Hello friends, happy holidays!
I hope you are enjoying the early days of this festive season. Although it is a magical time of year, it can also be a bit stressful… making it hard to maintain health as a priority. From running store to store buying presents, traveling to see friends or family and attending holiday parties… it’s very easy to find yourself rundown. For this reason, it’s especially important to boost your immune system and remain laser focused on your health. There is nothing fun about being sick in bed on New Year’s Eve…
Tips to Stay Healthy this Holiday Season:
1. Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Start your day with lean protein, vegetables, whole grains and/or fruit. For example: Oatmeal with berries, a protein shake, smoothie or eggs with veggies.
Bonus Tip: Eat an apple a day and you will keep the doctor away. You can add this to your smoothie, juice or enjoy with delicous almond butter.
2. Get Moving
Do not skip your workouts! Make sure to exercise at least 3 times a week, even if it’s for twenty minutes. Exercise is good for the body and brain — and new research suggests it could boost your immune system and possibly even help it guard against cancer.
3. Add in Garlic
Garlic is medicine and it’s important to eat it to prevent sickness. It also adds a delicious flavor to meals. Garlic contains the active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria. British researchers gave 146 people either a placebo or a garlic extract for 12 weeks; the garlic takers were two-thirds less likely to catch a cold. Other studies suggest that garlic lovers who chow more than six cloves a week have a 30% lower rate of colorectal cancer and a 50% lower rate of stomach cancer. Aim for two raw cloves daily. Add garlic to your eggs, spinach, pasta sauce or fish.
4. Stay Hydrated
Aim for 6-8 glasses of water daily. If you are going to be drinking alcohol, drink one cup of water for every drink you have. And Add lemon to boost your immune system!
5. Greens! Greens! Greens!
Add in greens to at least 2 out of 3 of your meals. Greens will keep your body alkaline, uplift your mood and boost your immune system. They contain antiviral and antibacterial agents that keep you disease free.
Bonus Tip: Adding the following cruciferous vegetables to your daily plate is like taking an anticancer pill: arugula, beet greens, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, red cabbage, turnip greens, or watercress.
6.) Find time to relax, de-stress and aim for 7-8 hours of sleep
Deep breathing exercises like Dr. Weils 4-7-8 breathing techniques can help with reducing stress so that you don’t get run down. Unwind by taking a warm shower or bath at the end of the day. Turn off your phone, tv and disconnect from your day. This will help you sleep like a baby.
7. Eat More Fish
Don’t skip shellfish, unless you are allergic of course. Shellfish such as oysters, lobsters, crabs, and clams contain selenium which helps white blood cells produce cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that help clear flu viruses out of the body. Salmon, mackerel, and herring are rich in omega-3 fats, which reduce inflammation, increasing airflow and protecting lungs from colds and respiratory infections.
8. Drink Tea Daily
Tea is not only soothing and relaxing but it will also help you stay healthy this season.
People who drank 5 cups a day of black tea for 2 weeks had 10 times more virus-fighting interferon in their blood than others who drank a placebo hot drink, in a Harvard study. The amino acid that’s responsible for this immune boost, L-theanine, is abundant in both black and green tea—decaf versions have it, too. Enjoy several cups daily!
Bonus Tip: To get up to five times more antioxidants from your tea bags, bob them up and down while you brew.
9. Swap out Potatoes for Sweet Potatoes
Skin is an important part of your immune system. It a crucial organ, covering an impressive 16 square feet. Skin serves as a first-line fortress against bacteria, viruses, and other undesirables. To stay strong and healthy, your skin needs vitamin A. “Vitamin A plays a major role in the production of connective tissue, a key component of skin. One of the best ways to get vitamin A into your diet is from foods containing beta-carotene (like sweet potatoes), which your body turns into vitamin A.
Aim for a half-cup serving, which delivers only 170 calories but 40% of the DV of vitamin A as beta-carotene. They’re so good and will help fight sugar cravings as well! Think orange when looking for other foods rich in beta-carotene: carrots, squash, canned pumpkin, and cantaloupe. Check out my Baked Sweet Potato Fries Recipe here.
10. Enjoy Mushrooms
For centuries, people around the world have turned to mushrooms for a healthy immune system. Studies show that mushrooms increase the production and activity of white blood cells, making them more aggressive. This is a good thing when you have an infection.
Shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms appear to give your immunity the biggest punch. Eat at least ¼ ounce to 1 ounce a few times a day for maximum immune benefits. Add a handful to pasta sauce, sauté with a little oil and add to eggs for breakfast.
Stay healthy this holiday season and have fun!! Warm wishes to you and your family.