🎶’Tis the season for the flu, falalalalalala achoo 🎶
Has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? Cold and flu season is upon us and runs all the way from December through March. That’s a whole lotta time to be out of commission or even simply not feeling well. Especially when we’re in the midst of the holidays. No one wants to sit next to Uncle Harold at Christmas while he’s sniffling and coughing and certainly nobody needs a headache BEFORE they see their in-laws.
Aside from bathing in disinfectant and making your guests wear face masks, is there REALLY any way to keep from getting sick? I mean, with 100% certainty, no. But we can sure up your chances for a healthier holiday season by boosting your immune system.
4 easy ways you can start TODAY!
1. REST This one is the simplest, but truthfully, the hardest. Rest is so elusive in our culture and can strangely even be looked down upon. “Busy” is the trophy people love to carry. This time of year is filled with calendars busting at the seams, late nights, and catering to the needs and schedules of everyone and their mom. Literally. This leads to exhaustion and stress which are two of the biggest killers to your immune system.
Ideally, as adults, you should be getting 8 hours of sleep. I know that’s not always possible, but cutting out late night shows and other screen time right before bed can really help make the sleep you ARE getting be of a higher quality. When you drop under 7 hours a night consistently, your body produces less infection-fighting antibodies and cells and you’re much more susceptible to catching something and it hanging on for dear life.
It’s not all about the zzzz, though. Sleep is a huge part of giving your body rest but you also need to give your brain a break. Between shopping lists, meal prepping, budget stress, getting the house ready for company, and just the general chaos of all the social obligations you’ve got going on, your mind is racing a looooot. You’ve got to build in “white space” into your calendar to give yourself a mental break. We’ll talk about self-care next week, but just know that it’s VERY okay (and necessary!) to take time that’s just for you. It’s not selfish. In fact, taking care of yourself is one of the most caring things you can for others.
2. IMMUNITY BOOSTING FOODS While I believe there’s a time and a place for “modern medicine,” I know that much of the need for medication would be cut drastically if we were preventatively taking care of our bodies and filling them with the food we’ve been given. Food is actually the best healthcare there is because it starts working before there’s even a problem. Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” I want to give that man a slow clap.
As we’re entering the “germy” season and our bodies have lower defenses because of the levels of stress we’re rocking, there are foods we can eat that are almost literal barricades to oncoming sickness. If it’s too late, and we’re already sick, they can shorten the duration immensely!
As you map out your plan of attack, remember to eat the rainbow. Foods with the highest vibrancy of colors will have the best bang for your buck nutritionally and will contain the highest level of vitamins.
Red bell peppers: these puppies have TWICE the levels of vitamin C than citrus which is an immune booster powerhouse.
Garlic, ginger, and turmeric: the triple threat. Ginger and turmeric fight off the inflammation in your body while garlic is an infection fighter. Juicing ginger and turmeric is a mind-melter but absolutely worth it for the packed levels of immunity boosters.
Spinach, broccoli, and well, anything green: Green is where it’s at when it comes to antioxidants and all the vitamins. Seriously, pick any green vegetable, don’t cook the crud out of it, and you can’t go wrong
3. GET OUTSIDE Most people are pretty deficient in Vitamin D (which is weird since skin cancer is at an all-time high) and that can lead to a gap in your immune system. When Vitamin D levels are low, your risk for respiratory infections dramatically increase. On the flipside, your risk for catching the flu goes way down when your Vitamin D levels are increased. While it’s not a million degrees, getting outside for even 15-20 minutes a day shows a positive correlation to healthy Vitamin D levels. Now if you want to go for a walk or a run while you’re outside, I’m not gonna stop you. And that exercise certainly won’t hurt your chances for boosting that immune system even more.
4. REGULAR CHIROPRACTIC CARE It’s not just for the aches and pains of life. The nervous, immune, and endocrine systems all work together while your body is fighting off any amount of germs, infections, etc… When there’s stress on the body due to compression or misalignment, the body has to work even harder. Our spine is directly connected to your immune system so when the spine isn’t aligned correctly, your immune system can’t give your body the proper response to taking on that cold germ that you just got from the elevator buttons at work. It’s like wearing a weighted vest when you’re trying to run a marathon. Every step will be that much harder and make your body that much weaker. Most people think that if they’re sick they should cancel their appointments at our office. Quite the opposite! It’s when you need it the most! (We just won’t hug you when you come in.)
Making the most of this holiday season means less time on the couch with the your kleenex box attached to your face and more time snuggling on the couch watching movies with your family. Taking care of yourself BEFORE disaster hits is crucial and can really be the difference between barely surviving these next few months and thriving!