, overgrowth, the wrong types of bacteria, lack of diversity, or whatever else might be troubling you. And that implies that stress-reducing activity will probably help almost any gut.

“One practical way to make that happen is to find a way to get a laugh out of yourself – and yes, there’s actually been a study on this. The researchers studied healthy controls and patients with atopic dermatitis, a disease typically accompanied by gut flora problems. The patients had notably different gut flora from the healthy controls. After watching funny movies every day for a week, their gut flora had changed to look much healthier.

“Finally, justification for watching as many adorable kitten/puppy/seal/red panda/penguin videos as your heart desires: it’s for your health!” 5 Simple Ways to Support Your Gut Flora, Paleo Leap; Twitter: @PaleoLeap

8. Take other steps to reduce stress. “Stress may change the makeup of your gut flora. A 2011 ‘Brain, Behavior, and Immunity’ study reported that stressed-out mice (which had been left in a cage with aggressive mice!) experienced a plunge in beneficial bacteria and an increase in inflammatory chemicals in the blood serum.
“Stress ‘alters the functioning of the immune system — either by suppressing or enhancing its response to foreign invaders,’ says Ohio State University associate professor of oral biology Michael Bailey, the paper’s author.

For the good of your gut — and health — figure out why you’re anxious, and take measures to eliminate those stressors.” – Martha Stewart, 4 habits for a healthy gut, CNN; Twitter: @cnnhealth

"If you want a healthy gut, you should try to keep fatty and processed foods to a minimum in your diet." - IgY Nutrition
9. Limit high-fat and processed foods. “We know that fatty foods are linked to obesity and inflammation.”Because these systemic disorders can then turn into more serious health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, there is real reason for concern.”Studies have demonstrated that the problem with too much fat in the diet is that it inhibits the growth of healthy bacteria.”Because carbohydrates are digested very easily and absorbed into our small intestine without any help from the microbes, the gut bacteria have nothing to digest and end up eating the mucus lining of our intestines — which is meant to be a strong barrier between the gut and the rest of the body.”When the wall of the intestine is permeated, particles of food enter the bloodstream, and our immune system alerts our brain and other organs to attack the foreign substance, causing inflammation in various parts of our body.

“As we have discussed, inflammation is the root of a lot of health problems.

“Similarly, sugar also feeds organisms like Candida Albican, a kind of fungus that grows in the gut and attacks the intestine wall.

“If you want a healthy gut, you should try to keep fatty and processed foods to a minimum in your diet.” – How to improve Gut Health, IgY Nutrition; Twitter: @NutritionIgY


10. Prebiotic-rich foods (such as high-fiber foods) provide a hospitable environment for healthy but bacteria. “I also want to give my new guests plenty of nourishment, to make them feel at home and inclined to stick around. That means serving up plenty of fiber-rich foods. In particular, I want to seek out foods that are high in soluble fiber, such as flax and chia seeds, beans and legumes, apples, oats and oat bran.” – Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS, Foods to Restore Your Intestinal Flora, Quick and Dirty Tips; Twitter: @quickdirtytips

"There is a strong connection between your gut health and the quality of your skin. Is your skin breaking out? Breakouts can indicate toxic buildup in your system." - Kimberly Snyder

11. Pay attention to indicators of toxin buildup. “The body expels solid wastes through the digestive tract, but if there is a blockage or an inefficient flow of elimination, then toxins build up. This can even lead to the reabsorption of toxins into the bloodstream, filtering through the wall of the colon (a problem commonly known as leaky gut). The toxins come from the normal by-products of metabolism (endogenous toxins) and from the endless chemicals, pesticides, pollutants and more from the outside world (exogenous toxins).

“There is a strong connection between your gut health and the quality of your skin. Is your skin breaking out? Breakouts can indicate toxic buildup in your system. Your elimination organs may be overwhelmed, which can encourage impurities to push out through your skin. There may be excessive phlegm buildup from overeating congestive, difficult-to-digest foods (such as dairy), or your digestive system may be compromised. So when you want your skin to be better, great products, while super important; simply aren’t going to cut it! You need to go deeper to get deeper, better results.

“More efficient digestion can also allow you to clean out toxins more productively and make it easier to restore and maintain your natural weight.” – Kimberly Snyder, 16 Ways To Improve Gut Health, The New Potato; Twitter: @TheNewPotato

12. Try intermittent fasting.Intermittent fasting refers to a reduced ‘feeding window’ and extended ‘fasted state’. A classic way of approaching this is the 16/8 split.

“That means 16 hour fast and 8 hour feeding window. People will commonly run the fasting time between 9pm and 1pm, eating all of their calories then between the corresponding 1pm to 9pm window. This time split can be adjusted to fit your lifestyle and isn’t as hard to do as you would think if you are completely new to the idea of not eating for a slightly extended duration.

“Other fasting time splits could be:

  • 12pm – 8pm
  • 11am – 7pm

“Or if you get up very early, around say 5am or before: 10am – 6pm.” – 3 (Unusual) Ways To Improve Gut Health, Applied Movement Neurology; Twitter: @AMNAcademy

"It might take some trial and error, but learning how your body responds to different foods will help you make better choices in the foods that you eat." - WorldHealth.net

13. Learn how your body responds to different foods to customize your diet. “Having balanced hormones is extremely important. Hormones play a key role in maintaining health. Many hormones, and several essential vitamins and minerals, can only be absorbed through the gut and the digestive tract. If the PH in your gut is not healthy, these essentials are discarded through the waste process, and are never able to nourish and stablilize your body.

