|10 Tips on Staying Healthy through the Holidays-2|
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Staying Healthy Tips by Elson M. Haas MD.
View all columns in series
- Don’t be in a daze these holidays. Be aware and be fair to your body. Most of us can get away with some treats or indiscretions to our usual eating habits. However, if we vary too much and go to extremes, we may suffer the consequences and get sick. Get to know yourself and find a balance.
- This is a good time to deepen and clarify our love and family connections. Emotional nurturance offers a satisfaction that may allow less emotional eating and avoid the excesses of the holidays. Be a supportive friend, and ask for support if you need it. Take care of one another. Give it a try and your spirit will be calmed and can also fly free of the burdens of time.
- Stay open to your creativity. Do new things to improve your health, such as a treatment like massage or trying some new, healthy foods. The first weeks of November are good to look at some clean-up time. Soon there will be many tempting sweets, baked goods, and alcohol beverages.
- Maintain your cornerstones of health. These include a good diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and minimal stress, including being able to relate well to family, friends, and co-workers.
- Find the basic supportive foods for your diet that provides the energy and nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. In the colder months, it is important to focus on heat generating foods, such as cooked grains and legumes, hard squashes, some nuts and seeds, and protein foods. Also, include some garlic, onion, and ginger, plus the energizing spicy peppers such as cayenne and chili. This will keep your blood and energy moving.
Know what works for you. I have found that my five keys to Staying Healthy are:
- Do not eat too much too late in the day.
- Drink plenty of clean water.
- Exercise regularly.
- Chew my food very well, eating more slowly.
- Focus my diet around vegetables. What are the keys to maintaining your health?
- Exercise activity is crucial now as in any season. As the weather cools, stretching is even more important, as is having indoor exercises we can do. Yoga and other flexibility-enhancing movements are helpful at keeping us youthful. “We are as young as our spine is flexible.” Working with weights and doing aerobic exercise are vital to staying fit and strong to support immune function and circulation. A vital body rarely gets sick. Also, meditate and explore your inner world and dreams in your restful recharging sleep.
- Nutritional supplements can be used to support our health as well. Immune supportive nutrients can help us prevent common illnesses. Taking some Echinacea now is helpful, as is the Chinese herb, astragalus. Maintaining daily vitamins C and E along with selenium and zinc is also immune protective and helps clear our body of certain toxins. Some people are helped by other herbs or animal gland extracts, such as thymus, spleen, and liver.!
- Enjoy safe travels by preparing well and being aware and cautious. Plan your trips. Avoid dehydration and eat well; this may involve bringing water and appropriate food/snacks with you on the plane or in your car. Take a few key supplements with you to ward off all the germ exposures. This includes garlic, vitamin C, and others. Also, review my Summer 2002 Health Tips or my book, The Staying Healthy Shopper’s Guide, for more ideas. Factors that can weaken immunity include stressful emotions, nutritional deficiencies, excess sugar and alcohol, and overwork. Some Immune Supporters include good sleep, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and feelings of love and appreciation.
- Prepare for the cold season. Gather your fuel and food, breathe, and exercise as you should. In Chinese medicine, the fall season focuses on the lungs and large intestine. Overdoing it can lead to congestion and toxicity, as well as constipation and the clogging of the nose and sinuses. This leads then to upper respiratory infections as the germs grow in the mucus and then inflame the membranes. Staying clean and clear this season along with a healthy immune system will help keep you well. Try a facial steam and breathe in the herbal mist (you can use mints, rosemary, chamomile, lemon verbena, and other herbs) to help clear the sinuses.
- Take a rest now because the demanding holiday season is just around the corner. Don’t burn your batteries out before December. Kindle your inner flame and firepower, which is protective from the invasion of harsh climates and germs. The Winter blues comes partly from a loss of this fire energy. Shifting and balancing with the Seasons is vital to Staying Healthy.
Extra Notes on Colds & Flus
Should you get any colds or flus, it’s best to jump on those immediately. I start with hourly vitamin C of about 1000 mg, increased doses of vitamin A (not beta-carotene) 25,000-30,000 IUs 3 times daily for just 3-4 days and then lower that dosage to 10-20,000 IUs twice daily for about a week (then take a break since excess vitamin A can be toxic if taken too long). I also use fresh garlic as several cloves at a time dipped in honey and chew them; I may repeat this several times the first day. That’s a spicy and aromatic natural antibiotic and immune defender; you can alternately use the odorless garlic caps, several capsules 3 times daily if you don’t want to smell, but they’re not quite as effective. Echinacea and goldenseal alcohol extract can also be used to support immunity and cleanse the membranes. Some help may be achieved with olive leaf extract as a mild anti-viral herb. Of course, drink lots of water, herbal teas, and hot soup. You can press several cloves of garlic into your bowl of soup before you eat, instead of eating the garlic straight.
About The Author
Elson M. Haas, MD
is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...more