December 7, 2022Stories
Light up Your Immune System this Season
Healthy for the Holidays
by Elizabeth Drolet
The jolliness of the season can unfortunately bring abnormally high levels of sugar, alcohol, and stress to our daily routines, making us more susceptible to seasonal flu and cold bugs.
Stay Jolly This Season
Your best defense is a hearty offense. So, boost your immune system with these achievable tips.
Everything in Moderation
According to Healthline, a medically approved health and wellness information publication, “healthy eating doesn’t mean you have to give up your holiday favorites.” You can enjoy your favorites guilt-free by doing the following.
+ Be mindful of portion size.
+ Be conscious of eating nutrient-dense foods on days you might indulge to balance out your daily intake.
For example, on days you know you will indulge, choose healthier options during surrounding meals. For example, choose a healthy breakfast for your body or eat a light lunch - like a salad, packed with immune-boosting vitamins and a lean protein (protein will sustain hunger and ward off food cravings). Opt for a heart-healthy olive oil dressing. Then enjoy a more indulgent dinner. You can also look for healthy alternatives to your favorite dishes.
Sugar Is Not So Sweet
Studies have shown that a high sugar intake will suppress your immune system. The more suppressed your immune system is, the more likely you will catch a cold. In addition, foods and beverages with refined carbs will process in the body as sugar and have a similar effect. On the other hand, eating nutritious meals will give your body the vitamins and minerals to fight viruses and bacteria. For extra credit, here are “The Best Foods for Boosting Your Immune System.”
Eat Your Vegetables
At the risk of sounding like your mother, veggies are vital to a healthy body and mind. In addition to a range of long-term health benefits, fiber-rich vegetables can keep your digestive system on track and positively influence your blood sugar. This will reduce sugar cravings and keep your appetite on point during the holiday season.
Be Extra Mindful of Stress
The hustle and bustle of the holidays can be draining. Adding tasks to your regular workload, like hosting family members, entertaining friends, cooking lavish meals, and shopping is taxing. Choose activities throughout the day that will help reduce stress and keep your body resilient.
Find an exercise that brings you joy, take a short walk outside, read a good book, and/or partake in breathing exercises, yoga or meditation. ‘Tis the season to take time for yourself! To help you get started, here are Forbes’ 7 Ways to Relax During The Holidays (Even If You Have To Work).
Be Merry With Water
Your body is 60 percent water. Water is essential to the survival of some of your largest organs and, therefore, necessary for keeping healthy homeostasis in the body.
Holiday parties can ring in an array of sugary drinks and dehydrating alcohol. Make sure to drink an extra glass of water for every alcoholic drink consumed, or choose sparkling water with lemon at your next event.
Consider Healthier Holiday Traditions
Why not introduce some healthy family traditions? For example, take guests on a walk outside after a large dinner or how about starting an annual family holiday snowball fight or snowman-building competition? The possibilities are endless and can be fun!
Have Suggestions of Your Own?
Start the conversation on our Health Affinity Group today.
From All of Us at NANOG, Happy Holidays!
Elizabeth Drolet is NANOG's Multimedia Story Producer
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