Three Simple Steps to Stay Healthy this Holiday Season

The holidays are here and that means loads of fun festivities to attend. But it’s hard to enjoy the fun of the season when you catch a nasty cold or flu, so to keep you healthy, here are three ways to activate your immune system:

Exercise – Are you getting enough Vitamin Ex, as in exercise? Exercise has been shown to increase the production of macrophages, which attack the types of bacteria known to trigger colds. Exercise has also been shown to improve the circulation of immune cells, enhancing their ability to fight off bacteria and viral infections. Studies have also shown that people who average 45 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week decrease get sick as much as 50% less than those who don’t exercise regularly.

Sleep – Lack of sleep can profoundly inhibit your immune system and reduce the body’s ability to fight infections. A recent study found that people who average less than seven hours of sleep per night have triple the risk of catching a cold compared to people who average eight or more hours per night. Still not sold on turning off your tablet and getting more shut eye? Research has also found that people who sleep seven to eight hours a night have the lowest rates of heart disease and death.

Get Cultured – Probiotics, which come from the Latin word meaning ‘for life’, are beneficial bacteria that protect your body from illness. You can get probiotics from supplements, but it’s even better to get them from fermented foods, like yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut. The bonus of eating these foods instead of relying solely on supplementation is that fermentation creates immune system-enhancing vitamins, like beta-glucans which enhance your macrophages and natural killer cell function. I suggest adding at least one serving of fermented foods to your diet daily during cold and flu season.

Here’s to making your holidays happy and healthy!

And if you’ve already caught that cold, don’t despair! Click here to get my Cold & Flu fighting Bean Soup for The Soul.