As the weather changes, so comes the cough and cold season. Are you doomed to be a victim? You don’t have to be! It is possible to get healthy AND stay healthy even through the winter months.

The answer is in biotics—PREbiotics and PRObiotics can prevent ANTIbiotics!

When we talk about biotics, we are talking about living organisms in a community, and for this post, the community is your gut! These organisms live harmoniously in a healthy, well-fed gut and in return they aid in digestion, keep the bad bugs in line,  and contribute to a strong immune system. Sign me up for that right?? So, how can we strengthen the gut and, as a result, strengthen our immune system?

We’ve already mentioned taking a probiotic…it’s the first step to building a healthy “ecosystem” in our gut. Probiotics are available over the counter, some are refrigerated, others at room temp. Look for a probiotic with multiple strains of “good bacteria” namely Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Take your probiotic on an empty stomach and preferably with bottled (or filtered) water. We suggest taking a probiotic year round, but at the very least during the winter months.

Ok, probiotic, got it. But don’t forget the prebiotic! What is that? A prebiotic is actually a food source that helps the good bacteria in your gut thrive! In other words, what you eat can actually keep your gut healthy by feeding the good bugs 🙂 So, what food is considered a prebiotic? Some examples include onions, garlic, leeks, and asparagus to name a few. They fall into the category of soluble fiber. Adding fresh vegetables to your diet is always a good idea—now, it’s a GREAT idea because those vegetables are providing nutrients for you AND a food source for the ecosystem in your gut! By contrast, eating a lot of processed foods and foods high in sugar will feed the bad bugs…another reason to believe you ARE what you eat!!

Finally, if you are late to the game and your gut is less than healthy, you may end up on an antibiotic this cough and cold season. An antibiotic is a medication used to fight a bacterial infection. Not a virus. Not a fungus. Only bacteria. The antibiotic works by killing bacteria. Unfortunately, some of the good bugs get killed in the crossfire which substantiates another reason to take a probiotic to help repopulate your friends!      

Because we give two hoots about your health—eat a diet rich in fresh veggies, especially some with soluble fiber…these are your PREbiotics; keep your gut well-populated with good bacteria by taking a PRObiotic; and enjoy the winter months without an ANTIbiotic!

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