Winter is upon us — brrrr! Cold weather coupled with the busy holiday season can be taxing on our immune system, which can cause us to get sick, leaving us not so jolly. Although there are many great strategies and power foods to strengthen your immune system, today we will focus on my top three, specifically designed to keep you healthy during the often hectic holiday season.
Washing your hands is crucial for preventing illness — get in the habit before leaving a public place, like the gym, to hop in the bathroom and wash your hands. And before each and every meal. Antibacterial soap and piping-hot water aren’t necessary; just apply soap to wet hands and rub vigorously for 15 seconds. (It’s the scrubbing that matters.)
2. Get adequate sleep
To keep yourself looking and feeling energized, strive for an optimal 7-8 hours a night. Inadequate sleep is known to depress the immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. A recent study found that after a short night’s sleep, adults ate about an extra 300 calories and tended to choose higher-fat, higher-calorie foods — yikes!
3. Load up on Sweet Potatoes and Garlic
The lining of your lungs and digestive system are the front lines of the infection war — they depend on potent antioxidants. Few foods rival the sweet potato for it’s beta-carotene content. Roasted, pureed, or fried all do the trick. My Sweet Potato Hummus is great to have on hand during the holiday because it is so versatile. Kids love it too! Which makes mom happy, because the kids are getting a good dose of power veggies and protein. No need for chicken nuggets!
And garlic? Garlic combats a rogues’ gallery of invaders. Regarded as one of the most potent cold and flu fighters, it fights off bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses, thanks to the presence of polysulfides. Garlic’s most dynamic compound, allicin, blocks enzymes that help viruses spread. Allicin lies dormant in a clove until it’s cut or crushed. This means that Roasted Garlic Soup is both a comfort dish and a potent weapon against illness!
Remember this is the season to Thrive! Try some of these tips and recipes so you will stay healthy and skipping through the holidays!