“Dr. Brady suggests that the most important thing you can do for your body is to feed it right. It might take some trial and error, but learning how your body responds to different foods will help you make better choices in the foods that you eat. White blood cells react differently to different foods, for different people. Discover which foods your body gets along with. Probiotics are an excellent way to maintain a healthy gut. Drink plenty of water and move around a lot, even if you don’t consider it exercise, try not to be sedentary. Still having difficulties improving your health? Dr. Brady talks about how some doctors are using parasites to achieve a healthy gut, relieving systemic inflammation. Find what works for you, and what helps you to feel your best. As you improve the health of your gut, you will begin to see massive changes in your overall health and wellbeing.” – 9 Reasons to Improve Your Gut Health, WorldHealth.net; Twitter: @Anti_AgingNews

14. Avoid inflammatory foods. “When it comes to inflammatory foods, highly processed and sugary foods are at the top of the list.
“‘Sugar is very inflammatory, it’s going to feed your bad bacteria and upset your balance of good and bad flora,’ cautions Lee Holmes, nutritionist and whole food chef, who runs a four week Heal Your Gut program on her website, Supercharged Food.

“Adds Angel [Dr Nicola Angel, sequencing facility manager and microbiome expert at the Australian Centre for Ecogenomics], ‘A lot of autoimmune diseases weren’t prevalent until our diet became highly processed. If you look at the microbiome of ancient people, as well as hunter gatherers who still exist today, they’re markedly different and you don’t have the correlation of diseases we have.'” –  Zoe Muenier, Eat your way to good gut health, Good Food; Twitter: @goodfoodAU

"High amounts of carbohydrates and soda drinks are associated with reduced microbiota diversity, whereas diets high in fruits, vegetables and yogurts are linked with increased diversity." - Alexandra Zhernakova

15. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and  yogurt promotes bacteria diversity in the gut. “Naturally, diet is important. ‘High amounts of carbohydrates and soda drinks are associated with reduced microbiota diversity, whereas diets high in fruits, vegetables and yogurts are linked with increased diversity,’ says Alexandra Zhernakova, a researcher at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands whose work focuses on the composition of the gut microbiome. Because antibiotics are still used on Canadian farms to fatten livestock (a practice banned in Europe), look for meat and eggs that are antibiotic-free. Emma Allen-Vercoe, an associate professor of molecular and cellular biology at the University of Guelph, also recommends avoiding processed foods with artificial additives. ‘Most of these additives have never been assessed for their effects on gut microbes and those that have show detrimental effects,’ she says. Instead, feed kids high-fibre, unprocessed foods.” – Sydney Loney, 3 ways to improve your kid’s gut health after antibiotics, Today’s Parent; Twitter: @Todaysparent

16. Bone broth can promote gut healing. “Your grandmother or great-grandmother may have offered real chicken soup (not the stuff you buy in cans) to anyone who was sick with the flu or a cold.

“This was not just a gesture to offer comfort to someone who is ill, but real chicken soup contained bone broth which introduced lots of minerals and beneficial amino acids, including glutamine, into the body.

Studies have shown that there is a significant link between glutamine and the repair of the epithelial lining of the gut.

“If you can’t make bone broth at home, you may want to consider buying bone broth from pasture-raised or grass-fed animals online.” – Kristen Michaelis, How to Recover Gut Health After Antibiotics, Food Renegade; Twitter: @FoodRenegade

"I view each unwashed carrot my girls eat as the ultimate vitamin: a fiber-filled supplement that nourishes the gut microbiome. And though I don’t have any lab results to prove that my kids’ guts are benefiting, they rarely get sick, and when they do, their illnesses never last long." - Erica Sonnenburg, Ph.D.

17. Play in the garden or snuggle with your pets. “Both activities are easy ways for your child to encounter good bacteria while avoiding the ones that can make him sick. Our dog actually serves as an ideal conduit between the bacteria-laden dirt in our yard and our children. Instead of cringing when I see him nuzzling my daughters and licking their faces, I think about the benefits that the bacteria he’s carrying can bestow on them. For example, a recent study published in JAMA Pediatrics suggested that babies who grow up exposed to dogs are less likely to develop asthma before they reach age 6. As for gardening, it exposes children to bacteria from soil and animals. My kids routinely dig carrots out of our garden with their bare hands and quickly brush the dirt off before snacking on them. In fact, I view each unwashed carrot my girls eat as the ultimate vitamin: a fiber-filled supplement that nourishes the gut microbiome. And though I don’t have any lab results to prove that my kids’ guts are benefiting, they rarely get sick, and when they do, their illnesses never last long.” – Erica Sonnenburg, Ph.D., 5 Ways to Boost Your Kid’s Gut Health, Parents Magazine; Twitter: @parentsmagazine

18. Eat foods containing polyphenols. “You’ve probably heard that free-radical-fighting antioxidants known as polyphenols are essential in reducing inflammatory, disease-causing oxidative stress, but a study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemical Nutrition found an additional benefit might be due to their contribution to gut health. In rats fed a high-fat diet, only rats who also consumed an anthocyanin polyphenol extract (similar to what you’d find in blueberries) were able to decrease the damaging effect on the rats’ gut microbiota. Looking at the results together, the researchers speculated polyphenols may play a significant role in the prevention of degenerative diseases (as well as aiding in weight loss) because they improve your microbiome environment. What are you waiting for, grab these polyphenols, stat!” – Olivia Tarantino, How Good Gut Health Can Change Your Life, Eat This, Not That!; Twitter: @EatThisNotThat

"A hormone imbalance can point a finger at potential gut dysfunction." - Andy Scott, DHEd

19. Check your hormones. “A hormone imbalance can point a finger at potential gut dysfunction. Poor thyroid function can be due to an unhealthy gut as some of the less active thyroid hormone,T4, is converted to the more active thyroid hormone, T3, in the GI tract along with a required enzyme for the conversion called intestinal sulfate. The stress hormone, cortisol, increases as more and more pathogens penetrate the gut lining. This increased stress directly impacts important hormones such as pregnenolone, progesterone, and DHEA which leads to a decreased production of estradiol and testosterone. Lastly, melatonin is a hormone that is produced in the gut. If an individual has an unhealthy, more than likely, their melatonin levels will be decreased.” – Andy Scott, DHEd, MS, FDN-P, Pn1, NASM-CPT, CCWS, How You Can Improve Your Gut (and Overall) Health, Lifetime Training; Twitter: @Core3Training

