Here are a few tips to help you stay healthy for the holidays.
With shopping lists a mile long, errands to run, parties to host and attend, and the other stressors of the season, it’s not surprising that anxiety and stress often come into the picture during this time of year. When you’re feeling frazzled, slow down and take a moment to reflect on the many blessings in your life. If that doesn’t work, try a soothing cup of green tea or take 200-400 mg of the anxiety-reducing amino acid theanine.
Other effective stress-busting activities include meditation, yoga, and tai chi. And when all else fails, remember that laughter truly is the best medicine. In addition to boosting immune function, it increases circulation, reduces muscular tension, and just plain feels good. So spice up your life with funny videos, books, and people who make you laugh—and practice “smile therapy” whenever you get the chance.
It’s temping to go hog wild during the holidays. After all, there are sweets and treats everywhere you turn. But overindulging is bad for your health in a number of ways. First, there’s the guilt. Next, there’s the weight gain. Finally, there’s the sluggish feeling you get from overeating rich, fatty foods. Fortunately, with a little willpower and a few dietary swaps you can stick with a healthy diet, not just during the holidays but all year long.
Stay away from or severely limit your intake of starches and sugars. These high-glycemic carbohydrates wreak havoc on blood sugar and waistlines. Try steamed and pureed cauliflower with a little garlic in place of mashed potatoes, eat savory steamed veggies instead of loading your plate with stuffing, and bake with xylitol, stevia, or another natural, low-calorie sweetener in order to cut back on sugars. Take the skin off of your turkey to slash fat content, say no to seconds, and try to eat sensible portions. Moderation in tandem with good food choices goes a long way toward improving health.
I realize this is a busy time of year, but that’s no excuse to put exercise on the back burner. In fact, staying physically active will actually give you more energy to tackle all of your holiday tasks. If you don’t have time to go to the gym, simply incorporate these calorie burners into your daily activities.
Park in the far corners of the lot at the mall or grocery store, use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, pick up the pace as you do housework and chores, do jumping jacks, push-ups, or sit-ups for a few minutes when you have some idle time—just get moving!
Bolster Your Immune System
You know what they say: The best defense is a good offense. The upcoming weeks are bound to be busy and stressful, and that combo can really take a toll on your immune system. Don’t end up on the sidelines. Protect yourself by giving your body the nutrients it needs to fight off infection and keep you in the pink.
Start by taking 2,000-5,000 IU of vitamin D daily. Your goal is to get your blood level in the 50-80 ng/mL range. Next, load up on vitamin C, a minimum of 1,000 mg per day. Other immune boosting supplements to consider are echinacea (use as directed), colostrum (4,500 mg twice daily on an empty stomach with water), and a fermented bakers yeast product such as EpiCor (500 mg daily). You can purchase these supplements in health food stores or online from various retailers.