No matter where you live, winter takes a toll on your wellness. From the colder temperatures to the shorter days to the extra cold and flu viruses spreading around, the winter season adds extra threats to your health and fitness.
Those physical threats stress your immune system, and that starts right in your gut microbiome (the trillions of bacteria that live in your gut).
But you can breeze right through these cold, dark months by taking a few simple steps to winterize yourself and supercharge your immune system.
Did You Know Your Gut Is Seasonal?
Your gut microbiome gets influenced by a ton of factors, from the foods you eat to the pets you have. And now new science tells us that our guts are also seasonal, naturally changing composition as the seasons change.
Winter shifts your gut bacteria for a few key reasons:
- Less sunlight changes your sleep/wake cycles, and that includes your microbiome’s own clock
- Cold weather leads to less outdoor activity, reducing exercise opportunities and limiting the variety of bacteria you’re exposed to
- Many fresh fruits and vegetables are out of season, leaving you with fewer choices (and eating out-of-season produce comes with its own gut-damaging issues)
- You’re biologically primed to crave carbs during the “hibernation” season
All of these changes have occurred like clockwork for generations. Human gut microbiomes go through their seasonal shifts according to what’s going on in nature. And that’s worked out just fine… until now.
Modern life has completely changed the way we live through the seasons, especially winter. We live and work in climate-controlled buildings. We eat the same foods all year round because we can, now that we don’t have to rely on only the seasonal foods at hand. That can trick your gut microbiome into getting stuck in a shift, rather than going through its normal seasonal transformation. (Read More)
On top of that, some of the ways we cope with the cold, dark days of winter also affect our gut microbiomes. And that can cause shifts in the wrong direction… toward gut imbalance and an overburdened immune system.
We Drink More Alcohol in Winter… and Our Guts Don’t Like It
The holidays… long dark nights… bitter cold…
Winter provides plenty of reasons to warm ourselves up with adult beverages. And studies show that people drink more during the winter months. In fact, researchers found a clear connection between fewer hours of sunshine and more drinks consumed. They also found that as temperatures drop, the instinct to drink alcohol rises.
Unfortunately, beneficial bacteria don’t like alcohol… but pathogens do. So the increase in winter drinking can cause another seasonal shift in your gut microbiome – a shift toward dysbiosis, a condition where bad bacteria outnumber good bacteria in your gut, and an underperforming immune system.
Cold and Craving Carbs
Warming winter meals naturally include lots of root vegetables and hearty grains, the kind of complex carbs we crave when it gets cold.
But again, modern life gets in the way. Instead of slow-cooking whole grains and roots, we veer toward more convenient foods that satisfy our carb cravings
- processed and prepared foods
So while our gut bacteria may be expecting things like turnips, yams, and barley, what it actually gets is lasagna, potato chips, and pie. Probiotic bacteria shy away from sugary, starchy, fatty foods… but pathogens love them.
And that sets up another perfect storm for dysbiosis to strike.
When Your Gut Is Out of Season…
It’s easy for your gut to get out of whack during the seasonal shift. Between the cold, dark winter days and the pull of sugary holiday treats, your gut microbiome can end up in a state of dysbiosis.
Dysbiosis sets the stage for toxic streaming , which can cause all sorts of symptoms (from gas and bloating to weight gain) and lead to serious diseases (like diabetes and heart failure). Toxic streaming starts when bad bacteria and the compounds they produce, including LPS toxins (lipopolysaccharides), start attacking the protective barrier in your gut. A damaged gut barrier allows pathogens and toxins to escape into your blood stream – toxic streaming – and travel anywhere in your body. Wherever those toxins land, they cause harm.
The only way to protect your gut barrier and prevent toxic streaming is to keep your gut microbiome in healthy balance. The best way to do that: Supply your gut with high quality spore probiotics and nourish your good gut bacteria with precision prebiotics (their favorite food).
Winterize Your Gut Microbiome for a Healthier Season
You can support a healthy gut microbiome through this winter – and every season – by taking a few simple steps.
- Focus on fresh seasonal foods (preferably organically grown)
- Spend as much time outdoors as you can, especially during prime daylight hours
- Resupply your gut with beneficial bacteria by adding Just Thrive Probiotic to your daily routine
- Selectively nourish the probiotics in your gut microbiome with Just Thrive Precision Prebiotic
Just Thrive Probiotic contains a powerful mix of four clinically proven spore probiotics. Hearty spore probiotics can survive extreme conditions and temperatures. They make it to your gut alive and ready to get to work. Once they reach your gut microbiome, the spore probiotics in Just Thrive get quickly to work downsizing the pathogen population so many varieties of beneficial bacteria can flourish.
Next, Just Thrive Precision Prebiotic contains special forms of dietary fiber that beneficial bacteria just love… but that pathogens can't digest. By feeding the good guys and starving out the bad guys, you’ll be helping your microbiome stay in healthy balance all winter – and all year – long.