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Probiotics Aren’t Only For Digestion, They Also Boost Your Immune System

Probiotics Aren’t Only For Digestion, They Also Boost Your Immune System

What Do You Know About Probiotics?

When you think of the term “probiotics,” you probably think about the benefits to your digestive system. Thanks to the many probiotic drinks and supplements available to buy, together with widespread manufacturer advertising, probiotics are synonymous with improved gut health for most of us. We often think of taking probiotics to help overcome conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or to restore healthy intestinal bacteria following an antibiotic treatment.

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What Are The Other Benefits Of Probiotics?

Probiotics are live yeasts and bacteria that can be safely ingested. In truth, probiotics do not just act on the digestive system. They are also beneficial in other ways, namely via their action on the immune system, and via their ability to maintain a balance of healthy, or “good,” bacteria within the body.

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For example, probiotics can be useful in preventing and treating yeast infections.[1] Researchers have gradually come to acknowledge that probiotics can reduce the risk of recurring yeast infections in women because they help to preserve a healthy balance of appropriate bacteria in the vagina.[2]

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They can also help prevent urinary tract infections.[3] Research has demonstrated that probiotics lower the chance of unhealthy bacteria gaining a foothold and causing infection in the bladder and urethra. Clinical trials indicate that probiotics may help prevent recurrent cystitis in women.[4]

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Probiotics may also play a role in lowering your likelihood of succumbing to colds and the flu. A Korean meta-analysis of research studies looking at the link between susceptibility to the common cold and probiotic intake concluded that probiotics have a modest protective effect.[5] The authors believe that probiotics boost immune system functioning, which increases a person’s ability to quickly overcome common infections.

How To Boost Your Probiotic Intake

Yogurt is the best-known source of probiotics. Look for organic products that are clearly labeled as containing live cultures. However, in order to get the most from your probiotics, it is important to combine them with foods that contain prebiotics. Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that provide fuel that probiotics need to grow and thrive. They are found in foods such as whole grains, honey, onions, artichokes and bananas. If you lead a busy lifestyle and find it hard to eat a balanced diet, then consider a high-quality probiotic supplement instead.

Reference

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Jay Hill

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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