The food, the shopping, the family get-togethers; the holiday season can be a wonderful time of the year, but it can also take a lot out of you. Getting through the holidays without making a dent in your daily health and nutrition is no easy task. But you can keep your immune system strong and start your New Year off on the right track with a couple of easy tips.
Go with Your Gut
An often forgotten fact about your immune system is that a large part—about 70%—resides in your gut. This makes nourishing your digestive tract paramount to protecting a healthy immune system. Probiotics, found commonly in yogurts, can help nourish your gut, keeping your immune system healthy and ready to fight off the antigens that can infiltrate your body. But if you'd prefer the benefits of probiotics without the calories or sugar of yogurt, try probiotic supplements instead. An important tip for making sure you're getting the right type of probiotics is to make sure they're enteric coated. This special coating protects the probiotics so that they won't be stripped away by your stomach acid before they reach the large intestine where they will be most helpful. More and more evidence these days points to a healthy balance of microbes in your gut being the catalyst for a strong immune system. New studies have connected the importance of good gut microbes to everything from immune function to healthy moods to simple weight management. This makes the choice easy for supporting your immune system from the inside: Go with your gut.
Keep Clean and Rested
Along with supporting a healthy gut on the inside, there are several practical tips to help shield you on the outside during the holidays. Many of us tend to feel rundown during the holidays from work deadlines, travelling, shopping, last-minute gift wrapping, or socializing. Your busy schedule can be the catalyst for a weak immune system. We all know the body needs proper rest, but the holidays can be especially taxing. Making sure you're getting a healthy night's sleep before, during, and after the holiday marathon can keep your body on a rested and healthy cycle.
Hands Together for Health
While it's great to see family and friends during the holidays, the fact is, people carry germs. Think of all the handshaking, hugging, and handling of food that goes on at social gatherings. Hand sanitizer and frequent hand washing can be your best friend this time of year. Keep some hand sanitizer in your pocket and make sure to wash your hands consistently with soap to keep potential holiday germs at bay. Of course, there are many choices in hand sanitizers out there, so when choosing a hand sanitizer make sure it contains at least a 60% concentration of alcohol such as ethanol or isopropanol. Hand sanitizers with less alcohol may not be as effective.
Enjoy a Healthy Holiday
It is possible to enjoy the holiday season while keeping good health in mind. Sometimes it's the little things that can make a world of difference during this winter and holiday season. Try some relaxing herbal teas to wind down in the evening and be sure to stay hydrated throughout all of your holiday endeavors. The best gift you can give yourself going into the New Year is a clean bill of health, so remember to supplement, rest, and practice good hygiene so that you can take full advantage of the holidays.