By

Cynthia Brace

It’s that time of year were on top of all of the things you normally do you’ve got special family dinners to make and attend, holiday presents to buy (seriously, if I don’t start by October, I start to get stressed), football and hockey to watch, ice skating with the kids to enjoy.

No one wants to get sick with all of that going on….ok maybe you want to PRETEND to be sick for some of the family dinners, but forget a real runny nose and fever.

So why is it most people tend to get sick from late fall and into the New Year?

Because it’s the “Sugar Season!”

Starting in October/November, we have Thanksgiving and Halloween, then on to Christmas and New Year’s right to Valentine’s Day. All loaded with rich food, desserts and cocktails.

Can you say Sugar Overload!

The problem is, sugar weakens your immune system. The thing you need good and strong to fight off a runny nose, headache, and the need to sleep for what seems like (and sometimes is) days on end.

So what’s the answer? Is it not to enjoy any of the special treats around the holiday season?

Heck NO! Life isn’t about depriving yourself of all the time.

If you enjoy the special treats and a few cocktails…have them. But in moderation, instead of filling up your plate with 4 or 5 different deserts have one and not one every day 🙂 That’s a start to avoid getting sick this season.

Here are some other great ways to keep your immune system working at peak performance so you can fight off the flu and colds naturally.

Take an Age and Gender-Specific Good Quality Multi-Vitamin/Mineral

Most multivitamins have a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals that help your body get some of the things you may be missing in your diet. They can also help your immune system stay strong.

An age and gender-specific formula will ensure you’re getting the right nutrients for you. If you’re a female over 50 the formula will likely have things like iron and B12. If you’re a male in your 30’s your formula won’t have iron as this is something men don’t need to supplement.

Take Vitamin D During the Month’s When You’re Not Out in the Sun A Lot

Not only does vitamin D help absorb calcium, help with heart disease and some types of cancer. It also helps your immune system and plays major roles in the life cycle of your cells.

Your body makes vitamin D, but only with enough exposure to sunlight. I don’t know about you, but I’m not outside in my tank top getting my 10-15 minutes of sun in the middle of the winter so my body can make my vitamin D. Burr

Yes, most multi-vitamins have vitamin D but only in small amounts. Remember the multi is only to cover your basics.

During the seasons where you’re not out getting the warm rays of sunlight, consider adding vitamin D.

Hydrate

Be sure to get 2 liters of water per day. Your body is made up of about 70% water and loses it through breathing, sweat and elimination.

In order for your body to function at it’s best and keep your immune system at its peak, it needs the water replenished.

Try herbal teas, flavoring water with fruit or lemon, using a timer to remember to sip throughout the day.

Get Your Probiotics

You can get these friendly little bacteria in fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir.

They help balance your gut flora and are linked to many-body benefits, including weight loss, digestive support and strengthening your immune system.

If your gut flora is balanced, having probiotic-rich foods can help you keep it there. But if it’s not, unfortunately having a small yogurt every day isn’t going to cut it.

That’s where you can supplement with probiotics. When you take them regularly in a sufficient amount, they can help boost your immune system and help prevent infection.

Keep Your Body MOVING.I know it can be hard not to hibernate in the winter like the bears, but when you exercise not only do you increase your circulation, you move around the fluid in your lymphatic system.

Your lymph fluid has your infection-fighting white blood cells, but it doesn’t get pumped through your body like your blood.

It actually gets moved around when you use your muscles (hello exercise), which means your immune system has a better chance of finding a cold or flu bug before it spreads.

Eat Brightly Colored Fruits and Veggies

Oranges, papayas, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, like spinach, kale, Swiss chard and arugula are packed with vitamin C.

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, blueberries and apples are rich in antioxidants.

Garlic has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Gah!…I’m getting hungry.

I know it can be hard to think of eating things like a salad in the cooler months. I still do though. The trick is to make your salad and leave it out for a bit to bring it up to room temperature. That way you’re not eating cold salad and getting cold while doing it.

If you’re not into the salads in the winter months try steaming your veggies, putting them in stews, roasting them, which are all great ways to get your brightly colored veggies.

Enjoy the holiday season (a.k.a. Sugar Season) by keeping your immune system Merry, Merry.

*Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting with any new supplements, especially if you’re on prescription medications.

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