I hope that you are carving out some "you" time to safely enjoy your favorite activities during the holidays. Things are very different this season and keeping your immune system strong and in fighting shape has never been more important.
I've got some tips for you on boosting your immune system NATURALLY.
Bonus: This has a spillover effect on pretty much every area of your health, including your mood!
1️⃣ Eat a diet based on WHOLE FOODS (& keep your gut happy).
There are entire books written on this topic! In a nutshell, try to:
→ Make WHOLE foods the center of your diet. Plant-based foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, and legumes contain micronutrients and fiber that help your body defend itself.
→ Your gut microbiome is a major player in your immune system. You can help keep it healthy and happy by eating enough fiber as well as bolstering it with fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, naturally brined pickles, kefir, or bubbly kombucha.
2️⃣ Watch your sugar, Sugar.
Too much sugar can suppress your immune system.
→ Experts say to limit your added sugar intake to less than 10% of your daily calories. According to the American Heart Association, that number tops out at 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for women. (NOTE: this doesn't include naturally occurring sugar like the kind found in fruit or dairy products).
→ Sugar grams can add up quickly. For example, a 12-ounce (355 ml) can of regular soda contains 8 teaspoons (32 grams) of added sugar.
3️⃣ Get (and stay) active!
Most women should shoot for 150 minutes of moderate exercise (like brisk walking, bicycling, jogging, dancing, etc.) every week.
→ This matters for your immune system because it can help reduce illness & disease-causing inflammation and promote the healthy turnover of immune cells in your body.
4️⃣ Drink water.
Need another reason to make sure you're getting enough water each day? Dehydration can make you more susceptible to illness.
→ Exactly how much water you need is frequently debated. Still, the Institute of Medicine recommends that women aim for an overall fluid intake each day of 74 ounces or 9 cups.
5️⃣ Get your shut-eye.
Sleeping less than 6 hours a night is linked to a higher likelihood of coming down with a cold.
→ PLUS: Getting enough sleep is also linked with less stress and fewer food cravings.
6️⃣ Find time to relax.
Long-term stress can create imbalances in how your immune cells work and even appears to suppress the immune response. Make some time to stop and smell the roses (or go out and look at holiday decorations🎄).
🛑 A word about supplements...
Many supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc.) may help boost your immune system. If you're thinking of taking them, be sure to check with your doctor first. This check-in is critical if you have any health issues or take prescriptions.
As I mentioned above, all of these things affect far more than your immune system. They also play a role in your results, your energy, AND your mood!
For more tips, check out our Boost Your Immunity tip sheet.