Tips for a Holiday Immune System Boost
The holidays are an exciting time filled with family, friends and good food. With the holidays coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic, they can also be very stressful. When our immune system weakens, our bodies are more prone to illness. It's important to know what can help you, and what can compromise your immune system during this festive season.
We often hear the same recommendations. Yes, eat well, sleep well. We believe it is an easy task. However, if you look back at your past few days, have you actually done all the things you could have done to protect your immune system? It is easy to be thrown out of sync during the holidays, so this is a reminder to keep these things in check.
1. Take Elderberry Boost
Elderberry is widely known for its immune boosting and anti-viral properties. In fact, The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health has recently researched elderberry and covid-19. They have named elderberry as one of the 7 steps you should take for the early intervention treatment for Covid-19.
Studies have found elderberry to shorten the duration of sick time in 94% of people who take it regularly. Those who take elderberry before travel have less sick time and if they do get sick, the symptoms are much more mild than those who did not take elderberry.
These reasons alone are enough for my family to take it daily.
2. Eat More Plant-Based Foods
Plant based foods are loaded with immune-boosting antioxidants and phytochemicals. Eating plant-based foods improves the health of your gut, so you are better able to absorb the nutrients from food that support your immune system and reduce inflammation.
Need to bring a dish to pass? Try a healthy charcuterie board filled with fruits, veggies and nuts.
Only about 1/3 of people get adequate sleep. During busy and stressful times, sleep can often be disrupted even more. Numerous studies have reported the benefits of a good night’s sleep, and now researchers from Germany have found that sound sleep improves immune cells known as T cells. T cells play a vital role in keeping your immune strong.
4. Drink Up - Yup. This means water.
Our immune system is highly dependent on the nutrients in our blood stream, and our blood stream is made mostly of water! If we don’t have enough water, we cannot properly transport nutrients to each organ system. Staying well hydrated is also very important for detoxification pathways, increasing lymphatic draining and making sure we are clearing out any foreign invaders and other waste materials that can lead to a weakened immune system. Your water intake can include herbal teas.
Exercise is often the first priority to go during the holiday season. With added tasks of shopping, wrapping, and preparing for the holidays, exercise is easily replaced.
However, research shows that physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. Exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells, the body's immune system cells that fight disease.
Find a fun outdoor activity to do with the family. Simply going for a walk to look at Christmas lights can help give yourself a boost. Going for a walk after a big meal can not only help you digest dinner, but helps decrease stress, boosts blood flow and increases energy levels.
All sounds pretty basic, right? It's the daily habits that will have the greatest impact on your immune system.
Share your ideas on how your family stays healthy in the comments below.