20. Cut back on caffeine and alcohol. “With a few changes, your good health bacteria can thrive and a happy gut is happy body. There are the obvious things you will need to reduce in your diet: sugar, caffeine, alcohol and processed food. Then there is also the focus on good quality sleep and making sure you are not exposed to long periods of stress (Pilates is a good way to de-stress! See how Pilates has helped me in my life.).” – Sarah Vrancken, Follow Your Gut – Tips on How to Improve Your Gut Health, Kalm Pilates; Twitter: @KalmPilates

For many people, limiting gluten will also have positive effect on their gut microbiome." - Dr. Josh Axe

21. Find out what effect gluten has on your body (and mind). “For many people, limiting gluten will also have positive effect on their gut microbiome. The traditional methods of soaking, sprouting and souring grains in order to make them digestible and nutritious has been abandoned for a fast and convenient method of mass producing food.” – Dr. Josh Axe, The Gut-Brain Connection: What Remedies Can Both Heal & Improve It?, Dr. Axe; Twitter: @drjoshaxe

22. Cut back on added sugars. “At this point you might be saying to yourself, ‘The link between gut issues and health is understandable, but what if I think I already have leaky gut? What can I do now?’ The good news is that there are many effective strategies to heal the lining of the intestines and in turn also heal digestive issues and other chronic diseases related to leaky gut. A good place to start is to begin to cut back on or completely eliminate sources of added sugars. Some other helpful steps to take include:

  • switch to an all-organic diet if possible
  • determine and remove foods you are intolerant to (can be identified through testing or an elimination diet)
  • eliminate other inflammatory foods (ie. cooking oils made with vegetable oils, highly processed foods, alcohol, etc.)
  • consider drinking homemade bone broth several times per week (contains powerful nutrients for healing the gut lining)
  • supplement with probiotics (may need to start slowly)
  • reduce stress (ie. meditation, biofeedback, yoga, etc.)
  • keep use of antibiotics and NSAID drugs to a minimum, as they can contribute to leaky gut” – Improve Gut Health: Avoid the Sweets!, Holtorf Medical Group; Twitter: @HoltorfMed

"Research has shown Kombucha can prevent and heal leaky gut (where bacteria, food particles and/or viruses 'leak' through your digestive lining and into your bloodstream) and stomach ulcers." - Brad Hoppmann

23. Kombucha has a healing effect on leaky gut. “Kombucha is an ancient Chinese drink. It’s been around for more than 2,000 years.

Known in the East as the ‘immortal health elixir,’ Kombucha is a type of fermented tea that’s loaded with gut-benefiting bacteria.

“Research has shown Kombucha can prevent and heal leaky gut (where bacteria, food particles and/or viruses ‘leak’ through your digestive lining and into your bloodstream) and stomach ulcers.

“Kombucha can also help keep candida yeast from overpopulating within the gut. In other words, it helps restore balance to your digestive system.

“Kombucha is full of powerful antioxidants, including a very unique one known as D-saccharic acid-1, 4-lactone (DSL).

“DSL, and the accompanying vitamin C present in Kombucha, provide you with protection against cell damage, inflammatory diseases, tumors and overall depression of the immune system.

“You can find Kombucha at most grocery stores now, but be wary of brands that use a lot of sugar.” – Brad Hoppmann, 3 Delicious Ways to Improve Your Gut Health, Uncommon Wisdom; Twitter: @uncommon_wisdom

24. Add yellow and green vegetables to your diet. “Your gut health diet should also contain foods with a rich fibre content, as these foods assist with digestion and allow the waste to pass through easily from the colon. Fibre rich foods include, apples, beans, broccoli, wheat bran, pears and figs. Start with just a few of these foods and gradually add more fibre to your gut health diet. A sudden influx of fibre in your body can cramping, bloating and gas. Make sure you drink about 6 to 8 glasses of water each day to keep yourself hydrated.

“In addition to these foods, include green and yellow vegetables in your gut health diet. These vegetables are a rich source of carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E. They also contain folate which can help safeguard against stomach cancer.

“A moderate amount of eggs, fish and meat will give your body sufficient protein to keep it healthy.” – How To Improve Gut Health Naturally, Love Thyself; Twitter: @lovethyselfaus

"The 80/20 rule means covering 80% of our plates with greens and vegetables and 20% with proteins and good fats. It’s a great way to start eating for a healthy gut." - Dr. Alejandro Junger, MD

25. Eat clean and practice the 80/20 rule. “A poor diet can result in what’s commonly called ‘leaky gut syndrome.’ While it’s not totally understood, its symptoms include all manner of gut health issues like gas, cramps, sensitivities to certain foods and stomach pain.

“By implementing rules for eating a healthy gut diet, we can potentially overcome virtually all the problems associated with leaky gut syndrome and increase our stomach health and total health. What we eat is up to us. It’s all about choice.

“By implementing the 80/20 rule in our diet, we can begin eating for a healthy gut. The 80/20 rule means covering 80% of our plates with greens and vegetables and 20% with proteins and good fats. It’s a great way to start eating for a healthy gut.

“Living with stomach problems and a low quality of life can be prevented by learning about what foods your hut needs to get healthy and stay healthy.” – Dr. Alejandro Junger MD, Improve Your Gut Health With Clean Eating, Health Talks Online; Twitter: @HealthSummits

How to Improve Your Digestive Health: 25 Tips on Diet, Exercise, and Other Lifestyle Tips for a Healthy Digestive System

Most people have experienced gastrointestinal upset at some point throughout their lives and are acutely aware of just how miserable digestive troubles — from bloating and gas to indigestion and more — can be. But gastrointestinal upset isn’t the only challenge associated with poor digestive system health; your digestive system plays a crucial role in your overall health and well-being.

