What comes to mind when you think of winter? Cooler days, warm soups, socks and boots! But mid-winter, we bet dry skin, cold and flus and lack of exercise are also on your mind. To help you through your winter blues, Dr Cris Beer, Integrative Medical Expert for Blackmores, has shared her best tips to boost your winter wellbeing.
1.Stick to your workout
When it’s cold outside, it’s understandable that you don’t want to work out. But it can help provide a boost to your immune system, which may help reduce your chance of getting a cold. Just 20 minutes of moderate exercise may be all your body needs to stimulate your immune system, so head to your local park for a walk, run or cycle. Exercising outdoors means that you’ll be working up a sweat, whilst also helping your body top up its levels of vitamin D, an important nutrient for healthy immune function.
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2.Follow an immune-boosting diet
Having a fresh, balanced diet containing a variety of different wholefoods is one of the best ways to help care for your health and support your immune system through winter. Look for foods, which are packed with winter-hero vitamins, such as vitamin C, vitamin A and zinc. Fill your trolley with seasonal fresh fruit and veg – the brighter the better – lean meats, poultry, seafoods, nuts, whole grains, beans, and dairy products. And don’t forget to take care of your gut health by consuming adequate dietary fibre, maintaining healthy digestive function and replenishing the good bacteria if you have been unwell. Fermented foods, such as kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh and miso feed these good bugs.
Also aim for around eight glasses of water a day and switch out your coffee for a herbal tea (chamomile, ginger and peppermint) to not only help support immune function, but to keep your skin hydrated during the cooler months.
3.Wash your hands
Cleaning your hands with soap or antibacterial gel may go a long way to keeping germs at bay. In fact, up to 21% of respiratory illnesses may be avoided by washing your hands after using the toilet, before eating, and if you cough or sneeze into your hand.
4.Set a bedtime routine
Restorative, good quality sleep is vital for winter wellbeing. Going to sleep at the same time every night, for at least seven hours could also be an easy way to support your immune system. Try to make it a priority and aim to follow a similar routine each night: remove electronic devices, make sure you’re not too hot or too cold, and keep out any external light.
There’s a lot you can do to prepare yourself for the cold and flu season, but if you would like more personalised health tips and information, contact your local medical professional.