The Core Diet Blog

“I have at least one daily serving of natural probiotics, such as kefir, tempeh, or miso.”

It is well-reported that during periods of heavy training and racing, athletes are more susceptible to, and may experience, an increase in upper respiratory infection (URI).  A “window of altered immunity” following prolonged or heavy exertion exists (that may last between three and 72 hours), wherein many components of the immune system exhibit change. This window is an opportunity for viruses and bacteria to gain a foothold. In addition, factors such as travel, low energy availability, and high levels of stress and anxiety also put athletes at risk. So, what can we do from a nutritional and lifestyle standpoint to combat getting sick?

The Core Diet Immunity Scorecard  provides an opportunity to check in with yourself and your coach to ensure you are taking all steps possible to stay healthy.  Probiotics are a piece of the immunity puzzle.  Read below to find out more.

*Probiotics, often referred to as “good gut bacteria”, are defined as live microorganisms that are intended to have health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts.  There are many different types and they can be obtained from both foods and supplements.

*Although an extremely complex process, simply stated, probiotics may positively affect gut microbiota and this microbiota exerts a strong influence over the immune system.  Mechanisms include reinforcing the intestinal barrier and competing with pathogens for both attachment to the gut epithelium and for available nutrients.  If you keep your gut healthy, YOU will stay healthy!

*Probiotics are naturally found in fermented foods such as yogurt (make sure the label says “live and active cultures”), kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, sourdough bread and some cheeses.  

*Probiotics can also be taken in supplement form (recommended if you don’t enjoy the strong taste and smell of fermented foods) and one example is  Klean Probiotic.  Supplements should contain at least 10 billion CFU per serving.

*There is no recommended daily intake for probiotics, therefore the general guideline is to add as many fermented foods to your diet as possible, daily.  You may consider adding a supplement, as well, in times of high stress or during high risk periods (ie: intense training/racing, winter cold/flu season, travel, etc.).

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