Brett Murdock, DC, Murdock Family Chiropractic

Winter provides ideal conditions for sickness to spread. It is a time when we are less active, more stressed, and healthy foods are pushed to the side to make room for sugar cookies. There is no need to spend this holiday season on bed rest; turn it around now by following some of these guidelines.

Mindful meditation: The holiday season has become almost synonymous with stress. There is so much pressure to get everything done, that we often forget what kind of effects the stress can have on our body. If you want to keep your mind and body healthy this season, consider adding 10 minutes of meditation to your morning routine.

Studies have shown that regular meditation can boost the antibodies in our blood. It can also help us have a more positive emotional state, which can help reduce inflammation in our body. And, if that wasn’t enough, meditation has also been shown to increase focus and self-discipline.

Catch some Zs: Making sure you (and your kiddos) get adequate sleep is often easier said than done, but it plays an important role in keeping you healthy. While you are sleeping, your body releases proteins (called cytokines) that not only help you sleep, but also are needed when you are fighting off an infection. For this reason, it is recommended that adults get seven to eight hours of sleep each night, and school-aged children may need 10 hours or more per night.

Get up and move: Being active this time of year is a great way to keep feeling good, and some research shows that it may also boost your body’s resistance to sickness. A study done by researchers in San Diego found that walking at a moderate pace for 20 minutes blocked certain proteins that increase inflammation in the body.

Not all bacteria are bad: Our digestive tract serves as a host to trillions of bacterial cells known as our microbiome. This ecosystem within our gut aids in proper digestion and plays an important role in cultivating a properly supported immune system.

Probiotics (think of them as good bacteria) have been shown to promote the production of natural antibodies and boost immune cells. Many factors, including poor diet, antibiotics, not enough sleep, or too much stress can harm the bacteria in your gut, so replacing them with a probiotic is important. Good quality probiotics are available in pill, powder form, or gummy, which makes it easy to give them to your entire family.

You are what you eat: Having a balanced diet is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy immune system. Most families could benefit from eating more fruits and veggies, and less processed foods, but there are some specific foods that can help jump-start your immunity.

  • Vitamin C: Foods rich in vitamin C, like oranges, bell peppers, and spinach, help to boost the levels of phagocytic cells. These cells devour and digest the bacteria that are creeping around your body, so it’s important to have plenty of them.
  • Vitamin E: This antioxidant is great at fighting off infection and promoting strong immune function in the body. You can get more of this vitamin from eating nuts, broccoli, and spinach.
  • Vitamin B6: A diet deficient in B6 has been shown to have negative effects on the immune system, so it’s important to make sure foods like turkey, chickpeas, bananas, and potatoes are a regular part of your diet.