Digestive system health is impacted by the foods and beverages you consume, but also by the balance of bacteria in your gut, emotions, and more. And your digestive system is linked to your whole-body health. For instance, allergies or sensitivities to certain foods lead to not only digestive upset but also to other inflammatory conditions such as hives, swelling, and, in severe cases, even anaphylaxis.

Clearly, there are many compelling reasons to focus on maintaining a healthy digestive system, and we’ve put together a list of 25 informative tips to help you achieve this goal. Check out our top 25 tips for improving digestive system health below (click on a link for more detail):

  1. Move daily.
  2. Consume ample fiber.
  3. Cut back on processed foods, choosing those with the fewest ingredients.
  4. Limit processed meats, as well as beef, pork, and lamb.
  5. Pay attention to your energy level after eating.
  6. Avoid eating when stressed.
  7. Keep your gut bacteria in balance.
  8. Drink plenty of water — even when you’re not thirsty.
  9. Choose ancient (over refined) whole grains.
  10. Opt for soothing foods.
  11. Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, quit.
  12. Start each morning with a glass of lukewarm water with fresh-squeezed lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
  13. Eat slowly and until you’re satisfied, but not full.
  14. Avoid excessive sugar, even non-refined sugar.
  15. Get enough calcium and Vitamin D.
  16. Practice yoga.
  17. Take high-quality probiotics supplements.
  18. Avoid eating a lot of raw plant foods, particularly during digestive flare-ups.
  19. Know the common culprits that tend to upset the digestive system.
  20. Eat on a regular schedule.
  21. Maintain consistency, but plan meals according to your daily schedule.
  22. Drink a glass of warm water about 20 minutes before eating.
  23. While it’s good to drink a glass of water about 15-30 minutes before eating, you should avoid drinking beverages during meals.
  24. Use food combining and food sequencing techniques for digestive health.
  25. Keep it simple and keep your portions manageable.

Let’s take a look at each of these 25 helpful tips in more detail so you can start implementing them today to improve your digestive system health.

"A recent study published in Diabetes Care showed that a short 15-minute walk after each meal helped to control sugar spikes after eating. These short post-meal walks were more effective than taking a longer, 45-minute walk once daily." - Sheila Patel, M.D.

1. Move daily. “A recent study published in Diabetes Care showed that a short 15-minute walk after each meal helped to control sugar spikes after eating. These short post-meal walks were more effective than taking a longer, 45-minute walk once daily.” – Sheila Patel, M.D., 6 Ayurvedic Practices to Improve Your Digestion, The Chopra Center; Twitter: @chopracenter

2. Consume ample fiber. “Fiber can help your GI tract stay ‘regular,’ improve cardiovascular health and regulate blood sugar levels. Fiber also reduces cholesterol levels in the blood, enhances proper bowel function, prevents constipation and diverticulosis, and provides a feeling of fullness without adding calories. It is found in plant sources, so be sure to eat a diet containing a wide variety of fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.

“Health and nutrition experts recommend eating 14 grams of dietary fiber per 1,000 calories consumed. Fiber is found only in plant food, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. It’s the part of the plant that is not digested in the human body. It’s important to eat foods containing both soluble fiber, such as oat bran and beans, and insoluble fiber, such as whole-wheat products. Both forms are necessary for a healthful diet.

  • Soluble fiber mixes with water to create a gel-like consistency; this slows digestion to help the body absorb more nutrients and remove substances like cholesterol. Soluble fiber may play a protective role in heart disease and diabetes. Research has shown that eating foods with soluble fiber can help control the blood levels of both cholesterol and glucose. Oats and oat bran, nuts, legumes, peas, and some fruits and vegetables such as dried plums, apples and carrots all provide soluble fiber.
  • Insoluble fiber does not mix with water but adds bulk to stool and helps move food through the digestive system. Insoluable fiber helps prevent conditions of the gastrointestinal tract such as constipation, diverticulosis (a condition effecting 10% of people over the age of 40 where sections of the colon protrude through weak spots forming what look like pouches) and hemorrhoids. Insoluble fiber may also play a role in preventing some types of cancer. Whole grains (especially wheat bran), skins of fruits, dried plums and many vegetables (cauliflower and potatoes) provide insoluble fiber.” – 10 Steps to Build and Maintain Digestive Health, California Dried Plums; Twitter: @CaDriedPlums

Choose foods that have the fewest ingredients listed on their labels, and chow down on those that contain probiotics (including milk, sauerkraut, and yogurt) and prebiotics." - Dana White


3. Cut back on processed foods, choosing those with the fewest ingredients. “Consume more fiber from fruit and veggies and cut back on processed foods, animal protein, and simple sugars, all of which feed harmful bacteria and contribute to obesity and disease, says Carolyn Snyder, RD, a dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic. Choose foods that have the fewest ingredients listed on their labels, and chow down on those that contain probiotics (including milk, sauerkraut, and yogurt) and prebiotics, which are certain nondigestible ingredients (found in high-fiber fruit like bananas; whole grains, such as barley and rye; and vegetables like onions and tomatoes) that act as fertilizer for the probiotics in our guts.” – Dana White, What Your Gut Says About Your Health, Fitness Magazine; Twitter: @FitnessMagazine

4. Limit processed meats, as well as beef, pork, and lamb. “Choose poultry or fish more frequently than red meat, and limit processed meats. Smaller portions of meat, consumed less often (a 12-ounce porterhouse is really three servings, not one), are also beneficial. Most people do not need to consume more than six to eight ounces of meat every day. Try replacing meat with dried beans for more fiber. One half cup of beans provides the same amount of protein as in 1 ounce of meat.” – Keeping Your Digestive Tract Healthy, Cleveland Clinic; Twitter: @ClevelandClinic

"When your system is under strain your body needs to direct its energy to digesting and assimilating the food, leaving you feeling tired." - Jayne Leonard

5. Pay attention to your energy level after eating. “If you need a post-dinner nap then you may be suffering from a sluggish digestive system. When your system is under strain your body needs to direct its energy to digesting and assimilating the food, leaving you feeling tired.

