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Just a few more days left until Christmas and some of us are still running around searching for that perfect gift. No doubt this time of year stresses us out a little more than usual - attending holiday parties, working a little a later to make that extra dollar for gifts, getting the house decorated.

But in all this hustle and bustle, you must not forget to take care of yourself!

It is consistently stressful times like these that really run down your energy levels and leave you more susceptible to getting sick. When you stress, your body releases the hormone cortisol. Cortisol induces physiological effects that you often times cannot even feel, such as high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar and suppression of your immune system.

So be mindful of your body this week and give it some of these immune boosting nutrients daily to help counteract the effects of holiday stress.

  1. Zinc - shellfish, beef and lamb are solid sources of this mineral. Although zinc from plant foods is not fully absorbed by the body (due to interfering compounds such as phytic acid), whole grains and legumes are still good sources. Try this Shrimp and Pesto Pasta or this Lamb with Warm Apple & Lentil Salad from Eating Well.

  2. Vitamin A - think orange, red and yellow! Squashes, carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, egg yolks and even greens are loaded with vitamin A. Because they are better absorbed in the presence of fat, eat these foods with olive oil, nuts, avocados or other healthy fats. Throw some canned pumpkin in your morning oatmeal, snack on some cantaloupe or roast some carrots and sweet potatoes as a side for dinner.

  3. Vitamin C - think beyond oranges: kiwi, strawberries and bell peppers have more vitamin C than oranges per serving. Add some chopped strawberries (fresh or frozen) to your cereal or snack on bell pepper slices dipped into hummus.


Have a happy, stress-free holiday!

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