'Tis the season for coughs, colds, and much sneezing.
Nobody wants to spend the holidays wrapped in a blanket reaching for the tissues while everyone else is having fun with family and friends. While we can't promise you won't ever get sick, we do have a few eating hacks up our sleeve that will help you to strengthen your immune system and fight off sickness this holiday season.
Eating a diet filled with a variety of fruits, veggies, grains and proteins is key to building a healthy immune system and preventing illnesses. Variety is the most important part of this equation. If you are eating the same kale salad + apple for lunch every day you could actually be making yourself less healthy. Although both of these foods are great, they don’t supply all of the micro nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that your body needs to perform optimally.
Takeaway: Switch it up with seasonal options like winter squash, oranges, and brussels sprouts to keep your diet interesting and your body healthy.
There are also specific foods you can eat to prevent illnesses. The probiotics found in yogurt are commonly known to increase your good gut bacteria and to promote healthy digestion. Recent studies have shown that they can also stimulate white blood cell production- workers given a daily dose of lactobacillus reuteri reported taking 33% less sick days than their coworkers who were given a placebo.
Takeaway: Reach for Stonyfield Farm yogurts- one of the only American yogurt brands that contain this specific bacteria strain.
Give Zinc a Chance.
Zinc has been shown to help prevent and lessen the severity of the common cold. A recent analysis of scientific studies showed that zinc reduced the length of the common cold by about one day. Most colds are caused by the virus "rhinovirus" which lives and multiplies in the upper respiratory system. Zinc helps to prevent the rhinovirus from multiplying and from attaching to the mucus in your respiratory tracts.
Takeaway: Prevent zinc deficiencies and protect against illness by treating yourself to the surf and turf- beef and oysters (in addition to being delicious!) are great sources of zinc.