Your immune system likely needs a holiday boost, and you are the only one who can do it. (Things like stress, foods high in saturated fat, alcohol, and skipping exercise can all weaken this key part of the body that helps fight off infection and keep you healthy.) Put yourself at the top of your holiday checklist and give yourself this gift of health.
First, take this oath:
- I will avoid colds and flu;
- I will sleep at least 7.5 hours a night, and preferably eight;
- I will eat well (meaning more vegetables and fruits and fewer processed foods)
- I will set aside a sacred 20 minutes for exercise every day;
- I will seek out positive social interactions.
So help me, health.
You’ve heard every one of the bullets points above, probably multiple times, and you may be anesthetized to them. But here is why actually committing to those resolutions is so important.
Our immune systems are the basis of our health, which of course plays a big role when it comes to our overall wellness and happiness. The immune system’s complex network of organs, cells, and molecules protects us from anything foreign and potentially harmful, such as viruses, bacteria, cancer cells, toxic chemicals, and more. Through a process called the immune response, this system attacks invading organisms and substances as they enter the body and work to inflict disease. Especially important are the white blood cells produced and stored in the spleen, bone marrow, and other sites. They circulate through the body and spring into action to destroy potentially harmful foreign invaders — and then remember those invaders so they can guard against them in the future.
So it seems especially important to make sure your immune system is in top condition, as cold- and flu-season ramps up and the holidays put extra stress on our bodies (thanks to the social events, to-do lists, and potentially not-so-healthy indulgences that can come with the festivities). Paying a little extra attention can help keep you well now. And in the long run, you’ll begin a regimen that will help guard against chronic problems like diabetes, obesity, heart disease and hypertension, and even cancer.
Here’s how to keep your immune system running smoothly over the holidays — and all year long!