When it's holiday and flu season, you need your energy more than ever -- Santa can't get sick! We come bearing good news: "New moms have an increased ability to withstand and fight infections through their powerful immune system during this time of life," says Maureen Groer, Ph.D., professor of nursing at the University of South Florida College of Nursing in Tampa. The following tips can help you maintain your immunity edge throughout the season.
Keep your baby close. Skin-to-skin contact or having her near you in a bassinet or co-sleeper raises your levels of the hormone prolactin, which increases immune function.
Be friendly. No dinner party necessary, but social interaction -- a moms' group or a chat with a friend -- helps you stay healthy, according to research published recently in Scientific American Mind.
Naps aren't just for kids. Fatigue can sabotage immunity. Skip household duties (yes! you finally have an excuse) or enlist helpers so you can enjoy some much-needed shut-eye.
Lather up. Frequent hand washing keeps germs at bay; it's the easiest way to prevent a cold and the flu.
Rock out. Listening to instrumental music can get you into a Zen state, while grooving to some up-tempo beats helps keep stress hormones in check. So, update your iPod with your favorite tunes.
Eat right. Some quick immunity-boosting snacks include yogurt (it has "good" bacteria that aid digestion), salmon and walnuts (which contain essential fatty acids), and berries (for their anti-oxidants).