Fall and winter bring us colder weather and lots of sweet and rich holiday food. This combination is a flu bugs’ dream come true as it weakens our immune system and, with our defenses down, the rest of our body looks like a nice warm home to a waiting virus or bacteria. To prevent all those colds and flus from ruining your holidays, let’s take a look at ways to stay healthy, even with those nasty “bugs” hovering around.
We sure seem to eat a lot more during the holidays, and that creates a burdensome load on our digestion, detoxification and elimination systems. Since half of our immune system is in our digestive tract, the added food uses up a lot of our immune resources. To take a load off of your digestive system, take the time to chew your food completely, 20 chews per bite is sufficient. And, the more you chew the more quickly you’ll feel full, saving you lots of calories.
Holiday food is very sugary and made with lots of refined flour. One tablespoon of sugar slows the activity of our immune cells for a full hour. Think how large a window that would be for all those bugs floating around you at your next party. Sugar and refined flour also feed bacteria and yeast, perpetuating infection and helping colonies grow.
Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, so each time you choose a caffeinated or alcoholic drink, have a glass of water to balance it out. Even though it’s cold outside you still need at least 48 ounces of water each day. Dehydration along with air from heaters and stoves dry the mucous linings of our upper respiratory tract making them more susceptible to infection.
Alcohol, late nights, and less sleep are a lethal combination, weakening our defenses and robbing our bodies of needed downtime to help restore and rejuvenate. Sleep is critical. Add a nap during the day, even a 20 minute power-nap will do wonders.
When we’re healthy and living in harmony with the seasons, our bodies work around the clock fighting off any number of illnesses and diseases we encounter. Strengthening your immune system means focusing on preventing illness from taking hold in the first place. Take a moment before each party or each day to consider what’s important to you and what you can do to prevent illness. Consider the foods and situations you will encounter and create a plan that will support the health of your body while allowing you the joyful experience you so richly deserve.
Have a happy and healthy holiday season.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Rick Schlussel is a Chiropractor and Applied Kinesiologist providing preventive health care, treatment for pain and injuries, holistic health assessments and a variety of natural therapies. He can be reached at Presence Wellness Center and Spa at 530-889-0388 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org