Posted on 12/16/2014 at 12:00 AM by Embria Health Sciences
by Julie Revelant
When I was in my 20’s feeling under the weather several times throughout the winter was my norm. Despite being young and healthy, my body was suffering with 80-hour work weeks at a demanding job, tons of stress, eating way too much sugar, rarely exercising, and not getting enough sleep.
Now my health is much improved because of the many changes I’ve made. I eat a healthy diet, exercise, make sleep a priority and have learned to set up boundaries and manage stress better – all of which have given me a huge surge in immunity. Today, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been even though I have two little kids who swap cooties at school and daycare and then plant them on my face with a kiss and a snuggle.
Even when I feel down and out, it’s usually nothing to ahem, sneeze at. In fact, my daughter’s nose has been running like a faucet for nearly 2 weeks, but I got off easy with a slight stuffy nose that lasted just a day or so.
This season, maybe you’ll shake hands with someone who doesn’t wash his hands. Or perhaps you won’t feel the best after a flight home after a warm tropical island vacation. And before you can say “cover your mouth,” your kid will sneeze so hard your face will be soaked in his saliva.
Feeling crappy and stuck in bed several times this season isn’t uncommon, but there are some easy things you can do so you don’t miss out on all the holiday fun. Here are 9.
1. Load up your plate with antioxidants. Eating the rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables will give you plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so it’s one of the best and most delicious ways to nutritionally strengthen your immunity.
2. Don’t be a gym drop-out this New Year. Studies have shown that a moderate exercise program can strengthen your immune system. So instead of waiting for the New Year to sign up for a gym membership, get started now and come January 1st, you’ll be healthy and slim.
3. Get a massage. A recent study out of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine shows that a massage can improve immunity. There are also other research studies showing the many benefits of massage therapy. So buy your spouse a couples massage for the holidays or book a spa day with your friends.
4. Take probiotics. It’s pretty safe to say that when your gut is healthy so is your immune system. One of the best ways to put healthy bacteria into your gut is with a probiotic supplement or probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, Kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and fermented vegetables. Another secret tip is to help support those beneficial bugs in your gut with prebiotics, which are nourishing foods they feed on to stay healthy. EpiCor dried fermentate helps your immune strength on many important levels, and one of those benefits is acting like a prebiotic in an in vitro study published in the Journal Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
5. Scrub, scrub, scrub. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the best way to prevent the spread of illness is with proper hand washing. Lather your hands with soap and water and scrub all over, including in between your fingers and under your nails for 20 seconds and then dry completely. Use hand sanitizer only when soap and water isn’t available.
6. De-stress. Whether it’s short-term worrying about an impending work project or chronic anxiety, stress can take a toll on your health and your immunity. Since stress is hard to avoid, it’s good to know remedies exist, like making time each day to take deep breaths, calm your mind with meditation and relax. Also, finding opportunities that fulfill you like volunteering or making a donation to a charity, connecting with a higher power, devoting time for a hobby or spending time with friends are all ways to soothe the soul and an over-stressed immune system.
7. Got to bed early. Without enough sleep, your body’s defense system won’t function at its best. So put your iPad away, shut off the TV, and get into bed to improve your immune strength. One tip is to move your bedtime back 30 minutes each night until you’re able to clock between 7 or 9 hours a night consistently.
8. Have a glass of wine. A study in the journal Vaccine shows that moderate drinking can help your immune system and fight off infections. But it’s not a free pass to drink as much as you want. Balance is key, so keep it to just four ounces so you don’t add on the extra calories and excess sugar.
9. Stop smoking. You already know smoking is bad for your health, but if you’re always coming down with something, one of the reasons could be your addiction. Even if you have an occasional cigarette, the tar and chemicals are no way to treat your immune system that you trust to keep you well!