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Winter is coming!
(Any Game of Thrones fans here?)
Are you ready?
As we age, staying healthy with the season changes can be more difficult. Here are a few tips on how to keep your body healthy this winter.
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Food is your best source of prevention.
Colourful fruits and dark leafy green vegetables are full of natural anti-oxidants and Vitamin C that give your body a an immunity boost. Go for sweet potatoes, kiwi, kale, grapefruit, carrots, Swiss chard and blueberries.
Garlic is the way to go. Besides being a favourite addition to most meals in our house, it also aids in immune boosting anti-inflammatory properties. Other choices are turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne and ginger. So easy to add to meals that you wont ever feel like you are just trying to stay healthy this winter and not get sick.
With shorter days and the varied hours we work, it may be difficult to get enough natural sunlight. However, all is not lost. If you happen to work a midnight shift or a swing shift a Vitamin D supplement can bridge the gap. This one by Nordic Naturals rated an 85.9 and for a vegetarian option Bluebonnet Nutrition rated an 85.7 on Labdoor.com.
Wash hands regularly
You probably think that hand sanitizer will take care of all the potential germs you will encounter during cold and flu season but washing your hands properly will benefit you more than that trusty bottle of sanitizer. Still not convinced? Read more here.
Here is a scenario where it is called for: You are at the grocery store and that package of chicken that you just picked up is wet. Since raw chicken can make you sick, that would be a good time to use sanitizer only until you can actually wash with soap and water.
Hand sanitizer is NOT the solution for keeping your kids germ free. There is actually a warning on the back in fine print to keep it away from small children. Kids are notorious for putting their hands in their mouths and hand sanitizer is basically a gel-like alcohol. In fact, anything below a 60% alcohol content level is basically a waste of your money and a false sense of security.
Reduce stress, Exercise and get Plenty of Sleep
I put these together for the simple fact that they all connect. At least they do for me. To reduce stress I meditate or work out which in turn helps me sleep better. It may not be as simple as that for you but some small shifts may lead to bigger ones.
Meditation isn’t only for yogis or monks. Sitting quietly for five minutes and concentrating on your breathing is a great start. If I am really unfocused I will actually say In and Out (in my head of course since I am doing deep breaths) or use a metronome that I downloaded and concentrate on the beats.
When I say exercise, for me lately consists of a private dance party. I will crank the tunes and dance around the house until I feel good. Whatever you like to that gets your heart rate up and the endorphins pumping will work for stress relief.
As for sleep, we have all heard the best practices for a good sleep and we hear them for a reason. They work.
Room as dark as you can make it, NO electronics, NO T.V., limit caffeine and a cooler temperature will work wonders for you. I have also her heard the benefits of gel cooled mattresses but have yet to try one. Would love a review if you have.
Save the bedroom for sleep and sex, not work. Reading one last work email or checking your stats before you go to sleep will only get your brain thinking about what you need to do tomorrow instead of slowing down to get a restful sleep.
A few tips to get you healthy this winter. More to come in the following weeks focusing on outdoor activities, winter skin care and avoiding the winter blahs.
Until next time.