Christmas-memeThe excitement and bustle of the holiday season leaves many of us missing the festivities if we are struck down with the latest cold or flu bug.  Personally, I discovered that sickness comes from two things: not getting enough sleep and eating too many sugary treats.  It’s that simple.  Being tired and missing sleep robs the body of the critical time it needs to do repairs and fight infection.  Eating sugar weakens the immune system and deprives it of nutrients it might otherwise need to fight illness.

Now that I recognize what causes holiday sickness, will that keep me from staying up late making presents for friends, or trying the cookies Aunt Susie spent all day preparing with love?  Probably not.  I will continue to partake because I want to appreciate every minute of life and won’t want to miss out on quality times with friends and family.  Yet there are some things we can do in the meantime to be supported even when we get run down.

1.       Going to a party?  Eat a healthy snack before so you won’t be tempted to indulge in too many sugary treats.  Once there,be a food snob.  If you don’t love it, don’t eat it.  That way you will still be able to savor your favorites but not be bogged down with too much junk.  This is also a way to truly appreciate the food you eat and prevents weight gain.
2.       Give your immune system a boost by supplementing with vitamins.  Here are the MVP’s of the vitamin world that you are most likely not getting enough of in your diet: Vitamin D, Probiotics and Omega 3 Fatty Acids (AKA fish oils).  Eating foods with garlic or mushrooms like Shiitake &/or Maitake are excellent ways of supporting the immune system.  Getting vitamins through whole foods are always best!  Also, if you feel yourself coming down with something, the best supplements to keep it from being full blown are Echinacea, Astragalus and Vitamin C.

3.       Remember that drinks have sugar in them and the calories count!  If you are indulging in sweet or alcoholic beverages, try to alternate with water.  You’ll be surprised at how this simple trick can help maintain energy so you can stay up later and enjoy yourself longer than otherwise.

4.       Above all, don’t feel bad if you splurge and follow none of these tips.  Maintaining a positive attitude andavoiding stressis a powerful tool that keeps your body healthy.  The important part is that you are getting the most out of these special times with friends and family.  Letting go of the small things that may make you feel overwhelmed are a good place to start.  Catch up on sleep and nutritious food as soon as you get the chance.

May you have a happy and healthy holiday season!

-Dr. Leah

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