The best offense is a good defense.

This applies to basketball as well as fighting colds and the flu.

Whether it is the gentleman coughing up a lung in the seat next to you on the plane or your adorable niece who sneezes oh so demurely without covering her mouth, you will encounter at least one person with nasty germs over the holidays.

You can’t prevent illness 100%. You can practice prevention. That’s how I stay healthy during the holidays. Preventing illness starts with the basics. Here’s my routine.

  • Wash & Sanitize

    I wash my hands ALL the time and keep hand sanitizer in the gym. Wash and sanitize your hands after hugging your family, shaking hands and touching pretty much any surface foreign to you.

  • Phone Cleansing

    My phone goes where I do so it gets wiped down on a regular basis. Clean your cell phone often (because I know you take it EVERYWHERE too).

  • Sleep

    I’m in bed and asleep by 10 pm. You need to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night so your body has time to boost its natural defense system.

  • Proactive Doctor Visit

    I get a flu shot. I’m high risk. I work with the public. I travel. Get a flu shot too if recommended by your healthcare professional.

I also attribute my generally healthy constitution to a fairly clean diet and tea. I love these three immune boosting teas during the holidays (and all winter long). Not only will they help you warm up on a cold snowy night but they will also help give you a fighting chance during cold and flu season.

Jasmine turmeric tea
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Jasmine green tea with turmeric root

Green tea is naturally high in anti-oxidants (called catechins) making it an ideal helper to your immune system. Slice up some turmeric root to steep with it to add extra anti-inflammatory power (plus a lovely spicy bite). Not only will this brew help you fight the sniffles, green tea also helps lower blood pressure and stabilizes blood sugar. Both may be much needed on everyone gathers at Grandma’s on Christmas Day.

Detox tea with ginger
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Mama Jean’s Detox Blend tea with ginger root

Found in the bulk bin at my local favorite natural food store, this herbal tea has dandelion and licorice. Dandelion is naturally high in Vitamin C and licorice is good for digestion and a cough. Add slices of ginger root to it (ginger is also a natural anti-inflammatory) and you have a brew suitable for the prevention of a cold as well as indigestion.


Traditional Medicinals Cold Care tea

At your first sneeze or sniffle, grab a box of this bagged herbal tea. According to the Traditional Medicinals web site, “elder, yarrow and peppermint—the foundation of this tea—are a classic European blend of herbs used for centuries” to treat colds. I love this blend when I start to feel something coming on, that early fatigue and the hint of a sore throat. If you have a cough, try adding honey. Honey is a natural cough suppressant that was used often and quite effectively before cough syrups took over our medicine cabinets.

I’ve got one more immune system booster to share. Check out this post on my daily supplements to learn about my other secret weapon…well before you enter the germ incubator known as Grandma’s House.

Oh….and if you are the one not feeling well just stay home. We’ll all understand.

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