Lifestyler with Josie McKenlay: Happy, Healthy Christmas!

Josie McKenlay 01:35 22/12/2016
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  • This the season to be jolly, as mentioned in the famous Christmas carol, and even for those who don’t celebrate Christmas, there are a lot of celebrations going on at the end of the year.

    Overindulgence, lack of sleep and not enough time to keep up with fitness routines can leave us feeling exhausted and open to sickness.

    So we can all enjoy the festivities, I’ve come up with some ideas this week to help maintain good health.

    Just try to get enough sleep and catch up on lost hours as this is when your body repairs itself.

    Diet with so many tempting treats, it can be difficult to stick to a healthy balanced diet, but there are some foods that are essential for good health.

    Here are some that you really need to include:

    1. Black and green tea: Start your day with a big mug of tea. In a Harvard university study, people who drank five cups a day had 10 times more of the virus-fighting interferon in their blood. The amino acid that releases this immune boost is L-theanine, found in black and green tea.

    2. Oats: For breakfast have an oat based cereal. Oats contain betaglucan, a fibre more potent than echinacea, according to a study carried out in Norway. Apparently, it protects animals against flu and even anthrax. In humans, it boosts immunity and promotes healing.

    3. Yoghurt: Probiotics found in yogurt are healthy bacteria that keep the gut and intestinal tract free of disease-causing germs. A study found that those who regularly ate probiotic yoghurt took a third fewer sick days than their colleagues.

    Make a mid-morning smoothie by adding kiwi fruit which provide folate, potassium and Vitamin C and may protect against the respiratory problems associated with colds.

    Sprinkle some sunflower seeds and flaked almonds on top as these provide high levels of Vitamin E which is key to regulating and maintaining a healthy immune system.

    4. Chicken soup: Make a big pot and have a bowl for lunch. Cysteine, an amino acid released from chicken during cooking, is similar to a drug used in treating bronchitis.

    The broth keeps thins mucus and adding some black pepper further fights cold symptoms. Be sure to add plenty of garlic (well known for fighting infections, disease and viruses), onions and mushrooms (make white blood cells more aggressive).

    5. Shellfish: Selenium, plentiful in shellfish, helps white blood cells produce cytokines, proteins which rid the body of the flu virus. Omega-3 in oily fish reduce inflammation, increasing airflow and protecting the lungs from colds and respiratory infections.

    A prawn curry for dinner will boost your immune system in other ways too due to the spices used and the heat helps clear the nasal passages.


    Staying fit is vital to your health, but sticking to a full-on routine may be difficult, so plan to do 30 minutes a day – 20 minutes high intensity cardio five days a week and some squats and push-ups should keep you going until life quietens down again. Try to fit in some yoga on days when you have more time.