“If you are overeating your body will also struggle to fuel both you and your digestive system and you’ll feel sleepy. Try smaller meals with healthy snacks in between to give your system a break.

“Taking a short walk after your meal has been shown to improve digestion – plus the fresh air should help give you a burst of energy. You could also try taking a spoonful of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water before each meal, which is beneficial for some in helping digestive issues.” – Jayne Leonard, 10 Warning Signs Of Poor Digestion That You Are Probably Ignoring, Natural Living Ideas; Twitter: @NatLivingIdeas

6. Avoid eating when stressed. “Eating when stressed is a common cause of bloating, which many of our clients think is normal because it happens day in, day out. But it’s not, and you can reduce it if you calm your system before eating. Taking a few deep breaths replaces the arousal-based nervous system associated with stress with the calming parasympathetic nervous system. When this is activated, digestion can work properly again.” – Helen Foster, How to take care of your digestive system: an expert guide, Telegraph.co.uk; Twitter: @Telegraph

"Factors such as stress, lack of sleep, antibiotics, illness, aging and poor diet choices can often lead to an imbalance of your digestive tract bacteria." - Keri Glassman

7. Keep your gut bacteria in balance. “Factors such as stress, lack of sleep, antibiotics, illness, aging and poor diet choices can often lead to an imbalance of your digestive tract bacteria. Certain probiotics, mostly found in dairy products and some fortified cereals, can help to maintain the balance of ‘good’ bacteria in the digestive tract. Try a daily helping of yogurt with probiotics, such as Activia.” – Keri Glassman, Digestive health: 10 Tips for getting your digestive system back on track, SheKnows; Twitter: @SheKnows

8. Drink plenty of water — even when you’re not thirsty. “Dehydration is known to wreak havoc on our digestive system. We need to drink at least 3 litres of water a day to keep our system well hydrated. Our intestines use water to push the digested waste through the system and convert it into a form that can be easily eliminated. Continuous low water intake leads to constipation and the build-up of toxins in the body, and this in turn increases your risk of developing more complicated digestive issues. So make sure you consciously take the time to drink the amount of water you need every day, at regular intervals. Don’t wait to be thirsty.” – Dr.Mandar Doiphode, 5 Powerful Tips to Improve Your Digestion, Smart Cooky; Twitter: @SmartCooky

"Even if you’re not sensitive or allergic to gluten, opting for gluten-free, ancient whole grains in place of refined grains that contain gluten." - Heather McClees

9. Choose ancient (over refined) whole grains. “Even if you’re not sensitive or allergic to gluten, opting for gluten-free, ancient whole grains in place of refined grains that contain gluten. Since highly processed sources of gluten can be a potential problem for digestion, go for gluten-free, ancient whole grains like quinoa, amaranth, millet, and teff instead. These are some of the healthiest grains you can eat and contain no potential allergens like glutinous grains such as wheat, barley, oats, and rye do.” – Heather McClees, Improve Your Digestive Health in Just One Week With These Eating Tips!, One Green Planet; Twitter: @OneGreenPlanet

10. Opt for soothing foods. “‘Try foods called ‘carminatives’ that prevent or relieve gas, and are used to help the digestive process,’ says Jennifer Salib Huber, a registered dietitian and naturopathic doctor in Dartmouth, N.S. ‘Cumin, for example, helps with the digestion of black beans, which is why they’re often found in recipes together. Other carminatives include caraway, nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom.’

“Ginger is a traditional nausea remedy, and new studies are backing up the claims. Research shows that it can help quell nausea due to pregnancy, chemotherapy and operations. A 2008 study published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology found that when healthy volunteers took ginger capsules along with a bowl of soup, their stomachs emptied more quickly. This may be useful for treating gastro-paresis, or delayed stomach emptying, a side effect of diabetes.” – The Foods to Eat for a Healthy Gut, Best Health Magazine; Twitter: @besthealthmag

"Smoking seems to be bad for every part of the body, and our digestive system is no different." - Organic Facts

11. Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, quit. “Smoking seems to be bad for every part of the body, and our digestive system is no different. Smoking has an astringent effect on the body, narrowing blood vessels and increasing the likelihood of inflammation; in the gut, this sort of effect can be very harmful, leading to heartburn, ulcers, and other intestinal complications.” – 20 Tips To Improve Digestive Health, Organic Facts

12. Start each morning with a glass of lukewarm water with fresh-squeezed lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. “This gives your digestive system a gentle jump start and prepares it for the food that you will start your day off with. Starting your morning with smoother digestion goes a long way towards a better functioning system overall.” – Stephanie Langford, Simple Ways to Improve your Digestion and Gut Health, Keeper of the Home; Twitter: @KeeperHome

"Eating slowly allows enough time for the digestive system to communicate satiety to the brain. Overeating slows digestion and encourages bad habits." - Lisa Tsakos

13. Eat slowly and until you’re satisfied, but not full. “Eating slowly allows enough time for the digestive system to communicate satiety to the brain. Overeating slows digestion and encourages bad habits.” – Lisa Tsakos, 8 Steps to Improving Digestion, Naturally Savvy; Twitter: @naturallysavvy

14. Avoid excessive sugar, even non-refined sugar. “Even in healthy diets, there can be a considerable amount of sugar. While it may not be refined, if you are particularly health conscious, eating excess fruit, fruit juices, honey and any other natural sweetener (with the exception of stevia or xylitol, which don’t actually contain any sugar), can actually create digestive problems by weakening your pancreas.

