Staying healthy is tough enough, especially at the height of cold and flu season. But when heading out for holiday travel, the immune system needs to have the best support possible. I chatted with naturopath practitioner Dr. Holly Lucille about the important steps we should all take to keep germs at bay, and our bodies at their best.
Take Preventative Measures
Dr. Lucille's first piece of advice for cold and flu season? Don't get sick. By taking healthy precautions now, you're putting your body in the best position to stay healthy later. While vitamin C is "a sort of pedestrian vitamin that doesn’t have a lot of crazy bells, whistles, or claims," study after study has shown that it works. As a general recommendation, Dr. Lucille has her patients increase their vitamin C intake to 500 mg, twice daily. While Dr. Lucille believes in the power of cultured foods, she's also a proponent of taking a high-quality probiotic supplement since "89 percent of our immune system is driven by having good microflora in your gut."
Airplane travel and jet lag can wreak havoc on our systems. "People might look at you like you have the Bubonic plague," but if you're going to fly with a compromised immune system during cold and flu season, Dr. Lucille suggests wearing a surgical mask. Although it may seem a little silly, she said that those masks successfully "offer protection from people around you." If the mask is too much, staying hydrated is key to helping your body fight off germs in the recycled air. Dr. Lucille also explained that "the only time she ever uses melatonin is if someone is flying over time zones . . . small doses, even a milligram, can really help establish normal sleep patterns earlier."
Keep reading for one more of Dr. Lucille's tips to stay healthy this holiday season.
Listen to Your Body
Dr. Lucille said that she simply wants her patients to be aware of their bodies and take plenty of rest. Being too busy is "very counterintuitive to this time of year. If you look at the season, it’s a contracted time. We’re not really supposed to be out and about, this is a kind of hibernation time, and we really bump up against that natural rhythm of things." It's simple but tried-and-true: you've got to respond to any fatigue with rest. You may be tempted, but don't "push through, or reach for a Diet Coke in the middle of the afternoon. You’ve got to be able to heed the body’s attention that it’s just got to hang out for a second."