Foods and nutrients to help sustain health during the holiday season

GreenTeaInGlassWe all tend to over-indulge during the winter holiday season and gatherings with friends and family.

Here are just a few tips about foods and nutrients you may want to double up on to help preserve health during the rush of Christmas and New Year get-togethers.

Coconut oil contains a rich supply of lauric acid, which attacks viruses, bad bacteria and pathogens. Take a daily teaspoon of it. It is good for your digestion, too, which helps to counteract the rich foods of Christmas and New Year.

Mushrooms are great supporters of the immune system, as they contain the powerful compounds called beta-glucans. Some of the greatest health impacts come from shitake, reisha, and maitake mushrooms.

Green tea is something you should try if you haven’t. It is full of polyphenols in the form of natural chemicals called catechins. Put a little honey in it and try a cup or two a day.

Berries are good to have on hand, especially blueberries, raspberries, Acai berries and Goji berries. Frozen, organic may be the best bet.

Along with the rich traditional holiday foods, make sure there are fresh fruits and vegetables for snacking, organic if possible. These foods are full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants, all of which support the immune system.

Some important minerals and vitamins to particularly support health during the holiday season include all the B vitamins, vitamin C, D and E.

Take lots of vitamin C, abundant in most fruits and vegetables. It’s wise to also take a high quality vitamin C supplement, as holiday food is not noted for fresh fruits and vegetables. Hot peppers and cruciferous vegetables like the broccoli family are especially good.

Calcium is not only good for bones and teeth, it helps regulate the heart and nerve impulses. Greens and beans are particularly good sources.

Iodine helps regulate metabolism. It is contained in lemons, beans, mushrooms, dairy, produce and fish (careful of fish, it isn’t what it used to be). Iron helps distribute oxygen. It is found in meat, fish and poultry.

Folate is vital for cells and DNA. It is found in all leafy greens, okra, asparagus and melons. Zinc converts food into energy. It is found in beans, seeds, nuts and also pork and fish.

Sun is our vitamin D, and most of us are deficient. If you can’t get a healthy dose of sun, check on good supplements and read the dosage label. Science has only recently discovered that vitamin D (which our outdoor ancestors got plenty of) do far more than working with calcium to build bones and teeth.

Every vitamin B is important for health, but perhaps the older among us should be careful that we get sufficient vitamin B12, which makes red blood cells and regulates nerves and DNA. Natural health wisdom says every person over 50 is particularly vulnerable to deficiency, as the aging body slows in making those vital red blood cells which are important for oxygen intake and regulation.

This time of the year it is especially important to remember how important those natural foods and nutrients are.