“When you eat sweet foods, the sugar contained therein finds its way into your bloodstream (and quite quickly at that). Your body maintains a very delicate balance of sugar levels in the blood; and a sudden influx from eating highly sweetened foods—especially if the sugar therein is refined—causes your blood sugar levels to spike. In order to get things back under control, your pancreas begins to secrete insulin, which then safely transports the excess sugar out of your bloodstream. This is a normal, healthy process; but like anything in excess, it leads to digestive problems.” – Justin Faerman, How to Heal Your Digestive Problems Naturally, Conscious Lifestyle Magazine; Twitter: @ConsciousLMag

"You can prevent digestive problems by making sure you consume an adequate amount of calcium-rich foods and beverages, such as milk, tofu, and yogurt." - Erica Cirino

15. Get enough calcium and Vitamin D. “Get enough calcium and vitamin D. You can prevent digestive problems by making sure you consume an adequate amount of calcium-rich foods and beverages, such as milk, tofu, and yogurt. Taking vitamin D supplements and safely increasing your exposure to sunlight can also help prevent digestive issues.” – Erica Cirino, Medically Reviewed by Natalie Butler, RD, LD, What Do You Want to Know About Digestive Health?, Healthline; Twitter: @Healthline

16. Practice yoga. “Remember how you feel after a good body massage? Well, your digestive system feels much the same after a sequence of yoga postures. Your mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine make up your digestive system, with your teeth, tongue, salivary glands, liver, gall bladder and pancreas acting as accessory organs. Throughout the day your digestive system is ingesting food, secreting fluids, breaking down and digesting fiber, absorbing nutrients and defecating waste. This is when it is all working correctly.

“Sometimes you might experience indigestion, acid reflux, bloating, pain, constipation or diarrhea. A regular practice of Hatha yoga can help prevent these kind of  problems or aid in healing many types of chronic digestive complaints. There are certain simple, basic postures that you can easily incorporate into a regular practice. Putting them together in short sequences can be very effective and work within your time constraints.” – Delia Quigley, 10 Yoga Poses to Improve Your Digestion, Care2; Twitter: @Care2

"Research is showing that the healthier our digestive tract microflora, the healthier we are." - Dr. Melina Roberts

17. Take high-quality probiotics supplements. “Probiotics are the good healthy bacteria which will help to build a foundation of healthy microflora in the digestive tract. Research is showing that the healthier our digestive tract microflora, the healthier we are.” – Dr. Melina Roberts, 6 Ways To Improve Your Digestive Health, Food Matters; Twitter: @FoodMattersFilm

18. Avoid eating a lot of raw plant foods, particularly during digestive flare-ups. “In the midst of a flare-up, it is best to eat mainly soft, cooked plant foods, the best ones being steamed zucchini, porridge made with white rice, and potato-based soups.

“What about those folks who point to white rice being a highly refined food and therefore not a healthy food choice? In theory, white rice is inferior to fresh vegetables and whole grains that are minimally processed. But sometimes, one has to recognize that theory doesn’t apply to every circumstance, and because I have experienced good results firsthand in feeding well cooked white rice to folks who were having dozens of bouts of bloody diarrhea a day while eating nothing but fresh vegetables, I stand behind this recommendation with confidence.

“For some people, even small amounts of raw plant foods (including raw vegetable juices and green food powders) can increase the intensity and frequency of their symptoms.

“Raw plant foods and their juices can be added back into the diet on a gradual basis once a flare-up has subsided.” – Dr. Ben Kim, How to Improve Digestive Tract Health, DrBenKim.com; Twitter: @Ben_Kim

"Try cutting out one at a time to determine what is affecting your health." - Steven Macari

19. Know the common culprits that tend to upset the digestive system. “Gluten, dairy, corn, soy, nuts, eggs, chocolate, citrus fruits. These are the common culprits, you may or may not be able to tolerate these foods. Thinking about how you feel after you eat these foods can be particularly helpful. If you experience any bloating, brain fog, skin problems, etc. you should consider avoiding. Try cutting out one at a time to determine what is affecting your health.” – Steven Macari, 13 Ways to Improve Digestion Naturally, Harper’s Bazaar; Twitter: @harpersbazaarus

20. Eat on a regular schedule. “Try to establish a meal schedule that you can stick to. Pick times in the day that work with your daily routine. Remember to take into account work, social, and active parts of your day. I recommend not eating for 2 hours before engaging in any exercise, check out our Top 4 Tips for Exercising with IBS article for more tips. Of course there are days when our schedules will change and we have to remember this. I am not always successful at this as life as an entrepreneur is always changing and to be honest, my days are never the same. However, I always try to get my breakfast, lunch and dinner in at the same time… at the very least! This pattern helps your body get into a routine of when it expects to eat.

“Example:

  • Breakfast       @        8 am
  • Lunch             @        12 pm
  • Snack             @        3 pm
  • Dinner            @        7 pm” – Stephanie Clairmont and Team, Top 3 Strategies for Healthy Digestion, StephanieClairmont.com; Twitter: @BeyondFODMAPs

"If you sleep at night and rise in the morning, eating at night exposes you to weight gain, indigestion and other uncomfortable consequences." - Rob Callahan


21. Maintain consistency, but plan meals according to your daily schedule. “Some people keep unusual hours. If you work a night shift, the time you spend sleeping during the day is the time at which your metabolism enters a resting state. You might have the equivalent of breakfast late in the evening, and take your lunch and dinner while other people are asleep. Under these conditions, maintain regular late-night meals to foster a healthy digestive system. However, if you sleep at night and rise in the morning, eating at night exposes you to weight gain, indigestion and other uncomfortable consequences.” – Rob Callahan, Late Night Eating and Healthy Digestion, Livestrong; Twitter: @livestrong

22. Drink a glass of warm water about 20 minutes before eating. “A simple glass of warm water twenty minutes before a meal can improve digestive function by as much as 24%.” – John Immel, 10 Healthy Eating Habits to Improve Your Digestion from Ayurveda, Joyful Belly; Twitter: @joyfulbelly

