The holidays are both an exciting and stressful time of year for many people, and often a challenging time to maintain a strong immune system and keep your digestive system from being over-worked. Let’s be real. We are going to indulge because that is just what happens this time of year. Your social calendar is likely to get busier and work might get more demanding as you race to wrap up things before the year’s end. If you have kids, they are even more susceptible to colds and other illness with fluctuating temps and more time indoors with recycled germ-filled air.
My healthy holiday checklist is geared toward boosting your immune system and equipping your digestive system with the right support for all those heavier, sweeter, and most likely larger quantities of food you are about to enjoy over the next month. This time of year should be about quality time with friends and family and some serious chill-axing!
with gratitude and love,
Check out my Healthy Holiday Checklist below!
Immune System Boosters
These wellness tips will help your immune system stay strong so that you don’t get sick this holiday season and can truly enjoy all the festivities and hopefully some quality down time.
Greens, greens, greens. I could write paragraph after paragraph on the health benefits of greens. But when it comes to immune system boosting, adding as many greens as possible to your diet is a guarantee that you will be more hydrated and get key vitamin and minerals – like Vitamin C, A, and K as well as folate, potassium, and beta-carotene – all of which help to support the body’s immune, digestive, and cardiovascular functions. Because greens are rich in fiber they absorb carbohydrates after meals and help keep blood sugar in check – so a double dose of those greens may just help you avoid a total energy crash after your big holiday meal (not that I’m encouraging you to gorge, but if you are like me and have eyes bigger than your stomach at the holidays, don’t skip the greens!)
Phytonutrients. Did you know that plant foods contain thousands of natural chemicals. These are called phytonutrients or phytochemicals.”Phyto” refers to the Greek word for plant. While they aren’t essential – like vitamins and minerals – they do play a powerful role in preventing disease and keeping your body working properly. Since many phytonutrients act as antioxidants, the more you consume arms your body with more weapons for fighting free radicals and contributes to healthy aging. Some of my favorite foods that are packed with phytonutrients this time of year are:
- Butternut Squash
- Sweet potatoes
- Cranberries (did you know this berry was used by Native Americans to fight wound infections well before the invention of antibiotics?)
One of the ways I also ensure a good dose of phytonutrients is through my daily intake of Juice Plus+ where I am getting a combination of 25 fruits and vegetables.
Digestive Wellness Tips
If you just can’t help yourself with all these delicious foods and your eyes are bigger than your stomach, try some of these remedies to improve digestion and reduce bloat.
Drink Tea. Peppermint tea can ease discomfort of indigestion and fullness. Green Tea is loaded with antioxidants called polyphenols, known for their anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Kombucha is a fermented black tea that is growing in mainstream popularity. It’s known for supporting liver function and helps with the liver’s removal of toxins. I’m just starting to experiment with making my own Kombucha – stay tuned!
B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Also referred to as mindful eating, taking a moment before you eat to take a few full breaths may help you determine how hungry you really are and prevent overeating. Remembering to breathe as you eat will also help you chew your food and not overload your digestive system by cramming too much in at once. As someone who often eats standing up in between preparing and cleaning up my kids’ meals, this one is especially challenging for me, but has big payoff when I remember to do it!