Winter is a tough time for everyone to stay healthy. It’s cold and dark and often stressful with the holidays. There is chocolate in all forms floating around and all kinds of other delicious goodies, I know I have been guilty of not taking nutritional care of my body over the winter. All of these things makes it hard for our bodies and specifically our immune systems to work the way they need to. To make matters worse, once one person comes down with a flu it is not long before everyone they come into contact with gets it as well. So in the interest of everyone staying healthy as winter approaches here are 6 tips to stay healthy this winter.
Intentionally setting aside some time to exercise a few times a week for at least half an hour can improve your mood, sleep patterns and energy helping your body stay well rested and you feeling your absolute best.
Socializing helps strengthen your immune system by reducing your stress levels plus it helps get you active and off the couch. Try and take an exercise or yoga class with a close friend or two to really strengthen your immune system.
Over the winter months there are many factors working against our bodies and immune systems that can get us down and sick. Ensuring we are getting proper nutrition and being mindful of what we eat can go a long way . Add lots of leafy greens, healthy fats, grass fed meat (unless, of course, you are a non-meat eater) and fermented foods and probiotics (these are the ones I like) to your diet to get optimal results. Don’t forget your vitamin c!
Get enough rest
Not getting enough sleep can take a big toll on your immune system. It is the time for your body to repair, relax and ready itself for the following day. Sleep deprivation can lead to some serious issues including but limited to the flu. Need some ideas on how to get a better night’s sleep? Read this post.
Did you know that 2000 of our genes are regulated by vitamin D? Deficiency in the vitamin is thought to play a key role in things like depression, heart disease, pregnancy issues, birth defects, skin and other cancers as well as MS. In fact about 77% of Americans are deficient in this vital vitamin. One of the key ways to get vitamin D is by spending time outdoors in the sunlight but that may be a problem during the winter months, luckily there are other ways to supplement vitamin D during that time. Light therapy, which is literally shinning a special light on yourself (I hear this one is good but I have never personally used it) can help regulate serotonin over the winter which will help with the reduced amounts in the brain over winter often leading to depression. In addition, having proper levels of serotonin in the brain will also assist with normal sleep patterns, memory, aging, appetite and mood. Canadian researchers found that 30 minutes of light therapy daily for eight weeks worked just as well as Prozac in treating depression. If light therapy isn’t an option for you you can also take vitamin D in a supplement (here), which is what I do.
Wash your paws
Frequent hand washing is the best way to keep illness from spreading. Use a nice toxin free hand soap (here) and warm water often to make sure you get as many little germs as you can. If you have to sneeze or cough do so into your arm not on your hands. Also, be sure to clean your home regularly with toxin free products to keep germs from spreading where you live.
Share how you stay healthy over the winter months below!