End of the holidays is prime time to focus on de-stressing your immune system. You’ve stressed out your immune system, lost sleep, stressed over family obligations and over-indulged. Plus you’ve had too much alcohol and sugary foods, both which weaken your ability to fight off winter ills and prevent you from continuing through the season in best health. So instead of undermining immunity, preserve your health by fortifying it. Since 70% of our immune system lives in our guts, it makes sense to start with the diet. Here is an easy food-based immunity-boosting approach to get you on the right track:
Restrict the time you consume your food to an 8 – 10 hr window.
Fasting helps to rejuvenate the immune system after digestive overuse. A fasting window of 14-16 hrs will help to trigger your body’s self-cleansing mechanisms.
During that 8 – 10 hour eating window, eat plenty of greens.
Eating plenty of greens will provide your gut bacteria with prebiotics to promote immunity. Greens might also help to promote immune health by switching on a gene associated with improved gut health and immune cell function.
Eat mindfully and consciously.
In your day-to-day, practice bringing mindfulness, not only about the food choices you make, but how you eat. Mindful choices like chewing thoroughly will give your digestive system a break from the bombardment of mindless, continuous, and oftentimes fast-paced eating. If you have any remaining parties, have a healthy snack before attending in order to cut unhealthy cravings and limit over-indulgence.
Lay off sugar, alcohol and junk food.
Eat as cleanly as possible now that the majority of holiday celebrations have come to a close. If you happen to still be between holiday events, choose party foods wisely. Keeping sugars moderate will help you keep the bad bacteria in your gut from overwhelming the good, which weakens your immune system’s defenses.
Keep digestion on track with prebiotics and probiotics.
Foods called “prebiotics,” particularly garlic and onions, contain fibers that feed our good bacteria. Other foods – yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi – and supplements known as “probiotics” are already full of good bacteria, and help you maintain a healthy microbiome. Prebiotic and probiotic consumption will help to finetune the gut microbiome, promoting digestive health and immunity.
After a fair share of celebrations, holiday parties (on Zoom or in person), family obligations, all while running on little sleep and trying to maintain a work schedule – an immune reset can help to manage the aftermath of a stressful holiday season. Preserve your health, by focusing on fortifying your immune system!