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Steer Clear of the Cold: How to Boost Your Immune System While Traveling

11/21/2012 11:21 am ET | Updated Jan 21, 2013

You can feel the chill in the air, hear the Christmas music on the radio and sense the excitement from your family members. The holiday season is here, and if you're like many Americans, you're in the midst of preparing for a family vacation. Sniffling and sneezing can put a damper on Thanksgiving festivities. After all, you want to be able to taste your holiday meal! Give your immune system an extra boost with the following:

Hydration: Water, water, water. I can't stress this one enough. Your body needs water to function, and your immune system is no exception. We tend to get lazier later in the afternoon, so stick to "LBL" -- liter by lunch. Why? If you drink half of your necessary fluids in the morning, it will be easier to sneak in an adequate amount of water later in the day. Many times my clients express that they don't drink water because it's boring, so I suggest adding an EBOOST packet -- Pink Lemonade, Acai Pomegranate, Super Berry or Natural Orange flavors -- for a punch of flavor. Plus, you'll get a natural boost of energy and essential vitamins that support immunity!

Yogurt: It's no secret. Yogurt is good for us. It's packed with beneficial bacterial cultures that help support digestion and our immune system. It's inevitable: Your child's school is filled with germs -- kids sharing school supplies, playing on the playground, coughing, sneezing -- so it's crucial your child starts his or her day off right. Children won't say no to chocolate for breakfast, and Chobani Champions makes it possible. Your child will go nuts over one-fourth cup of high-fiber cereal mixed with chocolate Greek yogurt. You can even freeze yogurt on Popsicle sticks for a fun, immune-boosting dessert!

Keep It Clean: Airports can be a breeding ground for germs, but you don't have to be a victim. It's simple: Keep your hands clean. Don't hit the road without hand sanitizer in tow. I never leave the house without my Herban Essentials Towelettes. Many hand sanitizers are filled with chemicals, but these are made with all-natural ingredients. I have to admit, I'm a sucker for great-smelling soaps and lotions, and I'm a big fan of the lavender scent.

Pumpkin: Orange is the new green. Its orange color indicates pumpkins are packed with powerful antioxidants. In particular, pumpkin is high in beta-carotene, which helps fight harmful bacteria. The clock is ticking for pumpkin season, but pumpkin puree is available year round. For a super boost, mix one tablespoon of Pacific Organic pumpkin puree with Greek yogurt. It's your immune system's breakfast for champions.

Seaweed: Or as I like to call it, "C" weed. One serving of seaweed may pack in up to 20 percent of your daily recommended vitamin C intake. A shot of vitamin C increases cold-combative white blood cells and helps shorten the duration of sickness. And that's not all. Seaweed is also loaded with vitamin B, which may reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. Talk about a super food! Instead of high-calorie airport food, I tell my clients to throw SeaSnax SeaSprinkles in their carry-on bags. Noshing on seaweed snacks is a great way to satisfy your crunch craving while warding off disease.

White Tea: The health benefits of tea are hard to ignore. Some studies indicate it may even help prevent cancer. If chilly temperatures don't convince you to warm up with this hot beverage, its antioxidant and bacteria-fighting qualities will! White tea is one of the least-processed teas, meaning it has higher levels of immune-boosting polyphenols.

For more by Heather Bauer, RD, CDN, click here.

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