It is cold season — literally! The weather is getting colder and the common cold, the flu and other viruses are rearing their ugly heads. As cold season sets in, preparing your body to fight off these viruses is an essential step to remaining healthy this winter.
Thankfully we can be proactive in setting ourselves up for a healthy holiday season by altering what we eat. To avoid getting sick, I have several specific food items I incorporate into my diet on a regular basis the help keep my immune system as strong as possible.
Top Foods that You Can Add to Your Grocery List Now
- Blueberries are high in antioxidants
- Broccoli is high in vitamins A, E and C, and lightly steaming it retains the nutrients
- Oily Fish like wild caught salmon
- Dark Chocolate is yummy and high in antioxidants
- Sweet Potatoes are loaded with vitamin C and several B vitamins
- Spinach is high in vitamin C and beta carotene
- Ginger is anti-inflammatory and great for nausea too
- Turmeric increases the antioxidant capacity of the body
- Garlic is high in the antimicrobial allicin, helps to reduce blood pressure and reduce hardening of the arteries
- Green Tea is high in antioxidants
- Kefir is high in vitamin D, and its live cultures boost the immune system in the gut
- Almonds are high in vitamin E for boosting the immune system. We soak ours overnight and then dehydrate for better absorption!
- Citrus Fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes and tangerines are high in vitamin C to boost white blood cells
- Red Bell Peppers have twice as much vitamin C as citrus AND contain beta carotene
- Sunflower Seeds are rich in B vitamins and other minerals like magnesium, iron, vitamin E and more!
Download the printable grocery list below to stick in your purse or car, that way next time you’re at the store you have this information handy:Additionally, the holiday season can cause extra stress, which makes our bodies more susceptible to disease. It’s no fun being sick over the holidays! Take the following general health tips under consideration this winter as well. I want to keep you healthy. 🙂
1. Get a good night’s sleep
Research shows the importance of sleep and boosting your immune system (source), so you may want to think twice before staying up late to finish that last episode on Netflix or putting off bedtime to answer those emails that can wait until tomorrow. Try your best to establish a comfortable bedtime routine to optimize your sleeping habits and to boost your immune system.
Consistency is key —
- Choose a couple actions that you know are relaxing for both your body and mind
- Do them at the same time every night
- Turn off electronics an hour before you turn in for the night
2. Be a homebody
For all you extroverts out there, you may be dreading the idea of being a homebody! But, you may want to avoid going to places where there may be tight, enclosed spaces for germs to easily spread or areas where there are many sick people.
If you have no option but to be in these types of setting, you can carry around hand sanitizer to use when you don’t have access to a sink to wash your hands. My personal favorite non-toxic version is the Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier by Young Living.
Of course, you don’t need to lock yourself at home or be extreme with this! However, avoiding these places, or planning for when you have to be in crowded places, may reduce your chances of getting sick.
3. Remember to exercise
When the cold weather sets in, it’s easy to want to stay home, curl up next to a fireplace and skip going to the gym. But we all must remember to stay active and get our exercise! Studies have proven that exercise can actually improve immune system responses (source).
If you have a hard time motivating yourself to exercise, start slowly by going for walks or the gym only one or two days a week. Simply 20 minutes a day is enough to reap benefits for your immune system.
Enlist a workout buddy to meet you at the gym. I have found it is easier to get to the gym when I know someone is counting on me to be there. And working out is more fun with a friend anyway!
4. Moderate your alcohol/smoking
It’s no surprise that alcohol and smoking can impair your body’s immune system responses (source). As the holidays approach, the frequency of social get-togethers with family and friends tend to increase. However, you may want to put that glass down and grab a water instead. Data has shown that alcohol can have negative effects on your health and immune system (source). Try cutting back on holiday drinks, or if you really want to indulge, try a single glass of red wine instead. My go to wines are from Dry Farms Wine. Delicious low sugar, low alcohol and glyphosate free wines from all around the globe will keep you happy and healthier too.
5. Get more sun
The vitamin D from the sun can boost your immune system health. Studies have shown vitamin D can be a powerful tool to protecting your body and boosting your immune system. It has been proven to help treat many ailments, such as infections, autoimmune diseases and more. (source).
Getting more vitamin D, whether it be from the sun or your diet, can be an easy way to improve immune system health. Reports have stated that approximately 36% of healthy young are vitamin D inadequate, and you might one of them!
So remember to bask in the sunshine and nourish your body with vitamin D. For those of you looking for an excellent Vitamin D supplement, I suggest Systemic Formulas liquid D3/K2. Not only is it yummy tasting but the K2 helps your body to uptake and utilize the D3. This amazing D3 product is only sold through practitioners so if you’d like to try some just reach out here.
6. Drink Tea (Especially With Echinacea)
Did you know that this classic winter drink not only helps us get in the wintry mood, but also can protect you from disease?
A Harvard study showed that people who drank 5 cups of black tea per day for 2 weeks had 10 times the amount of virus-fighting interferon in their blood than a control group who drank a hot placebo drink.
You get bonus points if your tea has the herb echinacea, which is commonly used in Ayurvedic healing. Research shows it increases the number of white blood cells in your body, which fight infections. (Source) Take a peek at the ingredients next time you’re purchasing your tea. I know Yogi Tea and Traditional Medicinals both have tea that includes this herb.
Best of luck staying healthy this upcoming winter and holiday season! Please feel free to reach out to me if I can help support your health in any way.