So much of the holidays is about community – shopping for gifts, visiting loved ones, going to parties and more. While these are all wonderful aspects of the season, they can take a toll on your immune system.
From packed stores and crowded planes to holiday parties and huggy greetings with friends and relatives, you come into close contact with people more than average during this time of year. Add higher stress levels from holiday planning and poor eating choices (we all know Santa’s not the only one enjoying cookies), and you have a recipe for compromised immunity.
In a nutshell, the joy of the holidays brings with it a higher chance of getting sick! And that’s the last thing you want when trying to enjoy yourself among the festivities. Thankfully, there are some healthy and natural ways to boost immunity and support your immune system:
#1 Focus on the Whole Foods
Diet is one of our biggest tools for a healthy immune system. A good diet is also the first thing to go when the holidays roll around. We’re not saying to turn up your nose at grandma’s homemade sweets, but making an effort to include more whole foods can make a big difference.
The following “power” foods can help protect your immune system and fight infections that are floating around:
- Sweet potatoes
- Leafy greens
- Oats and other whole grains
- Lean proteins
- Colorful fruits
- Black and green teas
Try to incorporate more of these foods into your meals or snacks as much as you can.
#2 Think Positively and Laugh
Positive thinking does more than just lift your mood – it may protect your immune system, too!
According to Mayo Clinic, negative thinking can create chemical reactions in our bodies that increase stress and decrease immunity. On the other hand, thinking positively releases neuropeptides, compounds that help prevent stress and illness.
Laughing can have the same effect. Combat negative thinking by reminding yourself of the good things in your life and by laughing with family and friends. The best part about this is: by making those around you laugh, you’ll boost their immunity, too!
#3 Have Some Garlic
Garlic is a great remedy for fighting respiratory illnesses and colds in the winter season. Not only does it contain vitamin A and vitamin C that are great for immunity, garlic also has antiviral properties. It can help boost antibodies to fight bacteria you’ll inevitably come into contact with while travelling or kissing Great Aunt May.
#4 Get Enough Shuteye
Not sleeping enough (less than seven hours per night for adults) increases stress levels and inflammation in our bodies. This can reduce the amount of antibodies we make to fight illnesses like the flu.
Give your body a hand with fighting sickness this season by aiming to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
#5 Move Your Body
Just 20 minutes of moderate exercise, like walking, each day can help increase dopamine in the brain, reducing stress and promoting a better mood.
In a similar fashion to laughing and thinking positively, the mood-boosting aspects of exercise can help improve immunity. Plus, regular movement can help you sleep better!
#6 Supplement Smartly
If you still find yourself coming up short in the nutrition or exercise department during the holidays, you might consider immune-supportive supplements for an extra boost.
Vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, and calcium (nutrients contained in Michael’s® Quick Immune Response) help assist the immune system in promoting the body’s natural defenses.
The Bottom Line
The better we care for ourselves this holiday season with healthy foods and nutrients, regular exercise and sleep, and happiness among loved ones, the more we’ll strengthen our immune system and help it do its thing.