"Liquids are best consumed about 15-30 minutes before meal or about and 1-2 hours after a meal to help avoid diluting enzymes needed to breakdown foods." - The Chalkboard

23. While it’s good to drink a glass of water about 15-30 minutes before eating, you should avoid drinking beverages during meals. “Avoid drinking with meals. Liquids are best consumed about 15-30 minutes before meal or about and 1-2 hours after a meal to help avoid diluting enzymes needed to breakdown foods. If you do reach for a drink with your meal (like most of us do), reach for an herbal tea or kombucha that that will enhance the digestive process.” Food Combining: What to Eat to Flatten Your Tummy and Optimize Digestion, The Chalkboard; Twitter: @chalkboardmag

24. Use food combining and food sequencing techniques for digestive health. “Some people – especially when coming from a standard American diet – will see a lot of benefits from getting very strict about food combining. It can do wonders for healing your digestive tract, and balancing your system.

“My brother was having some real problems when he moved to New York from Shanghai. The totally different food was giving him a ton of gas. He felt awful, and heard about food combining so decided to try it.

“By eating very simple combinations for his meals, and being really strict about his food combinations for a few months, he got rid of his gas. Once he got his digestion working properly, he had to take in all of his pants because his belly wasn’t bloated anymore.

“If your stomach is bloated with gas, if you find yourself tired after meals, if you feel full for hours after eating, or if you notice your food isn’t getting broken down fully you should try following the food combining rules for a while to see if it helps.” – Heather Nicholds, Food Combining Guidelines To Relieve Your Bloated Belly, HeatherNicholds.com; Twitter: @HeatherNicholds

"One of the ways to make sure that you get a positive net gain of energy from food is to eat nutrient-dense foods. Another way is to make sure that those nutrients can be easily absorbed into your body by keeping food combinations simple." - Nadya Andreeva

25. Keep it simple and keep your portions manageable. “One of the ways to make sure that you get a positive net gain of energy from food is to eat nutrient-dense foods. Another way is to make sure that those nutrients can be easily absorbed into your body by keeping food combinations simple.

“Food combination theories can be quite complicated to understand, and almost impossible to remember right away. However, there is one key rule that will save you a lot of memorizing: SIMPLICITY. The fewer ingredients the less different enzymes you need to digest food and the less likely the food will get stuck in our body fermenting. Simple meals are easier because they require less resources to break down and turn them into nutrients.

“Another rule is to keep portions manageable. If you know that you will be eating a complicated meal consisting of hard-to-digest products, keep the amount small (Yes, I am talking about Thanksgiving). It is easier to deal with a small problem rather than a large one.” – Nadya Andreeva, 10 Interesting Facts About Food Combining, Spinach and Yoga Blog; Twitter: @realyoganyc

 

 

 

What Is Gut Flora (and How Do You Restore It)?

Definition of Gut Flora

Gut flora is defined as the collection of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract of almost all living things. There are more than 400 different types of bacteria that can live in the gut, which is why ensuring that your gut flora levels are balanced is crucial for ensuring overall health and well-being. Too much of one and/or not enough of another can result in problems such as difficulty with nutrient absorption, excessive gas and bloating, or even diarrhea or constipation.

How Gut Flora Works what is gut flora

Because there are so many different types of bacteria living in the gut, it’s not entirely known exactly how they all work together in the human body. However, there have been several studies into gut flora that demonstrate the impact of gut flora on the overall state of the body as well as disease states and acute illnesses. “There’s a good chance your microbiome is associated with every disease you can think of — diabetes, cancer, autism,” Michael Snyder, PhD, and director of Stanford University’s Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine tells WebMD. “And the area where bacteria have a huge impact is your gut.”

Gut bacteria have been linked to illnesses such as diabetes, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, colon cancer, and obesity. Scientists have also recognized the connection between the health of the gut and brain health for many years. This is known as the gut-brain connection. The bacteria in your gut can actually communicate messages to the brain via the nervous system, hormones, and the immune system. Researchers have found connections between intestinal bacteria and mental health conditions including autism, ADD, anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among others.

Examples of Gut Flora

There are several types of gut flora, with some research finding up to 400 different types of flora in the feces of a single person. Some gut flora strains found in the human body include:

  • Giardia
  • Helicobacter
  • Campylobacter
  • Shigella
  • Entamoeba
  • Salmonella
  • Clostridium
  • Lactobacillus

Most of the microbes in the gut are anaerobic — which means they do not require oxygen in order to survive — making the body an ideal living environment. There are few gut flora in the stomach and upper intestinal system, with the majority of a person’s gut bacteria taking up residence in the lower bowel. There are some located in the mouth, throat, and esophageal area, but these are usually involved in digestion and don’t always make it to the lower bowel.

Benefits of Gut Flora

The importance of well-balanced gut flora cannot be stressed enough. A healthy level of gut flora is essential for ensuring good digestion, especially when it comes to fiber and lactose in the diet. These bacteria are necessary for breaking down food and keeping things moving through the digestive tract.

When out of balance, gut flora can also cause issues with the absorption of nutrients, resulting in deficiencies and even illnesses. They also send signals to your immune system, which can trigger immune responses like hives or increased mucous production. This can also lead to painful autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation in the body has also been linked to diseases affecting the skin, lungs, heart, and other body systems.

Healthy gut flora is also a key contributing factor in maintaining ideal levels of blood clotting agents. For instance, research shows that those with low levels of vitamin K who have recently taken antibiotics have lower clotting factors.

How to Restore Your Gut Flora

You can boost your own beneficial gut flora primarily through nutrition measures. Avoid eating a diet high in processed foods, which has been shown to contribute to a less diverse community of gut flora. Experiments on mice showed that when fed a standard American diet, the mice would become obese, as it was difficult for the good bacteria to set up shop in the digestive tract. The more you’re able to vary your diet, the more diverse and healthy your gut flora will be.

