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Immunity Boosting Nutrition for the Holiday Season

No one wants to get sick, much less during the holidays! However, the colder temperatures and staying ind
oors throughout the winter make us more susceptible to illness. Boosting immunity through nutrition during the holiday season is important when there is an
increased risk of colds and flu. Here are some nutrition tips to support your immune system during the holiday season and keep you from getting sick:

1. Eat a Colorful Variety of Fruits and Vegetables:

- Aim to fill at least half your plate with a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support immune function.

2. Prioritize Vitamin C Foods:

- Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that is protective against illness! Incorporate foods high in vitamin C such as citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, kiwi), bell peppers, strawberries, cruciferous vegetables (brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli), and tomatoes.

3. Choose Lean Proteins:

- Include lean protein sources such as poultry, fish, beans, and legumes. Protein is essential for the production of antibodies and immune cells.

4. Incorporate Probiotic-Rich Foods:

- Probiotics support gut health, which is closely linked to immune function. Include yogurt with live cultures, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and other fermented foods in your diet. If you dislike fermented foods, talk to your dietitian or doctor about a probiotic supplement!

5. Add Garlic and Onions:

- Garlic and onions contain compounds (phytonutrients) with antimicrobial and immune-enhancing properties. Incorporate them into your meals for added flavor and health benefits.

6. Include Zinc-Rich Foods:

- Foods rich in zinc, such as nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains, play a role in immune function. Zinc is involved in the development and function of immune cells and works together with vitamin C for absorption.

7. Stay Hydrated:

- Proper hydration is crucial for overall health and immune function. Drink plenty of water and include herbal teas, broths, and soups in your routine.

8. Include Healthy Fats:

- Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish (like salmon and mackerel), flaxseeds, and walnuts, have anti-inflammatory properties and support immune function.

9. Herbs and Spices:

- Incorporate immune-boosting herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon into your meals. These spices have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

10. Vitamin D:

- Vitamin D is crucial for immune health, however deficiencies are very common in the winter due to limited sunlight exposure. During the winter months, aim for around 15 minutes of daily sunlight exposure, and consider incorporating vitamin D-rich foods like fatty fish, fortified dairy products, and supplements if needed.

Additional Tips

Remember, no single food or nutrient can guarantee immunity, and a balanced and varied diet is essential for overall health. Additionally, maintaining good hygiene practices, getting regular exercise, quality sleep, stress management, and following public health guidelines are crucial for staying healthy during the holiday season. If you have specific dietary concerns or health conditions, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized advice.

Emma Nelson is a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer. Emma is available remotely for all things nutrition related, whether it be general nutrition, pre/post op nutrition, rehab nutrition, or sports nutrition.

PHONE: 615.477.0602

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