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Winter Wellness Tips
There truly is something about the change of season that can put you in a funk. The colder temperature and fewer hours of daylight make it hard to stick with your normal routine. When your body does not have the sunlight, it is not uncommon to feel down or sluggish.
Here are some lifestyle and diet tips for winter wellness:
WASH HANDS WITH SOAP AND WATER
The best way to prevent catching a cold or any other sickness is by washing your hands with soap and warm water. You learned it in the nursery, and it all still applies.Proper washing removes the germs from your hands, so they are not able to enter your body through eyes, nose, or mouth, which we often touch without even noticing. It also prevents the spread of germs to objects or food that others would then touch or eat. Hands should be washed before eating and preparing food, after using the restroom, and upon returning home from being out in public.
It is hard to stay motivated to exercise during the cold and dark months, but it is important. Moderate exercise increases the circulation and flow of blood that carries immune cells throughout the body, supporting your body’s immune system during winter. It is also shown to reduce stress.
Sleep allows your body to rest, restore, and rebuild. Studies show that those who do not get enough sleep have high levels of inflammation, which preoccupies your immune system. It is tempting to stay up late and binge-watch Netflix, but sleep should be your first priority.
Eating during winter does not have to be boring and vitamin deficient. Keep carbohydrate and mucus-forming foods such as white bread, pasta, and dairy to a minimum and fill your plate with dark leafy greens, winter squash, citrus and pomegranate, which are in season.
These fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber, which increase your energy.
Both your immune system and mood depend on vitamin D. Because vitamin D is made in your body after exposure to sun, it is common for people to become deficient in vitamin D during winter months. Ask your doctor for a blood test to see where your vitamin D levels are.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin well known for its role in supporting a healthy immune system. Vitamin C contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of the immune system. Vitamin C supports epithelial barrier function against pathogens and promotes the oxidant scavenging activity of the skin, thereby potentially protecting against environmental oxidative stress. Because your body cannot make vitamin C, it must come from the foods you eat every day. Many fruits and vegetables supply this vital vitamin. Sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, green and red bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts and kiwifruit, among others.
FOODS THAT BOOST IMMUNITY
Mushrooms – are one of the only foods that contain Vitamin D, which is critical to your immune system. A 2006 study found that the beta-glucan, a polysaccharide that is part of the soluble fiber found in mushrooms, had potential anti-inflammatory activity, which may help protect the body against disease. Mushrooms extracts may also stimulate different cells of the immune system.
Garlic – Whole garlic contains a compound called alliin. When garlic is crushed or chewed, this compound turns into allicin, the main active ingredient in garlic. Regularly eating garlic may help prevent the common cold or the flu. If you do get sick, eating garlic can reduce the severity of your symptoms and help you recover faster. These compounds have been shown to boost the disease-fighting response of some types of white blood cells in the body when they encounter viruses that cause the common cold or flu.
Green vegetables – It turns out that green vegetables like broccoli, bok choy, kale are the source of a chemical signal that is important to a fully functioning immune system. They do this by ensuring that immune cells in the gut and the skin known as intra-epithelial lymphocytes (IELs) function properly.
Brightly colored vegetables – Carotenoids such as beta-carotene are important antioxidants that aid in immune system function. Carotenoids are present in bright yellow, orange vegetables. It is important to get a variety of vegetables of different colors because various types of carotenoids are thought to work together to strengthen the body’s immune system.
Fermented foods – Research suggests that consuming fermented foods may boost the immune system. According to various studies have shown that regular consumption of fermented foods can help with fighting bacteria, reducing inflammation and increase antioxidant activity.
In case you still get a cold, you can try these easy steps for a quick recovery.
1. Avoid mucus-producing foods such as dairy and sugar
2. Drink plenty of fluids: water, teas, soups
3. Get some extra help from supplements like vitamin C, Olive leaf extract, Echinacea, Probiotics
4. Add some garlic to your food
5. Rest!!! Your body needs extra energy and time to fight the virus.
PS! Please see your GP if your symptoms persist.