Your immune system is remarkable and protects you against disease-causing organisms. But what happens when it fails – a germ successfully invades you and makes you sick? Then whether it is a recurrent cold and flu, sniffles during the winter months, allergies, asthma, or infections, we get them all and blame it on our weak immunity.
But do you like falling sick? Other than a convenient excuse for a day off from school or work, the answer is always a resounding NO. Therefore, taking care of our immune system should not just be a seasonal job and while we can give a little extra care during the cold and flu season, we should provide a boost to our immune system all year round. This also makes sense to safeguard us from the dreaded visit to the doctor or the long course of terrible-tasting antibiotics.
There are a lot of different ways to support your immune system and top of mind is the rainbow diet with different colored vegetables and fruits that are loaded with Vitamin C and antioxidants. But have you heard of Probiotics for better immunity? Although most people associate probiotics with intestinal health, they are now being recognized as an easy step for a strong and healthy immune system. This is not surprising given that probiotics are friendly helpful bacteria that occur naturally in the intestine which also houses about 70% of the body’s immune system.
Probiotics help you to stay well by giving your immune system the boost that it needs, gaining a greater level of wellness, and shielding you from invading bacteria and viruses. It is now easy to make the connection why newborns with a naïve immune system rely heavily on the strength of probiotic bacteria for building their immunity.
In today’s fast-paced world, parents are overstressed, children are over-scheduled and everyone suffers. This coupled with a poor diet and a pollution-filled environment, there is a slow but steady depletion of the friendly bacteria in the intestine resulting in weak immunity. Once our system becomes deficient in friendly bacteria, we are more likely to experience digestive disorders, autoimmune diseases, and frequent colds and flu. This is also seen in the elderly where a lack of probiotic-friendly bacteria results in frequent infections.
Recent studies suggest the benefits of probiotics in reducing the risk of diarrhea and other infections. Some others have shown that regular consumption of a probiotic can reduce the duration and incidence of respiratory infections, especially in smokers, athletes, and the elderly. Pregnant women who were given a probiotic during the third trimester had better immunity and gave birth to babies with lesser allergies and eczema.
There are some scientific studies that show that diets rich in probiotics reduce the risk of cancers by increasing the activity of immune ( Natural Killer) cells that detect and attack cancer cells in the body. This was seen in Japan where women who consumed a probiotic drink at least four times a week had a 50% lesser risk of breast cancer as compared to those who did not. Probiotics are available as functional foods and clearly, there is a lot they can do to give your immune system that extra edge. It is important to remember that different strains of probiotics have different effects. Always be sure that the products you are taking have been scientifically backed to ensure that they will be effective. This coupled with a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, and good eating habits can do wonders for your immune system. So do all that it takes to keep your immune in tune.