07 Jan Stay healthy this winter
During winter, we endure shorter days and less sunlight. The cold and wet season can feel endless and most of us want to stay indoors and eat comfort foods.
During this challenging season, we are at greater risk of falling sick and so we have some helpful tips on how survive and feel better through winter.
1. Boost your diet
Eating foods that are high in vitamin C will help keep your immune system strong, so include fruit and vegies such as lemons, kiwifruit, capsicum and broccoli in your weekly shop. If you’re struggling to get the recommended two serves of fruit and five serves of vegies each day, try juicing them. Making juices that consist of two-thirds vegetables and one-third fruit. A blend of carrot, beetroot, spinach and lemon is a stress-busting combination that will boost your immune system. Ensure your diet also includes plenty of lean meats, fish, poultry, low-fat dairy, legumes, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, and use lots of herbs and spices.
2. Exercise regularly
It’s vital to keep your workout regimen up during winter, with a recent study showing that a moderate level of regular exercise has a long-term cumulative effect on immune response. A US study reported that participants who went for a brisk walk several times a week reduced the number of sick days they took by about 40 per cent. Regular aerobic exercise, five or more days a week for more than 20 minutes a day, rises above all other lifestyle factors in lowering sick days during the winter cold season. But don’t go overboard. Overly strenuous exercise releases the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body, which can weaken the immune system.
3. Stay connected
Socialising helps strengthen your immune system by keeping you active and reducing your stress levels, so avoid the temptation to rug up on the couch all winter.
4. Scrub up
Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness as it limits the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes. This is important during winter when we tend to cough and sneeze more frequently. Wet your hands and lather up with soap for 20 seconds to help dislodge germs and rinse well under running water.
5. Sleep well
Lack of sleep can have a serious effect on your immune system, making you more vulnerable to catching colds. Lack of sleep can result in a substantial decrease in the white blood cells that help to fight infection in the body.