Avoid overusing antibiotics. Each time you take an antibiotic, you are wiping out critical gut flora essential for health. While this is sometimes necessary in order to get rid of an infection in the body, you’ll want to ensure you replenish these good bacteria either by consuming a probiotic supplement or probiotic-rich foods.

restoring gut flora with probiotic rich foods

Increasing your intake of probiotic-rich foods is probably one of the best ways to restore your levels, and the variety, of healthy gut flora. Probiotic-rich foods include:

  • Yogurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kombucha
  • Sour pickles
  • Dark chocolate
  • Tempeh
  • Miso
  • Kimchi
  • Kefir
  • Sourdough bread

Expectant mothers may also consider breastfeeding. Research shows that formula-fed infants have gut microbes not seen in breastfed babies until solid foods are introduced. It’s thought this early introduction of certain microbes may be linked to asthma, eczema, and allergies.

By avoiding antibiotics, reducing stress levels, eating a diverse diet, and increasing your intake of probiotic-rich foods or probiotic supplements, you can help to balance and maintain a healthy gut flora.

Images via Pixabay by OpenClipart-Vectors and Pexels

What Foods Have Probiotics?

Gut health is essential to overall well being and a major contributing factor to this is probiotics. You can take probiotics in a supplement form, but eating foods that are rich in these natural immune-boosting microbes is a more delicious way to get these healthy bacteria into your gut. This can be easy to do since there is no shortage of probiotic-rich foods, including:

  1. Yogurt
  2. Sauerkraut
  3. Kimchi
  4. Dark Chocolate
  5. Kombucha
  6. Miso
  7. Kefir
  8. Tempeh
  9. Pickles
  10. Sourdough Bread

Let’s take a closer look at these ten probiotic-rich foods and how consuming these (and other foods rich in probiotics) can help you improve gut health and overall well-being.

1. Yogurt – Probably the most widely-known and frequently consumed probiotic food is yogurt. It is easily found in any grocery store and can safely be eaten by people of all ages on a daily basis to help add beneficial bacteria back into the gut. A study published in mBio, the journal of the American Society for Microbiology, found probiotics in yogurt can even help reduce uptake of mercury and arsenic levels — especially in pregnant women.

2. Sauerkraut – Another food rich in probiotics that is ready available in stores is sauerkraut. Made simply from cabbage and salt, it’s also incredibly easy to make yourself. It contains more beneficial lactobacillus bacteria than yogurt and even has anti-cancer properties. Yogurt and other probiotic-rich foods

3. Kimchi – Filled with probiotic lactic acid bacteria, this traditional food is eaten with gusto by Asian cultures and has been gaining popularity in North America. The Journal of Medicinal Food notes that kimchi provides a number of health benefits including: “anti-cancer, anti-obesity, anti-constipation, colorectal health promotion, probiotic properties, cholesterol reduction, fibrolytic effect, antioxidative and antiaging properties, brain health promotion, immune promotion, and skin health promotion.”

4. Dark Chocolate – Because chocolate is a fermented food, it contains beneficial probiotics. There are also several compounds in cocoa that research has shown to help with everything from boosting skin health and blood flow, to reducing inflammation, blood pressure, and risk of cardiovascular disease.

5. Kombucha – Long thought of as a beverage choice of hippies, kombucha has become a mainstream drink choice thanks to its high level of probiotics. Several flavors can be found in most major retailers, but it’s another food that’s easy to make yourself. Those who are immunocompromised should steer clear though due to a slight alcohol content and potential for food safety issues.

6. Miso – This staple of Asian cultures is rich in flavor and probiotics, due to being made from fermented soybeans. It also contains a number of trace vitamins and minerals including vitamins E, K, and B, as well as copper and zinc. Research has also found that including moderate amounts of soy foods in one’s diet to be beneficial.

7. Kefir – Similar to yogurt, kefir is a fermented dairy food that has a consistency perfect for drinking. It packs a powerful probiotic punch and has a slightly effervescent mouthfeel, thanks to the 10-20 different bacteria strains that are typically used in its production.

8. Tempeh – Another soy-based food, tempeh is a popular protein choice for vegetarians and has been a traditional food of Asian cultures for generations. It’s also an excellent non-dairy source of iron and calcium, and a 2015 study found that it can even provide anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory effects when eaten sparingly.

9. Pickles – You probably eat them all the time without realizing that pickles are a food source of probiotics. Thanks to the vinegar used in the pickling process, both the pickles and their juice can help increase levels of healthy bacteria in your gut. They’re even reported to be curative for hangovers, heartburn, and PMS!

10. Sourdough bread – Not only does sourdough contain beneficial probiotic bacteria, but the unique fermentation process that occurs in its production allows it to be more easily digested by those with gluten sensitivities.

How Probiotics Help to Bolster Immune Health: What the Research Shows:

While there are an infinite number of probiotics and research is still somewhat new, many studies have found that eating foods rich in probiotics can help replenish the healthy bacteria in your gut after taking antibiotics, as well as relieving unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.

The American Gastroenterological Association also shares how probiotics are beneficial to people of all ages, and how maintaining a healthy balance of gut flora can boost overall health.

Foods With Probiotics to Help Prevent Cancer:

Research out of UCLA has found that healthy gut bacteria can help to prevent cancers, and eating probiotic-rich foods is one way to help bolster these beneficial microbes.

“If the good bugs in the gut outnumber the bad bugs, you’re less likely to develop some of the conditions that we know are highly associated with obesity and certain cancers and a whole host of things,” Cleveland Clinic dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick told WebMD.

Certain probiotics in foods or consumed via probiotic supplements can help to reduce inflammation in the body, which in turn directly contributes to lowering the risk of developing many diseases, including cancer, heart disease, arthritis and more.

As you can see, it’s easy to add foods with probiotics into your daily diet in order to reap the many health benefits of these immune-boosting bacteria.

Image via Pixabay by ponce_photography