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The Best Diet for Avoiding Both Weight Gain and the Flu This Year
With the holiday season in full swing now, it seems as if everyone is coming down with some type of cold or flu or cough, especially the kids! It seems as if everyone has one of two things in their minds when it comes to their health, preventing the flu and not gaining weight!
The good news here is that there are some really easy and simply ways you can improve your immune system so that you skip right over the flu bug, and not gain excess weight at the same time.
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
Yes, everyone has heard this one, but for some reason, when it comes to the holiday season, the sight of all those homemade, luscious baked goods, pies, candies, and other treats just makes most people throw all caution and common sense out the window! Of course, no one can stop you if that’s what you have your mind set on doing, but come the 3rd or 4th of January, when you are sick with the flu and find you can’t fit into your new Christmas outfit, you will wish you had followed a healthier diet.
That old saying of “you are what you eat” is never more true than this time of year. Check out the following diet you should be following to avoid slowing up your immune response and weighing down your belly.
- Eat Healthy Proteins: Your body must have protein for almost every single function it needs to perform, including your immune system. Did you know that antibodies are specialized forms of protein that defend your body from bacteria and illnesses? Protein is vital for healing and growth, and for the functioning of hormones. You need about one gram of protein for each 2.2 pounds of body weight. This means that a 145 woman will need about 65 grams of protein each day, and a 180 pound man will need about 80 grams. Try to get yours from free range, organic turkey, free range eggs, raw, organic dairy products, grass fed beef, or protein powders.
- Vegetables – You already know that vegetables are a healthy and important part of any diet, but it’s also just as important where you buy your greens. Locally grown produce can have as much as three times the nutrition as produce that is trucked in from out of state. If you want to lose weight, skip the starchy veggies such as corn and potatoes and eat more spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, onions, garlic, celery, and asparagus.
- Fats – Contrary to what you have been told, fat does not make you fat. There are more and more studies coming out every day to prove this. In fact, consuming sufficient amounts of healthy, natural fats is vital if you want to lose weight. Studies show that fat contribute to our immune system, protect the liver, and increase bone strength. Healthy fats would be coconut oil, avocados, seeds, nuts, krill oil, and olive oil.
- Supplements – More and more research is showing us just how vital vitamin D is to our bodies. Everything from giving us optimal mental health to maintaining our weight levels to fighting disease, even fighting cancer. Of course the best source is sunlight, but this is not always easy in the winter months. If you are unable to get about 30 minutes of natural sunlight per day, then opt for vitamin D3 supplements. Take it in moderation; however, as vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, which means your body can store it.
2. Avoid the Sugar
No one is saying that sugar does not taste great; everyone knows it does, but it’s also terribly bad for your body.
Sweet treats abound this year and it can be difficult to avoid it entirely, but if you are going to indulge, do so by enjoying one moderate sized piece of something you really, really love. Sugar suppresses your immune system so eating three big slices of grandma’s apple pie might mean you are setting yourself up to catch a nasty bout of the flu.
SEE ALSO: Is Stevia Safe?
Opt for healthier treats and avoid the sugar train as much as possible to stop weight gain and the flu dead in their tracks.
3. Get Your Rest
This time of year, when parties abound and friends and family are gathering here and there to celebrate, it’s easy to forget to go to bed at a reasonable hour.
No one is suggesting that you should skip every party, but hitting up parties every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (and don’t forget those weeknight office parties) throughout the month of December is not a good game plan.
Stay out late for those one or two parties you really care about, and cut the other ones short so you can get your sleep and keep your immune system in tip top shape.
To keep your immune system in the best shape it can be and avoid the bugs everyone else will be passing around, you need to keep your gut in good shape as well.
No, we don’t mean doing 1,000 crunches every night, we mean your gut bacteria. About 70 percent of your immune system is in your digestive system and consuming probiotics will keep that engine purring along. Probiotics are the good bacteria that help keep the bad bacteria in check. Read more why not all bacteria are bad.
Eat more fermented foods such as kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, pickles, pickled vegetables, and kefir, or take probiotic supplements to support the bacterial health of your gut.
5. Additional Supplements
This time of year, you should think about taking some vitamin C supplements to help support your immune system and for its anti-inflammatory effects and antibiotic qualities.
You should also consider taking a zinc supplement as well if you think you are coming down sick. At the very first sign of the sniffles or a scratchy throat, take 25mg of zinc for about a 7 day period. Zinc is like an electric charge for your immune system.
Zinc also stops cold and flu viruses from duplicating itself.
6. Use Common Sense
Little things can make a big difference, such as washing our hands frequently, using hand sanitizers when out in public, avoid touching our faces with our hands, and avoid people who are obviously sick. Read more how to fight colds with baking soda.
You see it every year, people who are sick, coughing and sneezing, shaking hands , hugging, and kissing the cheek of friends, neighbors, and co-workers, as if they want to share the love, so to speak! If they won’t say it, don’t be afraid to speak up and say I’m sorry, it looks like you are sick and I don’t mean any offense, but I really don’t want to pass this on to my children, husband, or whomever is in your life. No one will think badly of you if you opt for a wave rather than a hug, in fact, most people will follow your example once they realize what you said wasn’t rude, it was nothing more than the truth.
Keep surfaces clean and avoid touching public surfaces as much as possible. You don’t have to go around looking like Michael Jackson, but sliding your hand down that handrail at the mall is a sure-fire way to pick up a ton of germs on your trip down the stairs.
7. Get Moderate Exercise
When it’s really cold outside, it’s easy to just say “forget it” when it comes to exercise, but you really shouldn’t. Not only will it improve your chances of not gaining weight, moderate exercise cranks up the old immune system a notch higher. Studies show that those who get moderate exercise get fewer colds than those who don’t, so although you don’t have to run a winter marathon, going ice skating with the kids is a great way to have a little holiday fun and get in some sweat equity at the same time.
Enjoy the holidays and have a healthy New Year!