Flu season is here! Why wait until it creeps up on you when you can follow some key strategies to help avoid it. Having a strong immune system can help you feel great and stay healthy. So plan your strategy and do your best to stay well this season. Here are four tried and true tips for beating the nasty flu. To your health! 1. Eat foods that boost your immunity. Foods that will help keep the flu away include almonds, mushrooms, fruits high in vitamin C such as strawberries, tomatoes, oranges and grapefruits, fermented foods such as yogurt with live cultures, kimchi or miso, green tea, kombucha, and garlic. Include at least a few of these foods in your daily diet. At breakfast, enjoy an orange or a small pink grapefruit along with your cereal or yogurt. At lunch, try an almond butter sandwich with a cup of green tea. At dinner, a grilled portobello mushroom burger or a bowl of steamy mushroom soup are two great ways to wind down your day. 2. Get enough zzz’s! Sleep impacts your immunity so don’t try to cut your sleep time short. Teens need 9 to 10 hours of sleep daily while adults can manage well with 7 to 8. Just like you would put work and the gym on your daily schedule, don’t forget to pencil in sleep! 3. Exercise! A good workout will reduce your chances of getting sick. Aim to exercise at least five times per week. If you can’t get to the gym, workout with an app or grab your pedometer (aim for 10,000 steps per day) along with your dog and go for a walk. 4. Wash your hands. Keep germs at bay by washing your hands frequently throughout the day. Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is the author of the new e-book The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and the widely-acclaimed book The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy (Nirvana Press 2012). Lisa is a nutrition specialist in weight management and diabetes for teens and adults. She is in private practice with offices in Huntington, NY and the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org or for more info: www.lisastollmanrd.com.
As 2015 begins to roll out, take this time to think about the person YOU want to be and the accomplishments you aim to achieve. It helps to first reflect on 2014’s past successes, achievements, and best moments and use them as fuel for the upcoming year. In order to be your best self, you must be healthy in all facets: emotionally, physically and socially. I challenge you to take on these 7 steps for your best year yet! Do more for YOU. Taking care of YOU will help YOU live life to its fullest!
1. Drink more water. Our bodies are approximately 70% water. Most of us do not drink nearly enough. Hydrate your cells and your outward appearance will glow. Your body runs best on all levels when properly hydrated. And if you are drinking more water, naturally you will be drinking less sugar-sweetened or artificially-sweetened beverages that your body has no requirement for.
2. Eat more whole, plant-based foods. Plant foods are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans. These are the foods that grow from the ground. If you are eating more plant-based foods, then you will naturally be taking in more fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, heart-healthy fats and less bad fats and sodium. Think of antioxidants as anti-aging, anti-disease, anti-damage to the body. Plant-based foods help lower the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and many types of cancer. So make plant foods the bulk of your diet in 2015.
3. Sleep more. Get -7-8 hours most days of the week. Most of us do not get adequate sleep and we probably don’t realize how tired we actually are. Get the recommended 8 hours a couple days in a row and see how good you feel. It’s wonderful.
4. Exercise. Exercise helps you feel and look better–mentally and physically. Walk your dog, sign up for classes at your local gym, put an exercise App on your smart phone or iPad. Get a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps per day (5 miles). Just MOVE!
5. Stimulate your brain. Read more. Travel to new destinations. Take an art or cooking class. Sign up for a 5K. Start a new business you are passionate about. Find activities that make you happy.
6. Get more sunshine. Vitamin D plays numerous roles in our body and more of us are deficient than realize. Vitamin D is found in very little food sources, with the exception of mushrooms and fortified dairy and non-dairy milk. So our body has this amazing ability to synthesize it with exposure to the sun as it absorbs into our skin. Furthermore, getting more in touch with nature has stress-lowering effects beneficial for overall health.
7. Laugh more. Laughing lowers stress. When you start to laugh more you may start to see certain situations aren’t as bad as you think. Share more laughs with friends and family.
So make this your year of YOU! Put in the effort to be healthy and happy so YOU enjoy your life more. Happy 2015!!
Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is the author of The Trim Traveler and The Teen Eating Manifesto. She is a nutritionist and writer based in Huntington, Long Island and NYC. Lisa specializes in weight management and diabetes for teens and adults. Visit Lisa’s website for more information.