So many of our patients have been sick with colds or flus this week! As our schedules become jam-packed and our nutrition is less focused on light, fresh foods, our immune systems become much more susceptible to infections. Here are our top recommendations for a bullet-proof immune system this December.
1. As mentioned last week, stay on track with your weekly adjustments!
2. Make a plan – To avoid the inevitable holiday weight gain from rich foods, decadent sweets, and extra alcohol, create your holiday nutrition plan. Eat your veggies or healthy meal prior to attending parties rather than showing up hungry.
3. Intermittent fasting – The latest research in health is showing that skipping a meal here and there is not only good for your waistline, it is vastly beneficial in fighting against cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other health disorders. To fast most effectively, go 12-16 hours without food, and eat in an 8-hour window for that day. Most people find it easiest to skip breakfast or eat a light breakfast later in the morning. Aim for 1-3 days/week on non-consecutive days.
4. Write your exercise plan in your calendar. If you prioritize your movement, you won’t skip! High intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a very efficient way to get in your workout in just 10-30 minutes each day.
5. Just say no! Prioritizing sleep and your self-care routine becomes difficult in December. Focus on the activities that are most aligned with your values, and pass on the ones that cause the most stress or are less important to you.
6. Supplements – Immune boosting supplements can help fend off not only colds and flus, but in the case of the superstar Vitamin D, also the winter doldrums. Vitamin D is also a hormone precursor involved in many parts of your body. Supplementation is necessary in Minnesota in October-April due to lack of sun. Adequate levels can be achieved by supplementing 5,000-10,000 IU’s/day in adults. Make sure that you choose Vitamin D3! Other supplements that peer-reviewed research has been shown to improve immune function include: elderberry syrup, Vitamin C, zinc, and echinacea.