A lot of people dread the winter as it brings the cold & flu season and cold, dark mornings. But there is no reason for our health to suffer during these months!
There are a lots of things we can do to help keep ourselves and our family healthy, happy and active during winter.
Keep your immune system boosted
It’s important to take care of our health throughout the year but during the winter it becomes even more essential. Eating properly, getting enough sleep and staying active are all important to help keep the immune system on track,
Supplements as garlic, vitamin C, and zinc will help to support healthy immune function.
Nutritious eating is a key
As winter sets in it can be tempting to start eating more warm comfort foods that are often high in fat, salt and sugar. Instead, go for foods such as warming and nourishing soups and stews full of flavour and healthy vegetables.
Make sure your diet includes winter fruit and vegetables packed full of vitamins and minerals such as sweet potato, green leafy vegetables, beetroot, kiwi fruit, mandarins, bananas, garlic and ginger.
Keep on the move
We know it is harder to find the motivation to exercise when it is cold outside, remember that keeping active during winter is needed to support our health and well-being.
Why not exercise indoors during winter, this will keep you warm, fit and healthy. Make sure you warm up before you start to exercise as it can take a longer for your joints to loosen up in the cold weather.
Getting your head down
Getting proper sleep which is eight hours for an adult, can help keep the body’s immune system healthy and fight off colds.
Avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes as these can affect the quality of your sleep. Regular exercise, relaxation and getting into a regular sleep routine may help to promote improved sleep.
Keep an eye in your weight
Stopping the exercise as well as the salads during winter can lead to weight gain. While it may only be a small weight gain, it all adds up. Temping as it is to hide behind those big winter clothes, by sticking to your healthy diet and exercise routine all year, you’ll be much healthier in the long run and won’t have the fear of swimming costume season coming out of nowhere!
Keeping strong against the bugs
There is a lot we can do to support our health during the winter it is not always possible to avoid catching a cold or flu. The viruses that cause colds are spread by sneezing, coughing and hand contact. Wash or sanitise your hands regularly and keep your distance from those that have a cold. If you are ill, make sure you drink plenty of fluids, including water, hot tea and soup. Avoid alcohol and caffeine and get plenty of sleep. Supplements such as vitamin C, zinc
may help relieve the symptoms and reduce the duration of a cold.
Look after your skin
The cold weather can do awful things to our skin and contribute to conditions such as dry, itchy skin, chillblains and eczema. This may be due to the reduced humidity, drinking less water than you would during summer or possibly a decrease to the flow of blood and nutrients to the skin. Using moisturisers daily can help to keep the skin moist and supple whilst taking supplements containing vitamin E or garlic help assist blood circulation.
If any of your family suffers psoriasis or eczema, fish oils may help. These provide omega-3 which can help to manage itchy skin conditions. Sunscreen is still important if the sun is strong.
Keep the circulation going
Our hands and feet can often feel cold in the winter. Hands and feet are the furthest from the heart which is pumping blood around our body to help keep us warm. Vitamin E and the herb Ginkgo help to support peripheral blood circulation, thereby helping cold hands and feet.
To help improve circulation to theses extremities it is important to keep moving. And don’t forget your socks and gloves!
Stress and happy mood
Stress is a part of everyday life,but excessive amounts may be linked to negative effects to the body. It can lower the resistance to bugs and increases your need for magnesium – important for muscle and nerve function. Many of the B vitamins are also needed for a healthy nervous system.
Don’t forget to keep drinking water! As the weather cools down it is easy to forget to drink enough water. You still need to aim for about two litres/day of water during winter because it is essential for our body to function correctly. Herbal tea is a great substitute if you struggle with plan water. There are so many flavours available, Peppermint is good for your digestion. Chamomile is calming or you if you are feeling the cold hit the Ginger!