It’s fall, y’all! With the changing leaves come your favorite fuzzy boots, your new leather moto jacket, and, of course, pumpkin spice lattes (PSL) for days.
Unfortunately, the cold weather means another thing: the possibility of getting a cold, or worse, the flu. In the colder months, our immune system naturally takes a slight nose dive due to lack of exposure to sunlight, increased sugar intake from the holidays and because we tend to be less active when it’s cold out.
As a working woman and egg donor, we know there’s no time in your schedule to be under the weather. Keeping away from bugs is important since you have to undergo an egg retrieval, which requires you to be healthy. Here are five ways to help keep your immune system intact this winter.
Increased sugar intake invariably diminishes your immune system, but the effects are seen more during the winter months, when we find ourselves engrossed in a sugar overload, leaving us more susceptible to catching every bug flying around. First, it starts with the PSL. Then comes Halloween, then comes pumpkin pie, and then comes Christmas and parties filled with foods that we justify consuming for the sake of the holiday. And finally, you top the consumption off with New Year’s Eve – when you pledge to start eating healthy again tomorrow. You get the idea. This winter, be mindful of how much sugar you eat and remind yourself of the nasty colds lurking around the corner.
In addition to taking a daily dose of the antioxidant vitamin C, add vitamin D to your regimen this winter, too. Soaking up a daily dose of sun during the winter can prove pretty tough, so taking vitamin D supplements is important. Vitamins C and D are essential in keeping your body in virus-fighting mode!
Don’t worry, we aren’t trying to ward off vampires, but you definitely need to stock up on your garlic intake this winter! Garlic has natural antibiotic properties and can help kill off any bugs that you’ve been exposed to. Raw garlic delivers the most benefits, but don’t worry – you don’t have to crunch it between your teeth. To seamlessly add it to your diet, mince a clove and add it to your salad, eggs or any dish you’d like. If you are going to cook it, make sure to let it set for at least 10 minutes after you mince it. This will help save some of its health boosting properties from being destroyed during cooking. If you’re brave, you can cut a clove into small pieces and swallow it like a pill!
Lack of exercise during the winter months can lead to higher stress levels and interrupted sleep patterns, which lead to a compromised immune system. As tempting as it is to cozy up on the couch to binge on the latest Netflix release, you have to fight that cold weather stupor! Find easy ways to keep yourself active, like bundling up and taking morning walks, joining a gym or doing simple workouts in your home.
Eat breakfast – it IS the most important meal of the day
We know that PSLs are a morning staple, and can be filling enough to skip breakfast. However, taking in a giant latte or even a regular coffee on an empty stomach not only makes you full of empty calories, but the caffeine puts your body on high alert, distracting it from its daily business of keeping you healthy. Instead, make a point to have a nutrient-packed breakfast of eggs, oatmeal or a smoothie first thing every morning. We know it’s hard to cut the coffee out completely, but save the PSL for special occasions and limit yourself to one cup of coffee per day.
As an egg donor and a busy working woman, there’s no time to be sick this winter! Gift yourself a clean bill of health by taking care of yourself first!