Olive Branch Wellness Center
Wellness tips, health news, nutrition insights, encouragement and more...
December 2017 Issue
Raynette Ilg, ND, Founder
Olive Branch Wellness Center
Holiday Health Secret:
Take Care of Your Gut!
Last month we talked about avoiding stress and sugar to prevent getting sick during or after the holidays. Here’s my second holiday and winter health secret: Keep your gut healthy. That means avoid food you know your allergic or sensitive to, and take your probiotics regularly.
Last month we talked about avoiding stress and sugar to prevent getting sick during or after the holidays. Here’s my second holiday and winter health secret: Keep your gut healthy. That means avoid food you know you're allergic or sensitive to and take your probiotics regularly.
Why are probiotics so important? The bacteria in your gut forms a huge part of your immune system. They help keep the integrity of your gut lining strong so that bacteria and the partially digested foods can’t enter your bloodstream. This helps free up your immune system to deal with more important things, like that cold virus you just picked up.
Research published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport found that athletes had about 40% fewer colds and gastrointestinal infections when they took a probiotic compared to when they took a placebo. That’s why when patients complain that they feel a cold or flu coming on, one of the first things I tell them is to double up on the probiotics for a few days. Sometimes this is enough to stave the virus off.
Second, the health of your gut determines how well your food is digested and how many of the nutrients in your food will be absorbed. Some nutrients are even manufactured with the help of your intestinal flora. If your gut bacteria are depleted, you aren’t getting what you need out of the food you eat.
Third, if you have a cold or flu virus you don’t need an antibiotic. Antibiotics simply do not work on viral infections. They are meant for serious bacterial infections only. Worse, using antibiotics can decimate your gut bacteria and your body’s entire microbiome. If you or a family member MUST take an antibiotic for a medical condition, be sure to start an aggressive course of reintroducing good bacteria immediately after you are through taking them. That means fermented vegetables, organic whole fat cultured dairy products (if you eat dairy), and probiotic supplements.
Lastly, a healthy gut may be your best defense against seasonal affective disorder – or the winter blues. The health of your gut can affect whether or not you produce serotonin from the proteins you eat. Watch my video “Happy Guts to You” for more on this.
So now you have it – the secrets to a healthy holiday season! May you enjoy your celebrations and the new year with best wishes from all of us at Olive Branch Wellness Center.
Emerald Kale Salad
- 1 bunch curly-leaf kale stemmed and chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ lemon, juiced
- ¼ cup minced red onion
- ¼ cup finely chopped cucumber
- 1-2 avocados chopped
Preparation: Mix and Enjoy!