The stress of the hustle and bustle of the Holidays takes its toll on all of us.  It’s not uncommon to succumb to a cold or flu virus during this time, in part, due to the lack of sleep, stress and poor nutritional choices.  Typically, if we are under stress, our bodies use certain vitamins in larger quantities particularly vitamin C, the B-vitamins and magnesium.  So the following tips may help reduce the risk of getting sick:

  • Get adequate sleep. Consider heading off to sleep slightly earlier than usual to make sure you get enough sleep.  Too little sleep, particularly staying up very late, tends to reduce your body’s ability to fight off illnesses
  • Make sure you get wholesome, fresh vegetables, whole grains, beans and fruits daily.  Of course, sample the holiday foods but make sure you don’t neglect the wholesome foods
  • Double-up on the antioxidants like vitamin C, B-vitamins and vitamin D to keep your immune system strong.  Technically, vitamin D is a hormone and is produced by our skin when exposed to sunlight.  Because we see less available sunshine during the winter (in the northern hemisphere), you may need to supplement your diet with some vitamin D. Check with your health care provider if you have questions
  • Be sure to use probiotics such as yogurt culture which contain friendly bacteria that can help protect you from dangerous bacteria that may be in some foods.  Adequate levels of probiotics in the colon also assist the immune system
  • Get out for some light to moderate exercise most days of each week.  Just a 20 to 40 min walk around the block or at the park is enough to help to stimulate the immune and anti-oxidant systems

Hopefully, you will stay healthy and happy for your Holidays by taking a little extra care to follow these tips!