Top Tips To Staying Healthy Over Winter
Winter is often given a bad reputation as it brings with it the cold & flu season and those cold, dark mornings. However, with a little effort, there is no reason for our health to suffer during the colder months! There are a number of things we can do to help keep ourselves and our families just as healthy, happy, and active during winter.
1. Physical activity
If you’re looking at how to stay healthy this winter, one of the easiest quick-fix solutions is to keep active. Although it’s common to feel less motivated during the colder months, it’s important to keep up a regular exercise regime in order to stay healthy. Among other health benefits, exercising regularly allows you to regulate your blood pressure, and reduce your stress. This makes it easier for your circulatory system to respond quickly when an infectious disease enters the body. Keeping active also gives our lungs a chance to detox, can help us avoid winter weight gain and the vitamin D obtained from sunshine can help keep our bones strong, and even assist with lowering overly high blood pressure. A daily walk or workout can also help ease depression by helping our bodies release de-stressing brain chemicals
2) Have A Healthy Diet
Having a healthy diet is essential to boosting your immune system. The nutrients we need are in more than protein-heavy and low-carb meals. We also need healthy fats, fruits (especially citrus fruits), vegetables, whole grains, and healthy carbs.
A well-rounded diet is going to give you the vitamins you need to ensure your immune cells have the necessary tools to fight against infection. Below are some suggestions:
- Root vegetables – boiling turnips will up your vitamin C and A levels and slow-roasting a handful of carrots will give you an important boost of beta-carotene which is great for immune systems
- Broccoli and cauliflower – these cruciferous vegetables are both high in Vitamin C which helps to enhance our immunity
- Oats – are not only low GI (meaning they will help maintain your glucose levels), they are also high in fibre and zinc which can assist with proper immunity functioning
- Soup – load up a nutritious broth with loads of vegetables and you’ll enhance your daily vitamin and mineral intake even further
Supplements containing herbs and nutrients such as echinacea, garlic, vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and zinc will help to support healthy immune function.
Pack your pantry with health-boosting herbs and spices. Add a pinch of cinnamon to your oats in the morning or some turmeric to your soup or roasted vegetables. Turmeric, ginger, long pepper and black pepper uncovered gut-healthy properties – a fast track to a stronger immune system.
3) Get Lots Of Sleep
Another way to boost your immune system is to get plenty of quality sleep.
The Sleep Health Foundation reports sleep-deprived people may have suppressed immunity, potentially putting them at greater risk of catching viruses. Quality sleep gives your immune system time to recuperate and regenerate. Some ways to improve your sleep are to leave your electronic devices out of your sleeping room, have a wind-down routine, and keep a regular sleep schedule. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes as these substances can affect the quality of your sleep.
We know; we know. We don’t really have to tell you twice. But it’s worth emphasizing just how crucial shut-eye is to an efficient immune system. “When we sleep, our bodies are undergoing major restoration,” says nutritionist Keri Glassman. “Not to mention when you sleep better, you eat better! Nothing equals sickness like being run-down in combination with a bad diet. So get enough sleep (whatever this means for you) and practice good sleep hygiene, including a device-free time to wind down every night.”
4) Drink Lots of Water
Our body cannot survive without water. As the weather becomes cooler, we tend to neglect hydration. Water plays so many important roles in our bodies, especially when it comes to immune function. Hydration allows your body to properly circulate the infection-fighting immune cells. It also regulates your body temperature, which allows your blood to remove toxins and carry oxygen and important nutrients around your body. It is important to stay hydrated so your immune system can stay at its highest level. Dehydration can often also dry out the mucous membranes in our lungs and sinuses, which can seriously reduce their ability to fight infections. Being well hydrated also helps our digestive systems to function properly which is vital during the cooler months when we tend to over-consume often less nutritional foods
5) Keep Stress Levels Low
Possibly the hardest thing to do is to reduce the amount of stress you are under. When your body is under continual amounts of stress, it goes into survival mode. This stress response suppresses your immune system, which makes it much harder to fight infection. Stress can lower the resistance to nasty bugs by depressing the immune system. Importantly, stress increases your need for dietary magnesium which is important for muscle and nerve function. Many of the B vitamins e.g. B1, B5, B6 and B12 are also needed for a healthy nervous system.
6) Weight Management
Ditching the exercise as well as the salads during winter can often lead to weight gain. While it may only be a small weight gain, it begins to add up as you get more and more winters under your belt! Although it’s tempting to hide behind those bulky winter clothes, by sticking to your healthy diet and exercise routine all year round, you’ll be much healthier in the long run and won’t dread the next swimming season with the kids!
7) Adding Infrared Into Your Weekly Routine
The use of an infrared sauna strengthens your immune system by increasing white blood cell production, triggering the immune system, releasing impurities, improving blood circulation, regenerating cells, and promoting relaxation. With a strong defense system, you are free to enjoy life in full health.