Between travel, cold weather, a lack of sunlight, social gatherings, and the stress of the holidays, escaping seasonal illness is difficult—but not impossible! Fuel your body with the foods and fluids it needs to maintain a strong, healthy immune system—then support your efforts by adopting other wellness-promoting practices. Here are some things you can do to boost your immunity this holiday season.
Fill up on fruit and veggies
Packed with vitamins and minerals, vegetables and fruits are a staple to keep your immune system healthy. Remember to include foods that are rich in vitamins C, A, and D, all of which contain strong antioxidants to help fight off infection. Citrus fruits like grapefruits and oranges are immune-boosting no-brainers. But bell peppers (which have twice as much Vitamin C as citrus fruits), broccoli, sweet potatoes, garlic, ginger, and leafy greens (like spinach, kale or Swiss chard) can play a significant role, too.
Smoothies are an efficient and tasty way to enjoy nutrient-dense fruits and veggies. Simply toss your favorite ingredients into your Vitamix blender—liquids first—and drink up. Or, grab a spoon and try this whole-food juicing , which retains all the nutrients and fiber, and reduces food waste in the process.
During winter months, you may not always be able to get your hands on high-quality fresh produce. Just remember: frozen is OK. Fruits and veggies are picked and frozen at the peak of ripeness, which means they’ll pack a similar nutritional value as their non-frozen siblings. Just check the nutrition label to ensure your frozen foods don’t contain added sugars, artificial sweeteners, or sodium.
Pack in the protein and probiotics
Antibodies and immune system cells protein to do their jobs to fight viral and bacterial infections. By eating sources of protein like chicken, beef, turkey, wild salmon, tofu, seitan, tempeh, nuts, or beans, you can fuel these antibodies and your immunity.
Yogurt also provides a healthy dose of protein, plus probiotics, or good bacteria, found in yogurt helps maintain better digestive health and a stronger immune system. Other foods rich in probiotics include sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, kefir, sourdough bread, and pickled items.
Reach for water
Keep up on your water intake, especially when nearing cold and flu season. If you are already starting to feel symptoms, staying hydrated can help loosen trapped mucus. And, remember, we tend to lose more fluids when sick, so it’s even more crucial to stay hydrated if you are already under the weather. Tea is another great way to consume fluids … whether you choose green (matcha is an especially beneficial variety), black, or chai—unsweetened, please—you’ll reap the immune-boosting benefits. Just make sure to hit the recommended eight glasses of H2o (in some form) daily.
Catch those Z’s
People who don't get enough sleep may be more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. Lack of sleep can affect how fast you recover. The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours. For teenagers, it’s closer to nine to 10 hours of sleep, which is especially important when kids are in school and exposed to a plethora of germs.
Have trouble falling or staying asleep? Establish a regular routine and bedtime to allow your body to relax from the day. Avoid stimulants (caffeinated beverages and chocolate) at least four hours prior to bedtime. Eliminate barriers to sleep: if light bothers you, try blackout shades or a sleep mask. If outside noises keep you up, try earplugs, a white noise app, or a fan to block them out.
Make time to move
Exercise is also beneficial to your immune system. It promotes circulation, facilitating the movement of cells and immune system substances throughout the body. If you can’t pack in a full sweat session, take a brisk 15-minute walk, use your favorite fitness app to guide you through a quick yoga sequence, or hit the dance floor at your next holiday gathering.
By putting these tips into practice, you can increase your body’s chances to stay healthy this holiday season—and beyond. Vitamix wants to help you along the way. Tag us on social media #MyVitamix with your favorite wellness-promoting recipes and practices, and you might be featured on our page!