Winter is already in and we need to take some measures so that we are literally not left in the cold. So are you ready for cold and flu season? If you want to avoid being sick and feeling like you have to go to the doctor to get antibiotics and other drugs, now is the time to be thinking about prevention! Here are some tips that will help you stay fit and healthy during the winters without failing to soak in the pleasures that are exclusive to the season.
It’s important to take care of our health throughout the year but during the winter months it becomes even more essential. Eating well, getting enough sleep and staying active are all important during winter to help keep you active with great immune systems. Supplements containing herbs and nutrients such as garlic, vitamin C, and zinc will help to support healthy immune function. Garlic has been shown to be an intense immune booster, killing off several types of bacteria and viruses and the richest food sources of zinc include beef, lamb, pork and salmon and as well as dairy products, whole grains, beans, nuts and nut butters, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Don’t forget to boost your vitamin C
Research has shown vitamin C to be one of the most powerful immune boosting vitamins available. Raise your vitamin D levels naturally along with using pills or sunlight. This water soluble vitamin can be found in oranges, orange juice, broccoli and in other fruits and vegetables as well as in high quality multi-vitamins.
Avoid hands contamination
One of the most effective ways to stay healthy this winter is to remember to wash your hands. This may seem like a simple step, but it is one of the most effective methods of kill germs that are passed on to you because in winter, colds, flu and gastroenteritis can cause disruption to your home, social and work life. Many of these common infectious diseases are spread by germs on our hands. You can reduce the risk of getting sick or passing infections on to others by washing your hands, wiping down frequently touched surfaces, and covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Wash or sanitizes your hands regularly and avoid close contact with someone who has a cold. Keep household surfaces clean as well as kids’ toys when someone in the family has a cold. If you are ill, be sure to drink plenty of fluids, including water, hot tea and soup. Avoid alcohol and caffeine and get plenty of sleep. Supplements such as vitamin C and zinc may help relieve the symptoms and reduce the duration of a cold.
While it’s a little harder to find the motivation to exercise when it is cold outside, remember that keeping active during winter is essential to support our health and well being. Moving your exercise indoors during winter will help to keep you warm as well as fit and healthy. Continue your exercise routine through the winter to stay fit, boost your immune system function, decrease your stress level and keep your weight down. Be sure to spend time warming up before you start your exercise as it can take a little longer for your joints to loosen up in the cold weather.
Eat well and right
As winter sets in it can be tempting to start eating more of those warm comfort foods that are often high in fat, salt and sugar like hot chocolate with cookies when you are cold. Instead, find comfort in foods such as warming and nourishing soups and stews full of flavor and healthy vegetables. Be sure your diet includes winter fruits and vegetables packed with vitamins and minerals such as sweet potato, green leafy vegetables, beetroot, kiwi fruit, mandarins, bananas, garlic and ginger. A healthy diet will also help you by fighting hunger, keeping your mood stable and decreasing your stress levels.
Get enough sleep
Proper sleep about eight hours can help keep the body’s immune system healthy and fight off colds along with essential for avoiding dark circles under the eyes and it is also essential to keeping healthy. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes as these substances can affect the quality of your sleep. Regular, moderate exercise, relaxation techniques and establishing a regular sleep routine may help to promote improved sleep.
Maintain your skin health
The cold weather can affect our skin and contribute to conditions such as dry, itchy skin, chill blains and eczema. This may be due to the reduced humidity, drinking less water than you would during summer or possibly due to reduced circulation which may decrease the flow of blood and nutrients to the skin. Apply a good moisturizer on your skin, at least three or four times each day may help to keep the skin moist and supple whilst supplements containing vitamin E or garlic help assist blood circulation. And don’t forget the sunscreen, which is more important in the winter. There are two types of ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun that damages your skin: ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) light. UVB light penetrates the superficial layers of the skin and causes skin to redden; it’s responsible for sunburn and can also lead to skin cancer over time. But UVB rays are at least blocked by window glass from the house and car and are less intense in the winter months. UVA light, on the other hand, penetrates top and deeper layers of skin, causing cell damage that can lead to cancer. UVA light is tough to avoid because it passes through window glass and stays the same strength all year—so keep up your sunscreen routine.
Avoid stress mood
Stress is a part of everyday life, and some stress helps us to meet challenging situations, excessive amounts of stress may be linked to negative effects across a range of areas. 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.
Get a flu shot
Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a highly contagious infection that is more serious than the common cold. Annual vaccination against seasonal flu can reduce your chances of getting the flu and can also reduce the severity of flu symptoms if you do catch the flu.
Try to maintain blood circulation
During winter our hands and feet can often feel cold. Our hands and feet are at the extremities of our bodies which means they are the furthest from the heart which is pumping blood around our body to help keep us warm. Vitamin E and the herbs help to support peripheral blood circulation, thereby alleviating cold hands and feet. Keep moving with gentle exercise to help improve circulation to the extremities of the body.
Two thirds of your body is made of water so don’t forget to keep drinking water in winter too!. You still need to aim for about two liters/day of water during winter as it is essential for our body to function. Most people have the tendency to in order to stay healthy and keep digestion strong, it is important to drink 6-8 glasses of water each day, which will flush out the toxins from your body and will reduce the possibility of an illness. This will also keep your body hydrated and will moisturize your skin naturally. If you don’t feel like drinking cold water, go for a herbal or different green tea that also offers plenty of anti-oxidant benefits, such as mint tea, green or white tea or berry teas.
Essential Oils are a must-have to protect yourself and help your immune system. There are a variety of essential oils that have been found to be highly effective against airborne bacteria. They also can do a lot to strengthen your body, boost your immune system and help you to overcome colds and flu.