Staying healthy this Holiday season and how to boost your immune system.
Guess what? It’s that time of year again for holiday parties, finger foods, specialty wines, lush desserts AND cold and flu season. Sniffles and coughs are being passed around the office, the lady behind you at the store is sneezing and your child just informed you her throat feels scratchy. Alas, it’s not too late to start building your immune system and taking a few other precautionary measures that might just keep you and your family healthy this holiday season.
It’s so easy during the holidays to lose sleep. Late night shopping, office parties and school events tend to keep us on the run. When in reality during the winter months you should be getting a good 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night for an optimum healthy immune system. If you are cheating yourself of your nightly slumber you are decreasing energy levels and your cells ability to regenerate, making you more susceptible to coming down with a cold or flu. Make your sleep-time a priority. Not only will you feel better but you might just ward off that office cold.
Over the years research has shown us that being over stressed has a direct correlation to a decreased immune system. There is always stress in our lives; family, finances or work related. During the holidays it can take on a whole new layer brought on my loneliness and/or a lack of social support. Now is a time to reach out and plan a luncheon or movie with friends or members from your church, volunteer with hospice or another organization for the needy. If you are feeling depressed, cold and flu season may be the good time to finally see a doctor about possible treatments.
Eat well and balanced meals
The body relies on C and D and a whole host of nutrients to keep the immune system functioning on healthy levels. When the nights are cold and it’s already dark by 5:00 we tend to reach for comfort foods, forgetting the vegetables and salads. For example, carrots, leafy greens and cantaloupe all contain vitamin A which helps our white blood cells fight infection. To replace the salads, cook up sweet potatoes or spinach. To battle respiratory infections, grab a handful of seeds and nuts, which are loaded with vitamin E. Remember comfort foods doesn’t have to mean giving up essential nutrients.
These days it’s easy to get from your house to the garage to the office parking garage to your work space without ever having to venture out of doors. During the winter months there is even more excuse to stay indoors, cozy fires, wintry winds and darkness. But in doing this you are missing out on one of the most important sources of vitamin D. Sunlight. Try to make a plan to spend 10 minutes each day in bright sunshine to boost your vitamin D and fight back those colds and flu.
Sharing a bowlful of goodies
Beyond that fact that junk food will never boost the immune system sharing snacks at parties is a great way to pick up an unwanted bug. Resist the chips, nuts or pretzel bowl and opt for either wrapped snacks or individual Hors d’oeuvres.