It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, at least that’s what it was last year, and the year before that. This year is a little different. A lot of what we do now, and don’t do, revolves around the state of our health, and maintaining it! No one wants to get sick around the holidays, and this year that is quite an understatement. Aside from the basics of practicing your social distancing and wearing your mask you might still be looking for a little more help to keep you from that sniffly nose or fearful cough. Even though we are still in the midst of a pandemic we desperately want to end this year with as much holiday cheer and family time as we responsibly can. Here are 3 action steps you can start implementing immediately to help give your immunity that much needed boost to protect you and those around you.
Maximize oxygen intake and blood circulation
A robust immunity needs loads of oxygen and strong blood circulation, and there’s no better place to get those than a brisk walk in the crisp winter air, a jog, or a pleasant bike ride. Don’t underestimate that evening stroll or morning run. You need to be out in the open air working those muscles and stretching out your lungs with deep long inhales and exhales. If you’re visiting friends or family during the holidays encourage them to join you, especially after meals. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, just a 10-15 minutes at a time. We usually equate flu season with winter because it just so happens people get pretty sick during that time, but a lot of it may have to do with people staying indoors so much, keeping windows closed, and not getting any fresh air or putting their bodies to work. Winter is the very time people need to be the most active, especially outdoors. There’s only so much “clean air” one can get from a gym. Nature has the best remedies and sometimes we need to just go back to the basics to experience its blessings.
Avoid sugars and processed oils
Although there’s not mounting evidence of a direct correlation between sugar intake and a decrease in immunity, there is one thing that research agrees on, processed and refined sugar in all its forms causes inflammation. Inflammation puts your body in an aggressive state of distraction and this process takes up much of the energy needed to protect against viruses and pathogens. In other words, the inflammation caused by sugary foods and drinks such as cookies, puddings, candy, chocolate, cakes, sodas, and Starbucks drinks (sorry friends!) interfere with your immunity’s main mission which is to keep you from getting sick. The same goes for processed oils such as vegetable, canola, and hydrogenated oils, which includes anything that is deep fried. The main chronic diseases in the US which include heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer claim inflammation as a common denominator. Aside from environmental insults like pollution and radiation which we can’t control as easily, highly processed foods are the principal cause of inflammation we experience on a daily basis.
Give your microbiome a boost with a daily dose of vegetable broth
Let’s face it, it’s the holidays, you’re going to have some of your grandmother’s signature flan and your aunt’s fried chicken, I get. No judgement. So, here’s a little something to help give your immunity that preparatory boost of resources to pull from when hit with those tempting insults. Whether you find a recipe on the internet or come up with your own version, you need a daily dose of the vitamins, minerals, and fibers extracted from a beautiful batch of homemade vegetable broth! Bone broth this, bone broth that, vegetable broth is where it’s at! The hidden fibers and veggie points you can get from a meticulously prepared veggie broth can help to rebuild gut function and resolve issues like leaky gut syndrome, SIBO, candida overgrowth, and most importantly provide loads of antioxidants to combat inflammation. It’s rich in plant-based proteins, collagen promoting nutrients, and electrolytes. A warm cup in the evening with a drizzle of cold pressed olive oil can soothe away those inflammatory slurs. Of course, you can’t down 2 slices of cheesecake and 4 chocolate chip cookies because you’re planning on having a cup of your broth later that night, this is not a magic bullet. It’s about moderation and giving yourself a boost, there is no miracle in a cup!
There are some wonderful recipes and variations online that you can find for microbiome broth, but here is one I’d recommend you try! I’d also add a few cloves of garlic and replace the mushroom powder with whole dried shitake mushrooms, 3-4. You can also reduce to the cook time to 2-3 hours if 6 hours is too long. I love my microbiome broth and try to make a batch at least once a week!
And there you have it! 3 easy tips to put into practice right away that will make a big difference for you this holiday season. Wishing you all safe travels, cozy evenings, and a blessed and safe time with your family and loved ones!